Annual Thanksgiving tradition takes a surprising twist

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HIGH RIDGE, MO (KTVI) – A group of strangers in High Ridge, Missouri comes together for a free Thanksgiving meal for the last decade.

Rotary District 6060 started it in 2007. It grew so much that the group had to use the High Ridge Fire Department for space.

“The camaraderie is wonderful and the food is fabulous,” Brenda Wehrmeyer said.

This year took a twist when members heard from the family of Ballwin police officer Mike Flamion.

“His sister was actually a junior firefighter for this department,” said High Ridge Fire Chief Michael Arnhart.

Chief Arnhart said the crowd buzzed as word began to spread; Officer Flamion would be driving by to visit relatives nearby.

So while serving the community downstairs, some firefighters and community members ran upstairs to show their appreciation to the officer as he drove by with his family.

“We can’t do enough for people like that who have given so much to the community,” Arnhart said.

Back downstairs, the Rotary Club served about 300 meals. Almost everyone had a different reason for coming.

“We had originally planned on going to a friend’s house for dinner and the husband wound up being in the hospital,” Wehrmeyer said. “When we saw (this event) we thought what better way to spend Thanksgiving after the parade.”

The Wehrmeyers participated in the downtown St. Louis Parade, while driving an old military jeep they renovated. They also drove it to today’s Thanksgiving meal, giving yet another symbol of what we have to be thankful for.