Giving thanks in NEMS

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

SHERMAN – Julia Hamblin had heard on the radio that Cravin’ Catfish would be serving a free Thanksgiving dinner, and she brought her grandson to enjoy the feast.
“Usually we go to friends or relatives on Thanksgiving, but (Thursday) I was back in Blue Springs and Fairfield and decided to come,” Hamblin said.
Cravin’ Catfish owners Gerald and Becky Hegan had prepared a traditional Thanksgiving menu that included turkey and dressing, ham, sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, several varieties of cobbler pies, ice cream and a drink.
“We’ve been so blessed we just wanted to share that blessing with the community,” said Gerald Hegan.
Also stepping up to the plate to feed Northeast Mississippians on Thursday were Rick’s Barbecue in Fulton and The Salvation Army in Tupelo.
Hamblin and her 12-year-old grandson Terry Joe “TJ” Hamblin thought it was a great meal.
“I’ve even thought about other people I could bring,” Hamblin said. “There are lots of people who might not make it because they didn’t have a ride, like the elderly.”
Hamblin thought it commendable that a restaurant business would share with the community in this way.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of a restaurant having a free meal and I think it’s a great thing,” she said.
Volunteers were plentiful to help the Hegans pull off their first community meal preparation, and a big part of the effort was Pat Bedford, who helped Becky Hegan cook the food. Bedford also works at Cravin’ Catfish, but volunteered her time for this special event.
“We started Monday preparing and worked through Wednesday, so it has been a full week,” Bedford said. Her husband Joe also volunteered as a greeter, but served a much greater role earlier in the week when he watched their grandchild while Bedford worked on the food.
“I just enjoy seeing people come in and enjoy the food,” she said. “It’s just a joy to be able to help people.”

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or

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