Community keeps tradition going after organizer loses life in cr - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Community keeps tradition going after organizer loses life in crash

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HERRIN -- Thanksgiving is two weeks away and planning kicked off for the annual Herrin Community Thanksgiving Dinner.

But tonight's meeting took place without the main organizer of the event. Bart Mann unexpectedly died in a tragic crash in August while on a bike ride.

At this year's dinner, the Herrin community will pay tribute to Mann and Former Mayor Ed Quaglia, who created the event. 

Those who attended the volunteer meeting Wednesday voted to change the name of the dinner to the "Mayor Quaglia and Attorney Bart Mann Herrin Community Thanksgiving Dinner."

"This is going to be a tremendous loss for this year," said Herrin resident Darlene Floyd. "He was a very caring man and he cared about his community and the people that was in the community."

Floyd grew emotional remembering her friend and well-known community member.

"Not only at Thanksgiving, he cared about the people all the time in his community," Floyd said. "So the community lost a really good friend."

Quaglia, who many described as having a big heart, started the tradition in 1988. When he passed away, Mann stepped up to the plate to keep the tradition going.

Herrin Mayor Steve Frattini explained how Mann rallied the community together every Thanksgiving for 14 years.

"He was organized to the point that a lot of good volunteers have stepped up to the plate and are going to continue on," Frattini said.

That's where Floyd comes in.

"Hats off to Darlene Floyd who's taking the reigns now as Bart's right-hand person," Frattini said. 

Floyd said she won't let her good friend down and plans to keep the tradition alive.

"I keep thinking that he is with us as I'm going through this process and everything, I can still feel that he is with us," Floyd said. 

Floyd said they're in need of volunteers and encourages anyone looking to help or make a donation to contact Darlene Floyd at (618)751-3000. She said this number is her work phone, so leave a message if you get a work-related voicemail.

This year's event will be at the Herrin Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving day.

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