Free meals, discounts granted to soldiers for holiday

By Ryan Felgenhauer

DeKalb area businesses plan to celebrate Veterans Day in different ways.

Some local restaurants will offer meals to veterans.

O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Highway, will offer entrees to service members.

Veterans can receive a free entree, so long as another entree is purchased, said Dan Penney, an employee at O’Leary’s.

Providing accommodation to veterans is something O’Leary’s is familiar with.

“It’s been a tradition at O’Leary’s for returning veterans,” Penney said. “People buy them a round, we put in a lot of effort to treat them well. We try to show our patriotic spirit.”

Applebee’s, 2411 Sycamore Road, will also offer free meals.

“It is always busy on Veterans Day,” said Applebee’s Manager Stephanie Engel. “It’s nice to see veterans come in.”

Other businesses provide Veterans Day support in their own ways.

Collins Dental Group, 2025 Aberdeen Court, made a donation of toothpaste for troops abroad. The group donated 1,000 tubes of toothpaste, said Martha Collins, administrative assistant at Collins Dental Group.

The group worked with local veterans organizations to make the donation.

“We contacted the local Veterans of Foreign Wars group,” Collins said. “The VFW picked the toothpaste up and packed it together with other items to send packages overseas.”

NAPA Auto Centers, which has 15 certified independent centers in DeKalb, will give free service to veterans.

“We’ll be giving free oil changes to all veterans,” said Tim King, president of NAPA in the DeKalb area. “This is the third year we’ve done something like this for veterans.”

King said he believes such little services are an important way to show support for veterans and not just a business opportunity.

“We’re giving thanks to the guys who are out there protecting us,” King said. “The oil changes are free, there’s no add-ons or purchases necessary.”

One NAPA center will hold a ceremony in honor of the signing of the Armistice which ended WWI. Auto Clinic, 901 E. Lincoln Highway, will play taps at 11 a.m. and will have representatives from Veterans Affairs and the NIU Veterans Organization to answer questions about veterans’ benefits, King said.

Additonally, Hy-Vee, 2700 Sycamore Road in Sycamore, will provide a breakfast for veterans. According to Hy-Vee’s website, the buffet breakfast will be held from 7 to 11 a.m. and will be free for veterans.