Something special happens when you bring a bunch of veterans and perfect strangers into a room for a free pre-Thanksgiving Day dinner. All of a sudden, it doesn't matter whether you were Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines. You become one big family.
Just ask Air Force veteran Donald Sunday.
"It's a family. Pretty much every vet bleeds green. So, it doesn't matter what branch you served in, we all get together share stories and enjoy each other’s company," he said.
Kristen Weese, who heads the VA Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program, says the Buffalo VA Medical Center has been opening its doors and its heart to veterans and their families on the Sunday before Thanksgiving for the past 18 years.
"For several years, this was only open to homeless veterans but as our community has significantly decreased the amount of homeless veterans in our community, we've now opened it up to really any veteran who may be struggling to afford a Thanksgiving Day meal. So, any veteran that at the end of the month is struggling to decide if they can pay their rent next month or if they can buy groceries, we wanted to open this up to really anyone who's in need," said Weese.
Marine veteran Leonard Comfort came all the way from Batavia, where he's being treated for PTSD. He says he enjoys sharing stories with other veterans.
"I enjoy the camaraderie, being around all the other veterans. And this is beautiful people and their families, their children coming here and taking time to serve us. I'm so grateful,” he said.
And for these veterans and these families, it's just another way of saying, "Thank you for your service.”