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Serving those who serve

Alissa Widman Neese • Nov 2, 2013 at 10:30 AM

As military families prepare plans for Thanksgiving dinner, there’s always a spot for them at the Culinary Vegetable Institute’s table.

To honor local individuals serving in the U.S. military, the Milanbased institute will host its eighth-annual free dinner on Thanksgiving Day for active military personnel and their families.

It’s a way to say “thank you” and serve those who serve every day, said Barb Jones, whose family owns the institute.

“They give up their families, their jobs, everything for us,” Jones said. “One dinner seems like such a small thing to give to them in return.”

Want to go?

• WHAT: Culinary Vegetable Institute free Thanksgiving dinner

• WHO: Active U.S. military personnel and their families

• WHEN: Noon on Thanksgiving (Nov. 28)

• WHERE: 12304 Ohio 13, Milan

• MORE: To reserve your seats at the event, call 419-499-7500 or 419-616-3500 by Nov. 25. The event can accommodate about 110 people.

The traditional family-style meal will feature turkey, dressing, vegetables, pumpkin pie and all the trimmings, prepared by institute chefs Carl Swanbeck and Jamie Simpson and Ahuja Medical Center chef John Selick.

Tonya Lombard Toth, of Columbus, said the Culinary Vegetable Institute’s dinner offers a warm, welcoming environment and delicious food, whether someone is a first-timer or a regular attendee.

They even strive to send each family home with a box of tasty leftovers, Tonya said.

Tonya has previously served in the military, while her husband, Navy Cmdr. Joe Toth, is currently in Afghanistan. As Joe plans his trip home this month, one of his biggest goals is to ensure the pair and their two children, Jade, 15, and Sophia, 13, will spend Thanksgiving Day alongside fellow military members.

“When I talked to him recently, he said, ‘I just want to make it home in time to go to the (Culinary Vegetable Institute) for Thanksgiving,” Tonya said. “This is our third year and we can’t wait to go back.”

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