Veteran Serving Up Thanksgiving Meal for Less Fortunate

SCRANTON, Pa. -- An injured veteran from Monroe County was feeling pretty thankful about his lot in life and decided to lend a hand to other vets who may not be as fortunate.

Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis Heller from Blakeslee knows his way around tactical aircraft. Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for a few dozen people is a different story.

"I think the most nerve-wracking part is just, I'm really scared I'm only going to get three people here," he said.

With help from friends and a few businesses, Heller collected enough food to feed about 80 people this Thanksgiving. He extended the invite to fellow veterans who may not have a place to celebrate the holiday.

"How did I get so lucky to get out and have such a support structure, when other people can't have that? Giving back is the least we can do," Heller said.

The Fraternal Order of Police offered up its building on Railroad Avenue in Scranton.

Heller enlisted the help of some of his classmates at Lackawanna College and Veterans Affairs coordinator Catherine Fox.

"My mother passed away last October, so this is my second Thanksgiving without her," said Fox. "We're not really having much of a Thanksgiving dinner this year. I'm really happy I can be here tomorrow and help people in need. It's a rough holiday for me."

While Heller hopes veterans take advantage of the meal he's planned, he says everyone is welcome at the table.

"I kind of just want to give them somewhere to hang out and to eat and feel like they belong again. A lot of these people are ostracized, they just sleep on the street corner wherever they can find. They get nothing but harassment for it, and I want this to be a welcoming environment."

The doors open at noon on Thanksgiving and Travis says he'll stay here until he runs out of food.

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