Gloucester mom opens heart, home to Ft. Eustis soldiers for Thanksgiving

Posted at 11:46 PM, Nov 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-29 07:46:54-05

Gloucester, VA. - The turkey is carved and the table is set.

Just like every year, Cheryl Slavnik has more than enough to go around.

"This is pineapple cheese soufflé, and this here's lima beans,” Cheryl says as she points out all the dishes on the table. “We've got the turkey of course."

This year, though, something's different. The Gloucester County mom prepared enough to feed an army, or in this case, a couple of soldiers from Ft. Eustis.

She took action and signed up to host through the USO.

NewsChannel 3 heard about Cheryl’s good deed and wanted to take action and make the big day extra special. So Kurt Williams tagged along as Cheryl shopped, with a big surprise for her at the checkout.

Before she could pull out any money, we told her NewsChannel 3 was picking up the tab for the whole amount.

After hours of prep, it was finally time to sit down and give thanks.

"I want to especially thank the two service members who were with us today," Cheryl says while giving the blessing.

The soldiers, 18-year-old Bradley Harris and 19-year-old Alex Black, are fresh out of boot camp, training to become Black Hawk mechanics at Ft. Eustis. This is their first Thanksgiving away from home.

"Just the home cooked aspect of it,” Black says. “Getting real food."

Home cooked food, they say, wouldn't be an option on base.

"I’d be going to eat at the dining facility on base then go back to the barracks and sit in my room," Harris says.

"I love it. They fit right in," Cheryl says.

A home away from home, that Cheryl says she hopes to provide every Thanksgiving from now on.

"We took in two this year and next year I’m hoping we take four in," she says.