Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 11, 2009

Veterans appreciative of restaurant meal

ASHLAND — Local veterans were eager to take a couple of local restaurants up on their offers of free meals on Veterans Day.

The Ashland Applebee’s and Ponderosa locations both were packed at lunchtime Wednesday. And, many of the patrons at both establishments were current or former members of the military.

Several vets interviewed while waiting for tables at Applebee’s said they were appreciative of the fact that the restaurant chain would recognize them for their service in such a manner.

“This is very nice,” said Tom Cordle of Brush Creek Road in Greenup County, a Vietnam-era veteran. “When I got out, people didn’t recognize veterans like this. They were throwing things at us.”

Cordle, a federal prison worker, served with the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1965, the Army National Guard from 1973 to 1976 and the Air National Guard from 1978 to 1991. He retired from the military with 24 years of service.

The Veterans Day luncheon at Applebee’s was a family affair for Fred Aylsworth of South Point. The U.S. Navy veteran was accompanied by his 21-year-old daughter, Brittanie Walls, who served a year in the Air Force.

“I think it’s nice that they would do something like this for the vets who have served, in addition to those who are currently serving,” said Melanie Aylsworth, Fred’s wife and Brittanie’s mother.

David Smith, 81, of Ashland, and his friend, Arch Worley, 85, of Ironton, were two of the more senior vets present in the lunchtime crowd. Smith served with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Korean War, while Worley is a World War II Navy veteran.

Both said they were looking forward to enjoying a free meal and that they appreciated Applebee’s providing them.

“How could you not?” Smith said.

The free-meals-for-vets offer was valid at all Applebee’s locations nationwide on Wednesday. In order to take advantage of the offer, veterans needed only to bring in their military IDs or discharge papers, show up in uniform or bring pictures of themselves in uniform.

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