Winding down of troop deployments lends event unnecessary for this year
Camden Waterfront, NJ – The organizers of the Thanksgiving Day Dinner for the Troops announced today that the 13th Annual Dinner held on the Battleship New Jersey will not be needed this year. Due to a absence of overseas deployments from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and surrounding military installations, there is a lack of active duty military personnel in need of turkey dinners.
“Although we are sad to cancel such a special event that brings our community together in support of our military and veterans, we feel fortunate that we are no longer sending troops overseas in mass,” said Phil Rowan, Executive Director & CEO of the Battleship New Jersey.
“Thanksgiving has always been a special day. It meant we were giving back to those who sacrifice time with their families in defense of our nation. That means everything to my family and me,” said Marshall Spevak, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Battleship New Jersey whose family started the annual event 13 years ago in Clementon, then Cherry Hill and then until now Camden. “Over the last 13 years we’ve laughed, cried, broke bread and shared stories with members of our military about to head into harms way. We wouldn’t trade those memories for the world.”
Spevak added, “We started this event 13 years ago at a time when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ramping up. Now, our overseas combat deployments continue to decline, which means less soldiers moving through the Joint Base. Despite that — from year one until today — our point has always been incredibly clear, South Jersey supports our troops.”
The event organizers would like to thank Congressman Donald Norcross, Senate President Steve Sweeney, the late Congressman John Adler, former Congressman Jon Runyan, Jewish War Veterans Post 126 of Cherry Hill, the New Jersey National Guard, Camden County, the staff and volunteers of the Battleship New Jersey and the over 10,000 South Jersey veterans and community members – especially our veteran motorcycle groups – who came out over the years to cheer on our troops.
In all, this annual event fed over 2,750 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines mobilizing and/or demobilizing in New Jersey for overseas deployments who were unable to return home to their loved ones over Thanksgiving.
Rowan concluded by saying, “If the need arises in the future, the event organizers, the Battleship and our dedicated staff and volunteers stand ready to support our active duty military and veterans as we always have.”