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Annual Christmas dinner a big success

As he raced around the room to help make sure everything was in order Monday, Ray Turner may have summed things up best with one simple movie quote.

“Next year, we’re going to need a bigger boat,” he said, using Roy Scheider’s famous line from “Jaws.”

On Christmas afternoon, the Boulder City History and Arts Foundation hosted a free dinner and dessert at the multi-purpose room near the pool.

It started at noon and by 12:20 p.m. the line was out the door. In all, Turner estimates they fed upward of 200 people, who were served ham, turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, as well as several other sides.

“Things went as well as I had hoped they would,” said Turner, the group’s president and event coordinator. “We hoped we’d have a very big turnout and we did. There’s always a concern that not enough people will show up and you’ll have too much food. We had a little bit left over but the majority was gone.”

The community Christmas dinner had been hosted the past two years by the United Methodist Church. Last month BCHAF, whose members had volunteered the previous two years, found out the church would no longer be hosting the dinner. So, BCHAF agreed to take it over with just weeks to prepare.

Turner praised all the volunteers, many of whom are members of BCHAF as well and several others. He gave a special thanks to Deb Finnegan and Rose Ann Rabiola Miele for their time prior to, and during, the dinner. He also thanked those who brought food to share as well as local entertainer Patrick Mahoney, who volunteered his time to entertain those in attendance with holiday classics.

“They’re a wonderful group of people and I’m happy to find myself surrounded by them,” Turner said. “Anytime you want to do something, you know you can reach out to these people and they will be there. There are just so many positive, kind people in town.”

One of the many volunteers was Sarah Finnegan, who helped prep the food before it went on to be served by other volunteers.

“We have three generations of Finnegans here today,” she said of her daughter, Stella, and mother-in-law, Deb. “Service has always been in our family and to give back to others is very important. This is such a tight-knit community, so it’s great to see everything the community does for others.”

Tamra and Dennis Simmons moved to Boulder City earlier this year and read about the dinner in the Review. Having no family here, they decided to check it out.

“It’s wonderful that something like this was available today,” Tamra said. “We had a great dinner and, in the process, met some very nice people in line.”

Turner also thanked Cindy Ford, owner of Southwest Diner, who not only brought food but without the amount she did, they could have run out.

“It’s nice to know she was there for us yesterday and next year as well,” he said. “We couldn’t have done it without her.”

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