In 1989, Mark and Karen Curtis were celebrating Thanksgiving with friends at the Dugout in Framingham and decided to invite some tenants of the boarding house upstairs to join them.
Two year later, the Curtis' decided to put up signs inviting people to join them for a free hot Thanksgiving meal.
For their commitment to the community and for encouraging local businesses, community organizations and youth groups to volunteer their time to the event, the husband and wife were honored at the 20th Annual Salute to Framingham Thursday night.
More than 500 people attended the event, which also honored Dave Gudejko.
Gudejko, who moved to Framingham in 1978 with his wife Dale and their three sons, initially got involved with Framingham Baseball because of his sons' interest.
"When my son started playing T-ball I showed up at one of his practices and within a year found myself on the advisory board," said Gudejko.
Years later, his sons have outgrown the league, but he is still involved with Framingham Parks & Recreation, Little League, Framingham Babe Ruth, Framingham United Soccer Club, CYO basketball and the Marian High Boosters.
All three honorees are quiet individuals, who prefer to be behind the scenes helping others than in the spotlight.
The Salute to Framingham is the largest single fundraiser for Framingham High School. All proceeds support activities, the arts and athletics at the school.
Describing the event as "impressive," Superintendent of Schools Steven Hiersche said " it is an opportunity for the the community to come together and show their pride."
At Thursday night's festivities the Framingham Co-operative Bank Charitable Foundation was honored with the Jim O'Connor Community Service Award.
The award is given to an individual or organization who holds the passion, vision, commitment and leadership of Salute To Framingham founder Jim O'Connor.
The Framingham Co-Operative Bank Charitable Foundation, established in 1998, has given more than $2 million back to the community.
The Salute to Framingham also recognizes graduating 24 seniors and more than 20 public school staff, who make a difference.
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