Moline police help 'Mr. Thanksgiving'


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Originally Posted Online: Nov. 08, 2012, 1:57 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 08, 2012, 5:47 pm
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

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.














 



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