ISU police chief and family continue tradition of annual Thanksgiving dinner

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — For decades, the family of Indiana State Police Chief Joe Newport spends Thanksgiving serving at St. Patrick’s Church.

They said it’s a tradition that keeps the legacy of one special family member alive.

“My sister would be extremely proud and she would definitely be happy to know that everybody is still coming together everything Thanksgiving. Everybody is still here doing something that she cherished and she loved,” said Teresa Shaffer, the sister of Ruthmarie Bauer Newport.

The dinner has taken place for at least 40 years.

“It’s something that’s been a part of my family forever. My dad used to run it when I was a little girl,” Shaffer said.

The tradition then passed on to Chief Newport’s late wife, Ruthmarie Bauer Newport, before her passing in 2002. The dinner was then named in her honor.

“What my grandpa initially started and my mom took over, it’s just been an awesome tradition for us to be able to come in and really serve the community,” said Chief Newport’s son, Chris.

The Newport and Bauer families sais they saw an increase this year, serving over a thousand meals.

“We actually deliver to the fire houses and the police stations in addition to people who just call in and they’re unable to come in or maybe they want to eat in their home,” said Shaffer.

They said they’ll continue to do their part to keep the tradition going.

“Now I have a two-year-old and a 5-month old and they’ll be doing this as long as we can,” said Chris Newport.

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