Service Learning Petersburg Lodge holds many charitable events to give back to their community. The night before thanksgiving, I helped Petersburg Masonic Lodge #15 feed soldiers from Fort Lee whom were unable to go home for thanksgiving. For many of them it was their first time away from home for the holiday. We spent the day cooking thanksgiving dinner for the service members and at 1800 that night we served them food and gave them a tour of the lodge. We welcomed them all with a round of applause when they first entered the dining hall. A small speech was given about the tradition and meaning behind the thanksgiving celebration by their chain of command. Following the speech, a small prayer was made and then they were free to eat. Each table got up and made their own plate of food and were able to eat and talk with their cadre. Everyone had a big smile on their face and for many of them, it was the first home cooked meal any of them have had in a long time. Following their dinner, they were then given deserts of their choice and were able to eat as much as they could handle. Once they were done eating, they were given permission to walk freely around the complex and tour the lodge as they pleased. Once they finished touring the lodge, a platoon picture was taken in the ritual room of the lodge. Following the picture they were shuttled back onto the bus and returned to Fort Lee for their training. Petersburg Lodge has done this for the past five years to show the service members that the people of this nation appreciate their sacrifice and service. Too many servicemembers today feel that they are underappreciated for what they do for this country. It also is to give them a feeling of gratification for all they do for us. Many service members feel like outcasts, because they are separated from the rest of society and are sometimes looked down by some for their profession. Something as small as a Thanksgiving dinner for soldiers can have a big impact on them and the community. It can give a volunteer or witness to the event a feeling of patriotism and help them understand the weight behind the gesture. For the soldiers it gives them a feeling of appreciation and further drive to excel in their profession. This can change the way that they interact with the public and can create a closeness between them and the rest of us. Things that may seem small can make a big impact on a person. It can really make someone think of what a few small gestures can mean to someone else. In one evening I was able to show my appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives in service for their country; and they were able to see that they are respected people thank them for all that they do. One night was able to change the perspective of 102 servicemember and give them a night to come together with their community.