Legion Post 555 honors area veterans

PELHAM – American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 came together on Saturday, Nov. 11, to host its annual Veterans Day Program at Texas Roadhouse.

Members of the post, area veterans, friends, family and Pelham and Alabaster high school students gathered at the restaurant, located on Drivers Way, for the event. Pelham High School’s choir sang the national anthem while Thompson’s ROTC presented the colors.

Post 555 member Frank Lakotich said Veterans Day programs are important because it’s “up to us to make sure veterans feel that their service to their country is appreciated by their fellow Americans.”

During the ceremony, Post 555 recognized the veterans in attendance and explained the significance of the prisoners of war/missing in action table on display at the ceremony. The table is set in memory of fallen, missing or imprisoned military service-members. A moment of silence was then held for the fallen and those still missing.

After the ceremony, veterans enjoyed a free meal courtesy of Texas Roadhouse. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Veterans Day, the restaurant offered free lunch to veterans and active duty military.

“As a company it’s a no-brainer to stand behind people who are fighting or have fought for this country,” said Brian Donegan, managing partner of Texas Roadhouse. “It’s not really about the free meal, it’s about the recognition and appreciation.”

The relationship between Post 555 and Texas Roadhouse stretches back to before the post was created, said post founder Barry Blount. In 2012, the restaurant held a fundraiser to benefit Matthew Blount, the post’s namesake, who was battling cancer.

The fundraiser generated thousands of dollars to help cover Matthew Blount’s medical expenses.

“We have been partnering with them ever since then and it has honestly been a win-win situation,” said Barry Blount. “We have developed a bond with them.”