EVERETT — Diners at the Carl Gipson Senior Center feasted on a bounty of goodwill Sunday.
They were treated to a Thanksgiving lunch by the Everett Firefighters Association. It’s an annual tradition for the charity group.
“It’s a great opportunity for us with the firefighters association to help people we usually see on calls,” said fire Everett Capt. Randy Seiber, who organized this year’s event. “They see us not in an emergency, but here serving.”
They expected to feed about 500 people during three afternoon sessions.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Albert Heimdahl, 89, a retired chemist who lives in Everett. “Take a look — you don’t usually see this many people here at once.”
Richard and Linda Lachapelle, both 70, came with Richard’s 93-year-old mother, Dorothy.
“We see a lot of people at this who we don’t see during the week,” said Richard Lachapelle, a retired Snohomish County building inspector. “This might be the only Thanksgiving meal they have.”
Linda Lachapelle runs the center’s Wii virtual bowling league. While her family expected to host a large crowd for the holiday this Thursday, “A lot of people don’t have a place to go.”
The Carl Gipson Senior Center, on 2930 Wetmore Ave., welcomes anyone over the age of 50. It has about 5,000 members, director Bob Dvorak said. The center earlier this month hosted its annual U.S.O. Veterans Day dance, made possible with proceeds from two October fundraisers.
“We want to do even more programs,” Dvorak said.
On Dec. 3, Everett police officers plan to serve another holiday meal there.
The firefighters association was formed in 1973 and now has about 350 members, including active and retired fire personnel. The group has three main missions: serving the community, preserving the department’s history and promoting fellowship among its members, said the association’s president, fire Capt. Dave Salvadalena.
The group runs the Everett Firefighters Hall on Hewitt Avenue.
Penny Miller, 66, of south Everett, appreciated their pre-Turkey Day kindness.
“They are fantastic people,” Miller said. “I like that they’re so giving. A lot of times seniors are just on the back shelf.”
More info on the Everett Firefighters Association: www.everettfirefighters.org.
More info on Everett’s Carl Gipson Senior Center: www.everettwa.gov/219/Senior-Center.