|For Delavan Legion volunteers, filling plates on Christmas is fulfilling|
|Written by Todd Mishler/Walworth County Sunday|
|Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:30|
Larry Malsch, along with his wife Judy, have been helping with the Christmas Day meal at the Delavan American Legion Hall for more than 40 years. He’s happy to report that he’s seen an increase in families who are willing to help with the holiday project. Terry Mayer/staff photo
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DELAVAN — They could be at home cooking, enjoying relatives’ company or picking up wrapping paper from a busy morning of exchanging presents.
However, dozens of Delavan area volunteers would rather spread their holiday spirit and share their holiday cheer with those who are less fortunate or alone during this special season.
So, Larry Malsch and others are offering the 50th annual Christmas Day meal at the American Legion Post 95 hall on South Second Street.
Malsch and organizers expect to serve the traditional turkey dinner to an estimated 125 area residents for the sit-down portion that starts at noon on Christmas Day. They also will provide meals for about 50 carry-out orders and will deliver food to those who are homebound. Then any leftovers will be donated to the Twin Oaks homeless shelter.
Malsch deflects most compliments about his efforts and gives credit to his wonderful team of helpers, not to mention the folks at Lake Lawn Resort and RidgeStone Village assisted living, where the big birds have been cooked, and Stinebrink’s Piggly Wiggly, which is where Malsch gets dairy and bakery items donated.
However, Malsch still plays the role of head elf and handles many of the preparatory duties.
“Don Johnson was the commander back in 1961, and Frank Miller suggested to members that the legion do something for people who had nowhere else to go,” said Malsch, a former Delavan police chief and councilman.
“We celebrate our Christmas on Christmas Eve, so we got involved more than 40 years ago,” Malsch added about he and his wife, Judy. “But our kids used to love going down there and were 10 or 11 when they started helping serve. Lately, we’ve gotten more families helping out.”
Among the merry crew, which includes the pie-making auxiliary members, are Emory Carlson, Deb and Bob Stevenson, Ron Grair and Art Lazzeroni.
Carlson used to own the Harbor Inn on Delavan Lake, so he’s in charge of whipping up the Tom & Jerrys, which include his secret batter.
“I’ve been involved since the mid-1980s,” said Carlson, 85, a veteran of World War II and Korea. “I made up some of the batter, they tasted it and said the job was mine. But now my daughter-in-law and two grandsons help out, my son helps deliver meals, and we’ve volunteered to pick people up.
“You should do something to help others, shouldn’t you?” added Carlson, who usually shows up around 8 a.m. “At least that’s the way I figure it.”
The Stevensons see it the same way. Deb started helping out when she and a friend decided to go 11 years ago, and Bob has been involved the past six years or so.
“Sometimes Bob works in the kitchen, we’ve packaged meals up for delivery, and we’ve helped serve and clean up,” said Deb Stevenson, who works at Pentair, where she participates in the adopt-a-family program. “It’s a great thing, and Larry does a lot of work. They’ve had a lot more volunteers the last few years. But some of these people have no place to go on Christmas, and it feels good to give back to the community.”
Lazzeroni, 80, has been doing just that. He plans his volunteer shift around family holiday commitments and has missed only one dinner in the 15 or 16 years he’s been involved.
“I usually head down there about 6:30 or 7,” said Lazzeroni, an East Troy native who served in the Korean conflict. “We’ve got three or four of us that de-bone and slice up the turkeys. They’re always looking for volunteers, but anybody who wants to come is welcome. It makes me feel good, and I love doing something for somebody else.”
|Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December 2011 16:36|