Christmas meal helps morale of Fort Drum soldiers who can’t be home for holidays

WWNY Christmas meal helps morale of Fort Drum soldiers who can’t be home for holidays

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fort Drum troops who may not be going home for the holidays are finding family in fellow soldiers. We take a look at how a Christmas dinner on post can feel like a home away from home.

There’s plenty of food to go around at Fort Drum’s Warrior Inn Dining Facility.

It was the 2020 Christmas meal Wednesday and Sergeant Colin Leach, 1st Brigade Combat Team, is one soldier getting his share.

Leach, like other troops, says he’s decided not to travel this holiday season.

“It was bumming for me,” he said.

So, when you can’t go home to see family, Leach says he turns to his friends.

“Earlier I came in, one of my sections, the whole group came in acting like a family and they’re actually eating together,” he said.

Staff Sergeant James Gibbons manages the dining facility. His goal is to make Fort Drum feel like home.

“My job is to provide the best meal that these soldiers can have and at least try to make them feel as if they are at home. I want this to be a meal that’s home away from home,” he said.

For soldiers who might not be traveling home for the first time, Sergeant Leach says he’s been there and has some advice.

“See the neighboring towns, get out and do something, even if it’s something small,” he said.

Gibbons says he hopes soldiers staying put can use the Christmas meal to rally around each other.

“Remain strong, bond together, come together,” he said.

Leach says it may not match a home cooked meal, but Fort Drum’s gesture is appreciated.

“It’s small, but it’s something. It’s something,” he said.

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