Local veterans will be recognized during today's Thanksgiving meal

U.S. Army veteran John Hall is pictured celebrating his 98th birthday in March. Hall is one of two veterans being recognized today at the 10th annual Sharion Bailey Whitlock Community Soul Food Dinner: Good Food for the Body and Soul Thanksgiving meal, alongside fellow Army vet Donnie Lee. (News-Times file)
U.S. Army veteran John Hall is pictured celebrating his 98th birthday in March. Hall is one of two veterans being recognized today at the 10th annual Sharion Bailey Whitlock Community Soul Food Dinner: Good Food for the Body and Soul Thanksgiving meal, alongside fellow Army vet Donnie Lee. (News-Times file)

Two local veterans will be honored during the 10th annual Sharion Bailey Whitlock Community Soul Food Dinner: Good Food for the Body and Soul Thanksgiving meal, which is set for noon today in the rear parking lot of the TAC House, 1102 N. West Ave.

Presented by Meet Me at the Court, The Bailey Family and the El Dorado chapter of the Sugar Town Riders Motorcycle Club, the community dinner is free and open to the public.

Meals will be served to go in a drive-through format and attendees are asked not to exit their vehicles.

In honor of Veterans Day, organizers select two veterans each year to recognize during the SBWSFD.

This year's honorees are John C. Hall Sr., 98, and Donnie Lee, both U.S. Army veterans.

Hall served in the Army in the early 1940s and fought in World Ward II at the age of 17.

He is retired from Mid-States Pipe Fabricating, where he worked in several capacities, including as a pipe-cutter.

He also formerly worked as a contractor who built houses and helped to build Freewill Baptist Church, of which he is a member.

Hall as 11 children and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

His hobbies include fishing, listening to gospel music and discussing the Bible.

For the past few years, Hall's family has celebrated his birthday with festive outdoor displays in his front yard.

Photos of the displays have appeared in the El Dorado News-Times.

When asked how long he served in the Army, Donnie Lee recited his answer down to the day.

"Six years, nine months and 27 days," he said with a laugh.

While in the military, Lee worked as a telephone installer and switchboard operator.

He is a member of the El Dorado High School Class of 1977 and he retired from the former Risinger Spur and Tire Center as an auto mechanic.

Lee and his wife Juanita have three children and 15 grandchildren.

Veronica Bailey, founder and CEO of Meet Me at the Court, said MMC will present plaques to Lee and Hall today in honor of their military service.

"It's from Meet Me at the Court, The Bailey Family and the Sugar Town Riders but it's also from the community," she said. "We want to show them we appreciate everything they've done in serving our country."

The SBWCSFD also recognizes first responders and educators.

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