Vets, responders thanked with free food
June 13, 2011
TUPELO - Firefighters, police officers, first responders, active military and veterans got fed for free Monday, thanks to a Memorial Day program from the Eat With Us Group.
The Eat With Us Group owns Sweet Peppers Deli, Fairpark Grill and Harveys in Tupelo, in addition to other locations.
For nine years, it has given a free entree to the men and women in uniform or those with proper identification.
The program is a hit with the Tupelo Fire Department, which was well represented at Peppers and Fairpark Grill.
Capt. Michael Montgomery of Fire Station No. 2 got two of his comrades loaded up in an engine and ate lunch at Peppers. He enjoyed a free Cajun Shrimp Wrap.
In downtown Tupelo, Roger Davis, Marty Stephens and Keon Poindexter of Fire Station No. 6 grabbed some food at Fairpark Grill.
Manager Amanda Krieg said the restaurant didn't get a lot of uniformed guests for lunch, but she thought they might show up for dinner.
But they showed up en masse for lunch at Harveys, said assistant manager Steven Lyles. He estimated at least 100 uniformed guests and retired military were served free entrees.
"We've had a lot of old veterans coming in and telling their war stories to the servers," Lyles said. "The servers are getting educated with old war stories, real stories."
One veteran even brought in flags for all the servers.
U.S. Navy veteran Stanley Serrano and his wife, Toni, ate lunch at Harveys, like they did last Memorial Day. The prime rib sandwich was Stanley Serrano's lunch choice.
"We eat here whether it's Memorial Day or not," said Serrano, describing himself as a Harveys regular.
Lyles also said he saw representatives from the National Guard, the Lee County Sheriff's Department and police departments from Tupelo, Verona and Saltillo.
"It's gone beyond just Tupelo," he said. "I'm going by each table and speaking to them and they're very appreciative. This is the least we can do for them."