Local volunteer continues a Thanksgiving tradition at the Ronald McDonald House

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JOPLIN, Mo. — Happy Thanksgiving. While many families spend their Thanksgiving at home with their loved ones, one has made it an annual tradition of giving back.

Fifteen years ago, Dick Oppenheim was asked by the then manager of the Ronald McDonald House of the Four States if he would volunteer. 15 years later, he’s never second-guessed agreeing to do so.

“I had no idea what it entailed, but it’s really turned into a great thing. You get to work with families who are under stress with children in the hospital and make their day a little brighter, so I’ve enjoyed it,” said Dick Oppenheim – Ronald McDonald House Volunteer.

After many years of volunteering every Tuesday night, Oppenheim decided to start a tradition of his own — serving food to the families on Thanksgiving. But unlike every Tuesday night — this one day a year — he does it with his family.

“If I had to come by myself on Thanksgiving it wouldn’t be near as much fun. It’s great to be here with all of them. I’ve got two grandkids here with me today as well as my wife and so it’s just a family event,” said Oppenheim.

While this five year tradition is a fun event for Oppenheim — it’s a memorable one for his granddaughter.

“It makes me very happy, I love to help these people. They’re very kind and sweet, it’s just very fun,” said Natalie Riesenmy – Dick Oppenheim’s Granddaughter.

And along with serving food, there was also live music.

“Just learning the piano has been fun and just practicing and playing for people, it’s fun,” said Riesenmy.

With another year of volunteering, serving food and live music in the books… It’s until next year. As for Dick… He’ll be back Tuesday night.

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