Pay It Forward: Jerry Weir Memorial Dinner

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This Memorial Day hundreds of people will gather in Kewanee for a cookout.

Its a tradition that started years ago by 2 men.

Now one of those men is pushing forward and keeping the vision alive.

That's why Tamara Weir wanted to surprise Kenny Ryan with the WQAD News 8/Ascentra Credit Union Pay It Forward award.

Nine years ago Kenny and Tamara's husband Jerry started free community meals in Kewanee.

"Jerry passed away, well June 8th will be 2 years ago.  Instead of stopping the dinners he wanted to keep it going and named it after Jerry and made shirts and everything.  I just really appreciate keeping Jerry's memory alive," said Weir.

Now the Jerry Weir Memorial Dinners take place on Thanksgiving and Memorial Day.

The next one is May 30th at the American Legion.

"We will probably provide somewhere between 700-800 meals to the community.  Its free to anybody that would like to show up.  We've got wonderful volunteers that help us and wonderful sponsors that support us so we were able to keep it going.  Its a lot of work but its a lot of fun," said Kenny Ryan.

He takes on much of the cost and planning and said, "most of it comes from us my wife and I.  Its an expensive thing but we just feel it  is something we want to keep going."

He says he never thought about putting an end to it.

"I just wanted to keep it going in his memory.  He was just a wonderful man, biggest heart in the world."