CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - It's a tradition that began with a small fruit basket.
Each year for Veterans Day, the Valley Opportunity Council shows appreciation by delivering free meals to veterans who live at Magruder House in Chicopee and Chapin Mansion in Holyoke.
One veteran told 22News sometimes it seems like some people forget what Veterans Day truly means, but small gestures like Monday night's buffet dinner remind them of their accomplishments.
"All the freedoms that they have, it doesn't come for free. We all had different missions. We all wore the uniform. We are what I feel like true Americans because we all put in time for our country," said Veteran Jim Santiago.
Valley Opportunity Council employees donate a part of their paycheck to make these dinners possible every year.