It’s been thirty-one years since Retired Master Sgt. Danny Berg, a former member of the 120th Airlift Wing in Great Falls started a Great Falls tradition with just a turkey and a dream that no one would have to be alone at Christmas. Since that time, the community has rallied around this important annual tradition which has expanded from its humble beginnings of a handful of volunteers serving twelve turkeys to over 100 volunteers.

On December 24, when most people are spending the day with family, volunteers from the Montana Air National Guard get up at the crack of dawn to prepare turkeys, stuffing and gravy for the dinner. The rest of the trimmings are cooked and
served on Christmas Day. The army of volunteers also includes a team of delivery drivers.

The original Danny Berg Christmas Dinner started when the Townhouse Inn gave out holiday turkeys to employees on Christmas. Berg, along with some coworkers inspired by his generosity, decided to cook and serve their birds for those in need of a hot meal on Christmas Day. The dinner now feeds more than 700 community members, many of whom return year after year. This year’s dinner takes place on Christmas Day from noon to 3pm at the Great Falls Senior Citizens Center – 1004 Central Avenue.

Berg passed away while battling cancer in 2008 so other volunteers have stepped up to keep this going. This year Inge Buchholz, who was with Danny from the start, is organizing the event with the help of the Air Force National Guard. Over the years Inge, her husband Mickey, son Chae, kids and grandkids have all helped by making this a family affair to continue on for future years. Inge promised Danny she would help keep this going as long as she lives and she hopes he is looking down on us with a big smile.

If you would like to volunteer to help with the Danny Berg Memorial Dinner next year, you can talk to Inge at Inge’s Fashions in Downtown Great Falls or call 406-788-0385.

For more information, including arranging for deliveries and carry-out, you can call Christmas morning only between 7am- 11am at 208-284-4543. Danny Berg Christmas Dinner.

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