Montana veterans celebrate Christmas at annual Joining Community Forces dinner

Posted at 9:47 PM, Dec 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 00:18:42-05

HELENA – Treasure State veterans and their families are getting a head start on Christmas celebrations.

Thursday night was the third annual Joining Community Forces Christmas dinner in Helena.

It takes a variety of business and many volunteers to make the meal happen. Dozens of veterans attended the sit-down dinner, provided by Chili O’Brien’s Catering.

Many of them also brought their family members.

For Army veteran Jeff Jones, that included his two six-year-old daughters.

He told MTN the event is a way to get the kids out of the house and have some fun, as well as meet other veterans.

“I think it’s always important to know where veterans come from, or who had that buddy who lost their life, who’s not able to be here with us,” said Jones. “That type of thing. It’s always interesting to hear other stories.”

“Everybody is just extremely grateful,” said Brandy Keely, president of JCF. “Even the volunteers are grateful, just being able to come out, and serve, and see the joy in the children’s eyes and the parents’ eyes.” 

Even the big guy himself, Santa Claus, and some of his elves attended the dinner to give away presents.

The Veterans Meat Locker also showed up, to give away wild game, and Costco employees donated 40 turkeys for the veterans.