With some sadness over old friends gone and joined by some new friends, Mr. Thanksgiving announced Thursday that he would serve a community Thanksgiving dinner for the 42nd year in a row.
Each year, Bob Vogelbaugh, known as Mr. Thanksgiving, makes sure thousands of Quad-Citians have a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner in the company of others.
This year, Mr. Vogelbaugh tearfully dedicated the dinner to Stu Olson and JoAnne Ufheil, friends and volunteers for the dinner, who recently died of cancer.
He also welcomed the Moline Police Benevolent Association which, instead of providing Thanksgiving dinner baskets to residents this year, decided to throw in with Mr. Vogelbaugh and gave him a check for $2,000 on Thursday.
Mr. Vogelbaugh described everyone involved in the experience, including the diners, as family, and said the event belongs to all of them. "It's not my dinner anymore."
Including the money from the police, Mr. Vogelbaugh said he had about $6,000, but needed another $10,000 to put on the event.
The police association was represented by Moline Police Benevolent president Nate Medinger and Benevolent secretary Nate Hoover.
They said the association decided they could do more good by helping Mr. Vogelbaugh's efforts rather than working on their own. In other years, the association fed hundreds with the baskets while Mr. Vogelbaugh reaches thousands. Officers also will be present to help at the dinner.
Last year, about 2,700 people were served Thanksgiving dinner, and Mr. Vogelbaugh said he's expecting even more people this year. He usually has about 400 volunteers helping him.
Diners can expect all the traditional Thanksgiving food, Mr. Vogelbaugh said. Much of it will be catered by Hy-Vee this year because equipment in the former Bishop's at SouthPark he normally uses to prepare food has been removed.
MetroLINK planner Chelsey Hohensee said people without transportation to the dinner can get a ride from MetroLINK, but must call (309) 788-3360 to schedule it by noon Nov. 19.
The service is available in MetroLINK's normal Illinois Quad-Cities range, Ms. Hohensee said, adding that every year, about 60 to 70 people get to the dinner with MetroLINK's help.
In 2010, Mr. Vogelbaugh announced he would be setting aside his role as Mr. Thanksgiving, but later changed his mind because of public response.
This year, he said he will continue in the role as long as his health holds out.
"It's hard to believe that we're going into 42 years." annual community dinner held at the mall on Thanksgiving Day.
How you can help:
Monetary donations may be sent to Mr. Thanksgiving, 3716 35th St., Apt. 3, Moline, IL 61265.
Pies may be dropped off Nov. 21 at the mall office, or on Thanksgiving Day at the food court.
Today is Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.