By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Tania Hardiman was a Thanksgiving volunteer at the Long Island Shelter in Boston on Thursday. Thirteen years ago, she was a guest there.

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“What I’ve been given here, I like to give back and I enjoy it so much,” said Hardiman.

It’s people like Tania who have motivated Mayor Menino on a daily basis over the last 20 years.

“We all make mistakes, we have to help people get back on track,” he said.

Menino was greeted on Thursday, his last Thanksgiving as Mayor of Boston, with gratitude as he returned to his annual Thanksgiving tradition of visiting one shelter after another.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

Mayor Menino began visiting the Pine Street Inn long before he was elected.

“I love it it’s in my DNA. The thing I love most about my job is this,” explained the Mayor.

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When asked about his legacy, he replied, “It’s not about legacies… I just want to be known as a guy who can help some people have a better life.”

The Mayor said he was inspired by his mother to help others. He remembers her helping immigrants from Italy adjust to life in Boston.

The Mayor posed for pictures, thanked volunteers and listened to success stories from clients.

“I haven’t seen him since last Thanksgiving, I see him on TV but I get to hold his hand and shake his hand in person,” Naomi Wilkins said. “It was great to see him.”

The Mayor is especially grateful to be back on his feet. On this day last year, he was in the hospital.

“I’m a lucky guy,” he said. “Last year at this time there was a question if I would ever get back… I’m so lucky to be here.

And despite it being his last year as mayor, he promises all the shelters, he’ll be back again next year.

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