Moose Lodge celebrates Cordova’s veterans

Prime rib and all the fixings free to veterans for the fifth year

What’s better than a prime rib dinner with all the fixings?

A free prime rib dinner for every veteran who showed up to the Cordova Moose Lodge 1266 on Veterans Day.

Cordova’s local Moose Lodge members have been hosting local military and veterans to a free gourmet dinner as their way of saying thank you to those who have served the United States of America.

Chef Tammy Johnson, of the Cordova Moose Lodge 1266, slices into a thick prime rib roast just out of the oven. The lodge provides free prime rib dinners to all veterans on Veterans Day. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times
Chef Tammy Johnson, of the Cordova Moose Lodge 1266, slices into a thick prime rib roast just out of the oven. The lodge provides free prime rib dinners to all veterans on Veterans Day.
Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Tammy Johnson acts as head chef, in charge of menu planning and cooking, and with the help of volunteers whips up an abundant spread.

This year’s menu included prime rib, Caesar salad, baked potatoes with all of the toppings, fancy green beans, rolls and patriotic cakes for dessert, created by Mona Bossie at Alaska Commercial Company.

Volunteer Vicki Blackler estimated that lodge members served up about 140 dinners, with half of those provided to veterans.

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“This is a huge task for a lodge this size to put on this dinner and without the contributions we receive we wouldn’t be able to it, We are very proud that we are able to do this for the veterans,” she said.

Among the guests were Cordovan Ed Zeine, the lodge’s oldest veteran, who was accompanied by his wife, Elaine Zeine.

U.S. Coast Guardsman Jay Tracy, his son Isaac and wife Chelsea enjoyed their’ meal on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the Cordova Moose Lodge 1266. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times
U.S. Coast Guardsman Jay Tracy, his son Isaac and wife Chelsea enjoyed their’ meal on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, at the Cordova Moose Lodge 1266.
Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

Spouses, children and folks who aren’t vets paid about $30 apiece for their dinners, the likes of which are otherwise often hard to find in Cordova.

Cordova Telephone Cooperative assisted the Moose Lodge with the event’s sponsorship, donating  $1,846 worth of groceries. Trident Seafoods also pitched in with a $500 donation and Anchor Auto and Marine (NAPA) donated $250.

“CTC is proud to sponsor this Veterans Day Event,” said Paul Kelley, general manager of the telephone cooperative.  “We thank all of those who have served our country and are humbled by their dedication to our freedoms! We wish all veterans and those now serving to protect this nation all the best life has to offer.” Locals generally attend the dinner. No one at the lodge recalls serving any out of town veterans, but if that happens, they said any veteran is always welcome.

“The lodge feels that our military plays a big role in our community. We want to say, ‘Thank you,’ to them,” said Jerry Blackler, a trustee of the Cordova lodge. “Holding this dinner every year is a way for us to do that. It also brings in a lot of the veterans who served our country throughout their careers and we get to tell them thank you, and acknowledge their service.”

The Cordova Moose Lodge’s officers for 2016 are Kevin Byrd, administrator; Rich Rogers, governor; Scott Madison, past governor; Martin Faulkner, prelate; and trustees Jerry Blackler, Travis Yarbrough and Bob Smith.

Tammy and Steve Johnson manager the lodge’s bar.

While the Women of the Moose’s local chapter is no longer active, the ladies are not idle, said Vicki Blackler. “The Women of the Moose closed their chapter several years ago, when we couldn’t get enough women to hold office. It was decided that we would use our energy in helping the men to keep the lodge going.”

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Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson
Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson is a staff writer and photographer for The Cordova Times. She has been writing in one form or another for 30-plus years and has had a longstanding relationship with The Cordova Times starting in 1989. She's been an Alaskan since 1976 and first moved to Cordova in 1978. She's lived in various West Texas towns; in Denver, Colorado; in McGrath, Cordova, Galena, Kodiak, Wasilla, Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and in Bangalore, India. She has two children and three grandchildren. She can be reached at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @alaskatoindia.