By: Lorrie Ward | Category: Restaurants | Issue: November 2012
Ron and Jennifer Barnett, owners of Golden Corral in Claremore.
For over a decade, Golden Corral restaurants across the nation have honored American veterans with a free “thank you” dinner on Veterans Day. This hand of gratitude and friendship has been extended to over 3.2 million veterans, and as the event marks its 12th year, the restaurant hopes to yet again increase those numbers.
Ron and Jennifer Barnett have owned the Golden Corral in Claremore since 2001, and both worked for several years at the Golden Corral in Lawton, which is where they met. Even though Claremore’s Golden Corral is one of the smallest in the nation, Ron reports that it consistently raises six to seven thousand dollars a year during this event. “For a small Golden Corral, that is a lot,” says Ron. “There are only six of our style or size in the nation.”
Last year, Military Appreciation Monday was hugely successful all across the United States. According to the company website at www.goldencorral.com/military, Golden Corrals nationwide served over 375,000 veterans and active duty military with a free dinner buffet and beverage. This year, Veterans Day falls on Monday, November 12. From
4 p.m. to 9 p.m., a complimentary buffet and beverage will be available to any person who has served in the United States military, including retirees, veterans, active duty servicemen, National Guard and Reserves. Even though dinner is not free for friends and family of the veterans, Golden Corral still hopes that those who are close to veterans will join them in this honorary celebration. The free buffet will be available on site at Golden Corral only (no take-outs), as this event is designed to allow veterans to renew old friendships, make new ones, and enjoy an atmosphere of comradeship amongst those of like experience. “Over the years, we’ve noticed many previous faces,” says Ron. “And there are always some new ones.”
Military Appreciation Monday is just one way Golden Corral exhibits its gratitude to American veterans and members of the armed forces. Over the years, the restaurant chain has raised over $6.1 million for Disabled Veterans (DAV), a grassroots, non-profit organization that has dedicated itself to assisting America’s disabled veterans and their families since it was founded in 1920 following World War I. The DAV assists in a variety of ways, from simple things like transportation to VA medical centers to educating lawmakers about legislation designed to help veterans. Last year, Golden Corral restaurants and guests broke previous records, contributing over $1,035,000 for the DAV, making 2011 the second consecutive year that totals passed the one million dollar mark.
Ron and Jennifer have no doubt the Claremore Military Appreciation Monday at Golden Corral will meet or exceed what it has accomplished in years past. “We have been overwhelmed by all the stories and lives this event has touched,” says Ron. “We hope we can continue to support our local veterans and be able to do even more in the future.”