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Golden Corral serves 282,000 veterans, helps DAV raise a record $507k.

The partnership between Golden Corral and DAV has never served as many or raised as much as in 2006.

This year's Military Appreciation Monday shattered records and--for the first time--topped the $500,000 mark in donations raised for local DAV organizations.

"Every year Golden Corral reaches out to do more for disabled veterans and their families, and this year, through their generosity, Departments throughout the country will have more money than ever before to invest in service programs to help local veterans," said National Commander Bradley S. Barton.

Since 2000, Golden Corral restaurants have provided flee meals for veterans and military members. Through an exclusive agreement with DAV, Golden Corral provides space and support for local Chapters who use the event to educate the public, recruit new DAV and Auxiliary members, and accept donations.

The event has continued to grow in the number of veterans fed and the amount of support DAV has generated. By donating more than 282,000 meals to veterans, Golden Corral helped DAV raise more than $507,000 in contributions. The restaurants fed 10,000 more veterans than in any previous year, allowing the DAV to receive $140,000 more than was raised in any past event.

Military Appreciation Monday was the brainchild of Golden Corral franchisee Hu Odom. Seven years ago, Odom started giving free meals to veterans and active duty customers in his Virginia Beach area Golden Corrals to show his appreciation for their service. From there, the idea was adopted throughout the restaurant chain.

While many of the 485 Golden Corral restaurants are franchised, every Golden Corral restaurant has supported the event since it spread nationally. In total, the event has raised nearly $2 million for disabled veterans with the restaurants serving more than 1.5 million free "thank you" meals.

Golden Corral nationwide was assisted in its efforts by its generous vendors who donated food and supplies to make the event possible.

Many Golden Corral owners and management teams go even further than providing delicious meals and space for DAV Chapter representatives. Some locations allow week-long fundraising, others match donations and some initiate special fund drives.

Additionally, Golden Corral leaders often involve local JROTC drill teams and host special ceremonies to further recognize veterans throughout the country.

"Anyone who's ever attended a Military Appreciation Monday event will tell you that the lines are wrapped around the building and out to the parking lot. Despite the challenges restaurateurs face in providing delicious food for so many, you'd be hard pressed to find more energetic people or higher quality service because Golden Corral owners, managers and staff members go out of their way to create a wonderful experience for America's veterans," said National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson.

"Golden Corral doesn't have to do this much for our nation's veterans and military members. But every year they seem to outdo themselves and go further to serve more veterans and help the DAV," added Wilson.

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

Throughout 2006, Golden Corral has created opportunities for DAV to expand its message of hope to disabled veterans and to reach out to the American people. The organization made past National Commander Paul Jackson a featured guest at the Golden Corral 500 race in Atlanta, Ga. Golden Corral also sponsored and supported DAV's sponsorship of the 2006 National Memorial Day Concert, which was broadcast live on PBS and co-hosted by Gary Sinise.

Sinise, a longtime friend of the DAV and veterans, volunteered to be the 2006 Military Appreciation Monday spokesperson.

"The frachisees and company-owned Golden Corral restaurants recognize the tremendous sacrifices veterans have made to our nation," said Ted Fowler, Golden Corral President and CEO. "We look forward to continuing this great tradition and growing our relationship.
Leading Golden Corral
Restaurants by Contributions

Franchise Stores:

#856F Baltimore, Md. $13,006
#890 Norfolk, Va. $11,662
#629 Galveston, Tex. $9,898
#2498 Hanover, Md. $8,230
#2540 Virginia Beach, Va. $7,876
#748 Charlottesville, Va. $7,574
#795 Glen Burnie, Md. $7,100
#810 Virginia Beach, Va. $6,765
#2462 Manassas, Va. $6,243
#844 Newport News, Va. $6,103

Company Stores

#905 Erie, Pa. $6,987
#641 Muskogee, Okla. $6,479
#913 Okla City, Okla. $6,000
#691 Kokomo, Ind. $5,900
#661 Tifton, Ga. $4,590
#912 Lawton, Okla. $4,152
#574 Wilson, NC $3,941
#561 Okla City, Okla. $3,901
#550 Midwest City, Ill. $3,815
#605 Shawnee, Okla $3,762
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Article Details
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Author:Clare, D.
Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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