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Military Appreciation Monday.

Military Appreciation Monday, and the partnership between the DAV and Golden Corral, are just outstanding," National Commander Paul W. Jackson said.

Commander Jackson joined thousands of DAV Department and Chapter members on Nov. 14, to participate in Military Appreciation Monday. The annual event provides free dinners, complete with drink and dessert, to veterans and military members. Golden Corral restaurants also provide space to local DAV Chapters enabling them to distribute information about the DAV to the public and recruit new DAV and Auxiliary members. Golden Corral restaurant managers also strategically place contribution canisters in their restaurants to accept donations to support DAV service programs in Departments during the annual event.

Military Appreciation Monday was originally started by Golden Corral franchise owner Hu Odom at his Virginia Beach, Va., restaurant in 1999 as a way to extend appreciation to veterans and active duty military members. He showed his appreciation in the form of a free dinner, drink and dessert to veterans and active duty military men and women. The response was phenomenal and rapidly spread throughout the restaurant chain. Today, the annual event includes all of nearly 500 restaurants nationwide.

Military Appreciation Monday 2005 was a rousing success. Generous Golden Corral patrons contributed $365,419 to the DAV during the event, and 271,447 free meals were served to veterans and military men and women.

The Golden Corral in Baltimore, Md., managed by Ray Wolfe and owned by Hu Odom, led all restaurants in contributions to the DAV with $15,903. In fact, four of the top five franchise store contributions were Odom-owned. The Fort Smith, Ark., store, managed by James Staats and owned by Sam Fiori, was fourth in the top five at $6,493. The top five company owned Golden Corral contributors included Lawton, Okla., managed by Craig Riha, $5,476; Kokomo, Ind., managed by Rick Riddle, $4,800; Muskogee, Okla., managed by Rick Poslick, $4,570; Tifton, Ga., managed by Michael Quillen, $4,445; and Oklahoma City, Okla., managed by Brent Nash, $3,614.

Money donated to the DAV as part of Military Appreciation Monday is delivered to the DAV Department in which it is donated and used to provide services to veterans and their families within local communities.

Part of the overwhelming success of Military Appreciation Monday is attributed to a thorough pre-event publicity campaign, which included a public service announcement about Military Appreciation Monday, featuring Gary Sinise, musician and star of stage, screen and television. The PSA aired nationally in Golden Corral markets to make sure everyone knew about the event well in advance.

Military Appreciation Monday provided an opportunity to enjoy an evening greeting and interacting with veterans and active duty military men and women in their community. In addition to signing up new DAV and Auxiliary members, newly relocated members and inactive members were invited to attend local Chapter and Unit activities.

"Military Appreciation Monday has evolved into an honored and significant partnership between the DAV and Golden Corral restaurants," National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson said. "We are proud of this partnership, and we deeply appreciate the thousands of Golden Corral employees, managers, franchise owners and corporate leaders who join us on this very special day each year to help build better lives for America's disabled veterans and their families.

"The worthy and generous effort made by the Golden Corral corporation on behalf of our nation's veterans is an example we encourage others to follow. By their effort they have earned the respect of disabled veterans, and we look forward to partnering with them far into the future."
COPYRIGHT 2006 Disabled American Veterans
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Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Vets Honored
Author:Hall, Jim
Publication:DAV Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:594
Previous Article:Veterans' agenda.
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