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AUXILIARY PROVIDES HOME AWAY FROM HOME

Seaman Monique Genereux had modest expectations when she walked into the Coast Guard meeting room for a Thanksgiving dinner put together by auxiliary volunteers.

"I was thinking hot dogs and hamburgers or something. I would have been happy with that. This is a full spread," said Genereux, spending her first Thanksgiving away from her home in Guam.

Genereux and about 30 other active-duty members of the Coast Guard stationed in Buffalo enjoyed turkey, stuffing, Greek salad, sweet potatoes and cranberries.

Dessert featured 19 pies, including lemon meringue, pumpkin and chocolate cream.

"I think I ate everything on that table. It was good, real good," Genereux said.

Many of the Coast Guard members are on duty through the holiday, while others are too far from home to visit with family.

It was the second year the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 3-2 whipped up a Thanksgiving feast for on- and off-duty members of the Guard -- and in some cases, their families.

"Last year, we had a mother who hadn't enjoyed Thanksgiving with her son in five years," said Chris Willig, an auxiliary volunteer.

Jeff Spaulding was on duty, but his wife, Somer, and their 6-month-old daughter, Jocelyn, joined him for the home-cooked meal.

The couple moved from Utah last year and were thankful to be among new friends, if not extended family.

Some of the auxiliaries were more than happy to entertain Jocelyn for a few minutes while her parents enjoyed their meals.

Members of the auxiliary, the Coast Guard's volunteer arm, often assist with search and rescue missions, provide administrative support and conduct boating safety classes.

e-mail: jtokasz@buffnews.com

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