by Roland D. Hallee, managing editor
On November 9, the South China, Boynton-Webber American Legion Post #179 and Auxiliary hosted the 10th annual veterans dinner, sponsored by Fieldstone Quick Stop, Erskine Academy students and the Maine Veterans Home, at Togus.
Neil Farrington, commander of the South China post, was instrumental in getting the most veterans that have ever attended the event. Over 130 local veterans, and many that were bused from the veterans home, were guests at the annual dinner.
Thadius Barber, owner of Fieldstone Quickstop, in South China, provided all the food, with the legion auxiliary providing coffee and many different, delicious desserts.
Also, 15 students from Erskine Academy’s Jobs for Maine Graduates program assisted at the dinner, waiting on tables, serving the coffee and dessert, and then assisted the veterans to their buses and cars.
The dinner, to honor local veterans, was the brain child of the late Martha Brann, who approached Barber 10 years ago when he owned Tobey’s Grocery, in South China. “Martha approached me to ask if I would support veterans at the South China Legion,” Barber recalls. “I didn’t need any time to think about it. I said yes.”
Brann followed through and continued with the annual project. “She had spunk,” Barber added, “You’d never know she was in her 80s. She loved to help people.”
Hitting it off immediately, Barber arranged a dinner date for Martha with his widower grandfather, Lee Babb, a Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Spadefish submarine, at Pearl Harbor. Babb attended all the dinners until his passing seven years ago.
When Brann passed away this year, her daughter Dawn Spoden and her daughter stepped up to continue the traditional dinner. The dinner is held annually the day following election day in November.
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