Sunday, April 24, 2005

Wounded servicemembers fill plates, nourish spirits at weekly Steak Night

Lance in Iraq: Fran O’Brien’s Stadium Steakhouse

This is such a great event for wounded soldiers.

In less than two years, Steak Night at Fran O’Brien’s has become a cultural landmark for veterans of the war on terror.
“It’s not just the meal, although the food is great,” said Capt. Marc Giammatteo, who was enjoying his 10th Steak Night. “You’re sitting at a table where you can’t see below, where the injuries are. It takes you back to where you and who used to
be,” the 27-year-old West Pointer said.
To help defray the costs of feeding prime-aged steaks to so many people, several groups have stepped up to the plate to help — particularly the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), which has raised almost $100,000 by tapping major defense contractors such as Rolls Royce, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics. Another major contributor is the Veterans of Foreign Wars Unmet Needs Program, which has pledged $25,000 to the dinner. Rolling Thunder, Inc., has contributed $2,500.

Fran O’Brien’s regular patrons have been known to buy the entire back room drinks, or offer donations on the spot as soon as they realize the identity of the Steak Night revelers, Koster said.

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