Lori and Dean Holst and Sadie

Lori and Dean Holst, of DeWitt, pictured with their granddaughter, 8-year-old Sadie Rickertsen, will be in charge of the annual community Thanksgiving dinner at the DeWitt Community Center. The couple is taking over for longtime event organizers Fred and Elvira Donovan. 

Last year, after a decade of coordinating the annual community Thanksgiving dinner in DeWitt, Fred and Elvira Donovan decided it was time to pass the torch. 

But the DeWitt couple couldn’t help but wonder: Who would agree to take their place?

“We were volunteering at last year’s dinner, and Fred said he wished he knew someone who could take it over,” said Lori Holst, of DeWitt. “I said, ‘Well, gee, no one asked me.’”

So this year, Lori, and her husband, Dean, are in charge of the event that has become a long-standing, beloved tradition.    

The meal will take place beginning at noon Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, at the DeWitt Community Center.

Donations are needed, including salads, desserts and monetary.

Volunteers also are welcome to come help set up, make deliveries, serve food and clean up.

Anyone interested in helping or donating funding or food may contact Lori by calling (563) 212-5590.

For deliveries, people may sign up at the Referral Center, 615 Eighth St., or call 659-9612.

The turkey, potatoes and gravy are being catered this year by Matthiesen’s, but Lori said anyone who would like to donate a turkey may contact the Referral Center.

Lori said they’ve already had a number of people — mainly families — volunteer to work at the dinner. 

While they still are in need of salads and desserts, she is confident there will be plenty to eat on the big day.

“I know people will come through,” Lori related. “This community is so giving.”

Taking charge of the dinner comes at a good time for the Holsts, who officially retired Oct. 31 from their business of 30 years, Holst Construction & Rental.

The couple said they are thankful to those who were instrumental in helping to get the business off the ground, at a time when the 1980s Farm Crisis still had a lingering grip on the community and times were lean.

“I’d like to thank Dave Birney,” Dean said of the man who Lori described as a “great mentor” to her husband. “Dave and his wife, Betty. They were good to me when I was starting out. This business started on a wing and a prayer — more of a prayer. And the local banks — both DeWitt Bank & Trust and First Central State Bank. And my wife, for all her hard work and support.”