As a Golden Corral manager, Julio Romero is happy to give back to veterans who served the country.
As a former Marine, he's honored.
Melvin Wiley (left) collects a donation for Disabled American Veterans from John Hill at Golden Corral restaurant on Bobby Jones Expressway.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The Golden Corral on Bobby Jones Expressway is one of 470 in 40 states that participated in Military Appreciation Night. All veterans and current military personnel were given a free buffet dinner Monday from 5 to 9 p.m.
"This is our way of showing our appreciation for what our men and women do for us," Romero said.
To help usher in the vets, representatives of the local Disabled American Veterans were present, handing out fliers and taking donations.
Alexe M. Baker, DAV Pendleton King Chapter 10 commander, said the benefits of giving back to the veterans and military personnel are twofold.
"When the community does something like this it lets the veterans know that we are appreciated," said Baker, a Vietnam veteran. "It also lets people in the military now know they will be appreciated."
The DAV worked with Golden Corral nationally to put the event together. Baker said events like this give her organization the chance to gain support.
Romero said his crew served close to 1,600 meals during the four-hour event - most of which were to veterans. To help with the large turnout, Romero made sure the restaurant was fully staffed. The longest wait he knew about was 40 minutes.
"All hands on deck," he said. "My crew worked diligently - everyone did a wonderful job."
Monday was the first companywide military appreciation day. Three years ago, the Golden Corral outside Norfolk Va., gave meals to veterans and military personnel at the Naval Station Norfolk.
At the beginning of 2001, Romero said, the company decided to take the promotion nationwide. Romero said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Afghanistan have brought more attention to the event.
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