Korean War vet Wayne Peterson couldn't contain himself at the Denny's on north Wells in Reno. After the first bite he exclaimed, "Mmmm, that's good..."
And free, which made it all the more special…adding to the good vibes that filled this busy restaurant. A few tables away, Vietnam vet Julian Vela tried to explain how much the simple gift of a free breakfast meant to him. "It's humbling… very nice. It makes you feel good inside."
Across the dining room, ex-Navy Wayne Peterson remembers the last time someone bought him a meal for his service. 2 men recently said hello, then left. A minute later, the manager came over, "And said that they wanted to thank me for my service and they bought my breakfast! And they got out of here before I could get up and go thank them."
It's a familiar story for Denny's manager Amber Young. Thankfully, she says it happens all the time. She told us, "The vets will be identified by their hats or jackets, and just randomly we've had some very generous guests who will just buy their meals."
Wayne Peterson's breakfast partner was Bill Fromel, an army vet who served in the Battle of the Bulge. He told us, "I got shot up, and a friend of mine got blown up. But at least I came out of it."
For Bill, it wasn't so much the free all-you-can-eat pancakes, but the good wishes behind them. "I'm enjoying it. I don't know when I had so much fun. I met so many nice people. I just walked in the door and everyone wants to shake my hand...they don't even know me!"
But we do know what they did for our country. We witnessed sincere thanks for their service, followed by sincere appreciation. Vietnam vet Julian Vela said it best…"It makes you feel real good, and proud to be an American."
Squeeze In reports they gave away 342 veteran meals total today at their 4 locations, doubling what they gave out last year. "It feels so wonderful to have been able to serve our country's service men and women! To be able to show our thanks and appreciation for what they sacrificed for our freedom and safety is a great honor," says vice president and co-owner Shila Morris.
Besides all the U.S. Denny's, free meals for vets were also provided today by Squeeze In, Texas Roadhouse, Applebees and others.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
Aces Release 5/24/2013 In his first game of a Major League Rehabilitation Assignment from the Diamondbacks, infielder Willie Bloomquist boosted the Reno Aces to an 8-5 win over the Tacoma RainiersMore >>
Bloomquist went 2-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored.More >>