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WASHINGTON, April 20 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The leader of the world's largest veterans organization expressed deep concern over the soon-to-be evicted restaurant that provides free steak dinners to severely wounded troops receiving care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center every Friday night.
For more than two and a half years, the owners of Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse have been serving up steak dinners and libation to troops severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's truly a shame these Friday night outings for our wounded heroes will come to an end at Fran O'Brien's," said American Legion National Commander Thomas L. Bock who supports the dinners.
"I can tell you first-hand after talking with the troops that this weekly event is truly therapeutic in their healing and recovery process," Bock said.
The owners along with the legion of combat veterans and other volunteers who make these evenings possible are to be greatly commended," Bock said. "The American Legion takes great pride in recognizing Hal and Marty for their generosity and hospitality toward military personnel injured during service in the war on terror."
Last year, The American Legion presented the restaurant owners with a plaque in appreciation for their efforts on behalf of our nation's wounded heroes. The Legion has helped fund the endeavor and senior staff volunteers assist the wounded troops with veterans benefits and employment needs just to name a few.
The restaurant has also become a Friday night haven for veterans of previous wars, where the newly injured share their stories with fellow comrades from other generations.
"It's a healing process for many, especially my generation who didn't feel as welcomed home upon returning from service during Vietnam," Bock said, "and I will be saddened to have it end with the closing of Fran O'Brien's."
"The owners selflessly demonstrate week in and week out that feeding troops and their family members is far more important than any bottom line," he said.
"It is The American Legion's understanding the Capital Hilton management has made a 'business decision' not to renew a renewable lease," Bock said. "It is my sincere hope that not every 'business decision' is based on the bottom line or perception that the hotel doesn't want severely wounded troops on its premises each week," he added.
According the Koster, negotiations broke down after repeated requests by the owners for the hotel to install a wheel-chair lift or elevator so injured troops would have access to the restaurant which is not handicap accessible.
Bock said there's still time to reach an agreement between the Capital Hilton management team and Fran O'Brien's.
"It's not May 1st yet," Bock said. "We'll lend our support any way we can, even if it means having to help raise money for an elevator."
Founded in 1919, the 2.7 million-member American Legion is the nation's preeminent service organization for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, including active duty, National Guard and Reserves, and their families. A powerful voice for veterans in Washington, The American Legion drafted the original GI Bill and was instrumental in establishing the agency that today is the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Bock said there's still time to reach an agreement between the Capital Hilton management team and Fran O'Brien's." And if the Capital Hilton management team can't reach agreement with Fran O'Brien's, there's still time to replace the Capital Hilton management team, who seem bound and determined to severely damage Hilton's reputation to the substantial detriment of not only their location, but all the other Hilton locations, and all Hilton affiliates.
Just imagine the damage the Capital Hilton management team will do to Hilton shareholders by deeply alienating a million-member organization whose leader, Mr Bock, says "We'll lend our support any way we can, even if it means having to help raise money for an elevator." As Bock notes, "It's not May 1st yet." As far as the management team at the Capital Hilton's concerned, there'd better be some changes in attitude soon or there should be changes in personnel.Posted by Mark White at April 21, 2006 05:24 PM
BE AWARE: THESE ARE IN THE HILTON FAMILY:
CONRAD LUXURY HOTELS