PARKER, Fla. (WMBB) – It was a packed house at Parker VFW 8205 hall on Thursday. About 50 veterans, along with their friends and families, celebrated Thanksgiving.

The veterans were joined by 15 Sims Nursing Home veterans. Former post-chaplain John Rose Meyer said the event gives Sim’s veterans a chance to get out and have a little fun.

“It’s kind of interesting to hear their stories,” said Meyers. “We all have our own, but to let them kind of meet different people and meet people who understand a little bit about what they may have gone through, what their experiences were, and if you sit down and talk with them, it’s quite interesting.”

Sims veterans said they love spending time with fellow vets, away from the nursing home.

Sims veteran Gerald Granberry said his favorite part about the event is “getting to come here and eating good food and seeing people.”

The VFW Auxiliary spent the past few days preparing and cooking the food. The Auxiliary said it’s worth it to see everyone enjoying themselves.

“If you’re lucky you get like maybe two or three aha moments in your life,” said Jodi Ross. “I get one yearly here in America. I get goosebumps. It chokes me up. We get teary-eyed sometimes. It’s wonderful to see the younger veterans talking to the older retired guys, some of our retired guys going over and being able to share stories and experiences with.”

The Thanksgiving meal event has become a tradition for this VFW post. Meyer said there was a need this year as prices rise.

“I’ve experienced a $500 a month increase in my personal expenses,” said Meyer.” Often these people have a very limited budget and a meager amount of Social Security meager amount of retirement pay. So they’re often living hand to mouth.”

The VFW is planning for Christmas, providing meal boxes and presents for veterans.