Golden Corral celebrates Military Appreciation Monday

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GLENDALE, Ariz.-- The Golden Corral at 56th Avenue and Northern was at capacity, with a line out the door Monday night. Veterans eat free on Military Appreciation Monday as a thank you for their service.

Veterans from all branches of the military formed a long line that wound through the parking lot. They came here for a free dinner.

"We serve anyone who is in the service or veterans, active military, anyone who served, for free. It's an honor to work on this day," Kristi Hutchings, General Manager at Golden Corral.

They also come to share stories. "I was lucky. Spent 20 months in Vietnam. I never fired a shot and never had a shot fired at me," said Ray Hatton.

Golden Corral hosts this free dinner the Monday after Veterans Day every year. 98-year-old Ross Campagna served in World War II under General George Patton. "Patton wasn't afraid of anybody. That guy says go, we go all go. Night and day. The cold and snow through Europe," said Campagna.

Willmore Walker served twice in Vietnam and twice in Korea. He wore his full Army uniform to the dinner. "It still fits," Walker said.

The restaurant is a place where heroes hang out, enjoy the camaraderie and some well deserved recognition. "Just to be recognized and appreciated. Shaking hands and giving hugs to everyone you know," said Bill Kannard of Peoria.

This Golden Corral restaurant will served some 700 veterans before the night is over. Nationally, Golden Corral has served close to half a million veterans through Military Appreciation Mondays during its 14 years in existence.