LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - On Saturday the Veteran's Place in Leesville kept the barbecue pits hot to cook a Thanksgiving lunch for the public, on the house. Smoke turkey, ham and all the fixings were available.
Veteran's Place owners Quentin and Jacqueline Murray with Saturday's Thanksgiving smoked turkey master Everett Gardner. (KALB)
Retired Army veteran Everett Gardner said he and the store's owner Quentin started smoking the meats around 11:30 Friday night.
"The main thing about smoking meat is keeping the right temperature and just making sure you have enough wood and making sure you give the pit a long enough time to warm up," said Gardner. "You just got to put that love in it. Running the barbecue pit is my specialty."
The Veteran's Place is known for reaching out to veterans and the community alike. Gardner joined the team about a month ago.
"I've done various things since my retirement five years ago," explained Gardner. "But this is one of the most rewarding things I think I've ever done and probably will ever do and as long as I'm in this area I'm going to continue to do that."
Youth from Mount Carmel Baptist Church in the Knight community cooked dressing for the Thanksgiving feast. Students from the West Leesville Jiu-jitsu Training Academy also helped serve food.
"The more the kids are involved in the community and just serving and learning how to serve is very, very important for them," said Joey Harvey, an instructor with the academy.
Among the volunteers on Saturday, Gregory Brown who was recently gifted his own tree house to get his mind off his cancer treatment. He said it was his way of saying thank you to everyone who continues to support him.
"It's always good to give back to the community when they've given so much to me over the years especially recently with me going through what I went through," expressed Brown.
Brown added that his dad is a veteran.
"So it feels good to give back to people who went through what he went through in the military and had to serve and protect our country," said Brown.
The Leesville High School step team also performed for the crowd as they enjoyed their lunch.