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New Year's Day tradition brings American Legion 'family' together

American Legion Post #6 Ladies Auxiliary member Shirley Tutor cuts up cabbage Tuesday morning for the New Year's Day luncheon.

Staff photo by Mark Boehler

By L.A. Story

For the Daily Corinthian

The room was filled with the scent of food cooking.

It was traditional fare for a New Year's Day meal— cabbage, black-eyed peas, hog jowl, fried cornbread and turnip greens.

People were rushing to get the meal ready while others sat and quietly talked as they waited.

From the sights, the smells and sounds, one would think it was a typical family holiday meal and that is just the way the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary members wanted it to feel.

"A feeling of home is the feeling we want to put out there," said Chris Grimes, Commander, American Legion Post 6.

This is the fourth year for the traditional New Year's Luncheon at the American Legion Post 6. While it may have begun as a humble Legion "family" gathering, it has grown into a fundraiser, according to Tina Hurst, President, Department of Mississippi American Legion Auxiliary.

"We started it four years ago. We were all just kind of sitting around and talking. We started discussing New Years meals and decided we wanted to get together and it snowballed from there," said Hurst. "It turned into a community event and then a fundraiser was added to it."

The meal turned into a fundraiser when it was opened to the community for only $5 a plate with a beverage and homemade desserts were added for just $1 extra. However, it appears to be the fellowship that has continued to make the event popular.

"This is a Post 6 family event," said Carlean Parker, President, American Legion Auxiliary - Unit 6. "We like to be around each other and it really sets our tone for our new year."

Hurst agreed and added, "The Legion is like a family. We couldn't think of any better way to start the new year off than with our Legion family."

And, they are all quick to point out that it isn't merely the American Legion or American Legion Auxiliary members that puts the event together. It also takes the American Legion Riders and all branches of the Legion family.

"Everybody in our Legion family pitches in wherever is needed," said Shirley Tutor, member, American Legion Auxiliary - Unit 6. She fried up cornbread as she spoke.

Grimes said they also enjoy the fact that the community is invited to come for the annual luncheon.

"You get to reach out to the community and meet people and it's a way to bring people and let them get to know us," said Grimes. "Plus, it's a great way to usher in the new year because you don't have to cook at home."

They all expressed hopes that the tradition will continue and grow with food, community and fellowship.