Fort Jackson provides Thanksgiving feast for soldiers away from home

FORT JACKSON, SC (WIS) - For some soldiers on Fort Jackson, Thanksgiving dinner was something like they've never seen before.

WIS-TV was present as dinner was served to soldiers in basic training in building 11500. The soldiers are new to the Army and for many of them, this is their first time away from home for the holiday. It's why those who organized the event said they cooked the food with a little extra love.

"Our theme today is Thanksgiving Extravaganza," Food Services General Manager, Kenneth Harrison said.

With a staff of about 80, the 11500 festivities served 1,700 soldiers on Wednesday.

"We had some cooks come in last night. They started cooking around 12:00 AM, started getting the major stuff done, like the meat and then we had another crew come in at about 4:00," Harrison said.

An important job not to be taken lightly, according to event organizers.

"You're taking care of the soldiers, you get a little more pride in doing it for the soldiers," Harrison said.

"When I get here and there's actually a cooked meal that was for me - I'm super grateful for it," Private Eduardo Ortiz who is from Oregon said.

He also said he's used to big Thanksgiving traditions.

"There's six of us and we get an unnecessarily large turkey every year. The stuffing is always the best. Even the dogs have turkey," Ortiz said.

For the soldiers away from family on this Thanksgiving, 11500 became their home away from home.

"I know we can't replace mom and dad but we can get as close as possible. The food is not going to taste the same but it's still going to be good for them," Harrison said.

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