Nashoba Tech, Chelmsford Resident Provide Lunch for Homeless Veterans
WESTFORD — Students and staff in the Culinary Arts and Hospitality programs at Nashoba Valley Technical High School recently served lunch to a group of homeless veterans from Lowell in The Elegant Chef, the school’s award-winning restaurant.
Twice a year — at Thanksgiving time and in the spring — Chelmsford resident John Conner picks up the tab for lunch for veterans who are down and out.
Conner and his wife, Kathleen, started the tradition in 2013, when they were having lunch at the restaurant. They heard that the school provided a full Thanksgiving lunch, from appetizer to dessert, for veterans each year. Kathleen Conner decided then and there that they would pay for it. Then, they decided to add a springtime luncheon, too, and they paid for both.
Kathleen Conner passed away in 2015, and John Conner has continued the tradition.
“Kathy came up with the idea,” John Conner said at the recent luncheon. “We heard them talking about it, and when we got outside, she said to me, ‘Well, did you find out how much it would cost?’ So I took myself back in and found out, and we’ve been paying for it ever since.”
Both John and Kathleen Conner served in the Air Force, Kathleen as a nurse. They settled in Chelmsford and raised two sons, both of whom graduated from Nashoba Tech.
John Conner said he wanted to continue the tradition in his wife’s memory.
“You know, we’ve had it pretty lucky,” he said. “I’m honored that these folks want to come and have lunch with us.”