DICKSON CITY — A ball cap bearing the name of a war and the word “Veteran” could be found in just about any booth at the Texas Roadhouse in Dickson City. The label means something every day but, on this day it bought those vets a free lunch at the steakhouse in Lackawanna County.
“I never went to one but I read it in the paper this morning and I thought it was a very nice gesture on their part to do this for the veterans,” said Joe Maloney, a Vietnam War veteran.
The restaurant was filled only minutes after it opened. Employees said they’ll be busy and have a waiting list the entire night. The vets who were there early said they appreciate the “thanks” but they more appreciate the chance to spend this day with other veterans.
“It’s always emotional, I don’t know why but the older I get the more emotional I get about people who have served, it’s my thing,” said James Tartella, former Navy reservist.
“I said to my wife there’s probably people in here that I served with and don’t even know,” said Maloney.
This is the second year Texas Roadhouse has hosted the Veteran’s Day event. Employees expect to serve a few hundred free lunches, but, they said the best part is watching the vets interact with each other.
“Such a great feeling, so exciting to be able to do it, we did it last year and had a great turnout. Some of the vets made life time friends out of it,” said Denise Harding, an employee of Texas Roadhouse.
“There’s a camaraderie here, between veterans and between veterans of different wars. We got to meet a Korean vet, very nice guy, there’s world war two vets here,” said Stephen Roth, a Vietnam War veteran.
So, the day became less about free lunch and more about meeting with friends, and sharing stories. The least they could, said the folks at Texas Roadhouse, for those who served.
“As a Vietnam veteran, it makes me feel like i belong, which i didn’t for a long time,” said Roth.