HERRIN - Full steam ahead.

A small, but determined, group of civic-minded Herrin residents have decided to throw caution to the wind and revive the once revered Thanksgiving Day dinner this fall.

Bart Mann, a member of the Herrin Community Thanksgiving Committee, said the group is receiving much encouragement from fellow residents to proceed as planned.

"Our goal is for the dinner we prepare to be every bit as successful as the previous ones," said Mann.

The committee will meet again next month (Sept. 13) at city hall to assign duties to members. The biggest concern between now and then, Mann said, is to recruit volunteer workers.

"We feel we need somewhere close to 100 and believe that is an attainable goal," he explained. "Now, it's up to us to get busy and start making phone calls."

Mann said a list complete with names of financial donors and food donors was provided for the committee.

"From what I can see, people are eager to start this project up again. Mayor Vic Ritter was at our meeting and he has also pledged his support," Mann said. "I just hope we have enough manpower to pull this off."

The traditional meal, consisting of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries and desserts, "will not cost anyone a penny," Mann said. It will be made available to all residents within the Herrin Unit 4 School District, which includes Herrin, Hurst, Colp and Energy.

Home deliveries will be available to shut-in residents only.

Committee member Sheila Dillman said she was "excited" to be a part of the communitywide dinner.

"Clearly, it's a lot of work," she said. "But if we can get enough volunteer workers interested in helping with this project, I think things will work out."

Anyone interested in volunteering to work either the day before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day, call committee members Gordon Walker at 942-4845 or Pat Hayes at 942-4232.

Herrin's last communitywide Thanksgiving Day dinner was held in November of 1998.

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