Arlington Heights American Legion offers Thanksgiving meal to Naval Station Great Lakes recruits

Christian Piekos Image
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Arlington Heights veterans post feeds Navy recruits Thanksgiving meal
Naval Station Great Lakes recruits in training were treated to a Thanksgiving meal Thursday at the Arlington Heights American Legion Post.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- Young sailors in training were treated to a Thanksgiving spread Thursday in the north suburbs.

Some of the U.S. Navy recruits who are stationed at the Naval Station Great Lakes are away from their families for the first time this holiday season.

Volunteers and veterans at the American Legion Post in Arlington Heights brightening their spirits with a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

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It is a special day for all of the soon-to-be-sailors as 50 are getting the a rare chance to just relax on the holiday.

"I think bootcamp is where we're growing and learning how to be military disciplined sailors, but we definitely miss home," said Edelfred Ortega, a recruit from Long Beach, California. "We definitely miss the interaction with people."

The recruits were able to call home to their loved ones, many of them for the very first time since they started bootcamp.

"I got to hear my mother's voice, she was happy," said Jashon Webb, a recruit from Indianapolis, Indiana. "I told her I was going to see her soon. She knows I'm almost done."

They also got to play some pool, video games and just hang out with one another away from the base.

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The recruits have been in boot camp for six weeks and will graduate next month.

This year is the 23rd year the American Legion has hosted the recruits from Great Lakes, which highlights just how much the community cares about its servicemembers.