Prospect family decides it’s better to give than receive

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Members of the Smolkis, Drury, and Leblanc families hosted a Christmas dinner for veterans and their families Sunday at the VFW in Prospect. -CONTRIBUTED

PROSPECT — It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.

Like the Whos down in Whoville, the Smolkis, Drury, and Leblanc families know that Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

This year, in lieu of exchanging gifts, nine family members decided to pool their resources to host a Christmas dinner for veterans and their families.

“This is the first year our family has done anything like this,” Dorathy Smolkis said.

The family prepared a feast for 17 people at the VFW in Prospect, including a recently-returned Iraq war veteran who hadn’t spent Christmas at home in three years, an octogenarian, and mothers who lost their sons in Vietnam.

“They all lifted each other up and got to make friends with each other and know each other,” Smolkis said.

Smolkis said her family wanted to thank veterans and active service members for their service.

Most Christmases in the Smolkis household are about the excitement of opening stockings and unwrapping gifts, but this year the family was equally excited to honor local veterans.

“It was the best Christmas we ever had. The presents were just smiles in the hearts and thank-yous of people. We’re very Christian and we don’t believe Christmas is about presents to begin with,” Smolkis said.