Veterans, military nationwide celebrate Veterans Day at Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night

Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night is about saying thanks to those who served by providing them with a great meal at no cost. But it also offers veterans the chance to gather, reminisce and connect with resources to improve their quality of life.

Veterans nationwide celebrated Veterans Day in November at their local Golden Corral restaurants, including Fred A. Musial, a 101-year-old Navy veteran of both World War II and Vietnam.

Toting a white binder filled with stories and pictures, Musial went to the El Cajon, Calif., location prepared to share his story with others.

James and Dolores Linden
Vietnam and Army veteran James Linden sits with his wife, Dolores, during Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night in El Cajon, Calif., Nov. 11.

“It’s a blessing to be here and see so many veterans in one place,” said Musial, who had served as a minesweeper during his service. “Golden Corral always treats us so well, and all of us who attend sincerely appreciate it. I look forward to this evening each year and being around my brothers and sisters.”

The 2019 Military Appreciate Night marked the 19th year Golden Corral has served free meals to veterans. It was also a chance to interact with veterans and for DAV to raise money to fund programs to help improve veterans’ lives.

A popular event within the veteran community, attendees began sharing stories of their time in the military before sitting down to enjoy their meals.

“It was a great night,” said Carroll Davis, adjutant for the DAV Department of Georgia. “We chatted with veterans waiting in line, and we found out one of the veterans needed services. So he will be meeting with a national service officer to start his claim.”

“We love coming together like this as vets,” said Larry Vega, who served in the Army from 1974 to 1980 and also attended the event in El Cajon. He was sharing a table with Joe Gravola, a two-time Navy veteran.

“His ending story is my beginning,” Vega said of Gravola. “I think that resonates with all the vets here.”

“We are extremely grateful for our military service men and women who defend our country and protect our freedoms,” said Lance Trenary, president and CEO of Golden Corral. “Our 35,000 associates of Golden Corral across the country look forward to this night every year when we get to thank our active and retired military guests personally.”

Golden Corral’s Military Appreciation Night served more than 275,000 complimentary meals to veterans and active-duty military personnel and generated over $1.2 million in guest contributions to support community-based service initiatives for veterans through DAV.