HomeNewsArticle Display

Westover News

Westover Citizen Airmen support annual community meal

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Mackenzie Ransford, from the 337th Airlift Squadron, helps clear tables during the annual Western Massachusetts Elder Care’s Feed the Elderly Holiday Meal. The Dec. 18, 2019 event, held at the Chicopee Castle of Knights, attracted 630 senior citizens from the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Rodney Furr)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Steven McGrilles, from the 337th Airlift Squadron, washes trays during the annual Western Massachusetts Elder Care’s Feed the Elderly Holiday Meal. The Dec. 18, 2019 event, held at the Chicopee Castle of Knights, attracted 630 senior citizens from the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Rodney Furr)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Steven D’Anolfo, left, and Chief Master Sgt. Steve Bryant, from the 337th Airlift Squadron, stack trays during the annual Western Massachusetts Elder Care’s Feed the Elderly Holiday Meal. The Dec. 18, 2019 event, held at the Chicopee Castle of Knights, attracted 630 senior citizens from the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Rodney Furr)

Employees of Western Massachusetts Elder Care prepare a four-course serving during the annual Feed the Elderly Holiday Meal. The Dec. 18, 2019 event, held at the Chicopee Castle of Knights, attracted 630 senior citizens from the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Rodney Furr)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Chandler Taylor, right, Master Sgt. Steve McGrilles, center, and Airman 1st Class Julies Millers, from the 337th Airlift Squadron, wait to carry trays to the dining room during the annual Western Massachusetts Elder Care’s Feed the Elderly Holiday Meal. The Dec. 18, 2019 event, held at the Chicopee Castle of Knights, attracted 630 senior citizens from the local area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Rodney Furr)

Over 600 guests from area senior centers and meal sites enjoy the annual Western Massachusetts Elder Care’s Feed the Elderly Holiday Meal. The Dec. 18, 2019 event was held at the Chicopee Castle of Knights. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Rodney Furr)

CHICOPEE, Mass. --

Establishing and maintaining positive community relations are the cornerstones of Westover Air Reserve Base’s ‘good neighbor’ policy.  Nearly 20 Airmen from the Patriot Wing strengthened that bond recently by serving a holiday meal to over 620 area senior citizens.

Each December, volunteers and employees of Western Massachusetts Elder Care (WMEC) prepare and serve a full four-course meal to residents of local towns at the Chicopee Castle of Knights.  The event also features music, dancing, and raffles.  Now in its 25th year, the annual Feed the Elderly attracts guests from senior centers and meal sites in Holyoke, Chicopee, Ludlow, South Hadley, Belchertown and Ware.  Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 337th Airlift Squadron have volunteered to serve food and clear tables at the event for almost as many years.

Chief Master Sgt. Steven Bryant, chief flight engineer, currently heads up the Westover contingent.  He said a squadron alumni started helping out with the meal many years ago, and the number of Airmen who joined in grew over time. 

“I have been involved for over 10 years, inheriting it [the unit POC role] from now retired Chief [Master Sgt.] Tony Colucci,” Bryant said.  “My wife used to work at the event and asked if it were possible to have Airmen help out since so many veterans attend.”     

Roseann Martoccia, Executive Director of WMEC, said Westover’s support of the meal is a great partnership that is celebrated every year. 

“We love having the Airmen out here – it’s like having 40 extra hands to help,” she said. 

Martoccia also said the event could not happen without volunteerism, especially that provided by the pilots and aircrew who lend their time, enthusiasm and energy.  In addition to the table service provided by Bryant’s squadron members, employees of WMEC also stepped forward to be ‘table captains’ in charge of overseeing sections of the dining room.   A local DJ and EMT also gave their time to round out the successful event.

Martoccia also said the event could not happen without volunteerism, especially that provided by the pilots and aircrew who lend their time, enthusiasm and energy.  In addition to the table service provided by Bryant’s squadron members, employees of WMEC also stepped forward to be ‘table captains’ in charge of overseeing sections of the dining room.   A local DJ and EMT also gave their time to round out the successful event.