Monday was the 12th annual Golden Corral Veteran Appreciation Day; which also is a fundraiser for Disabled American Veterans, or the DAV.
So far this year the DAV Transportation Program has helped nearly 5,000 veterans, and volunteers have put in close to 4,000 hours driving veterans more than 65,000. But for some veterans the DAVis much more than just a way to get to VA.
Christine Walz has been a member of the DAV for more than a decade. "I have arthritis, I have fibromyalgia, I have chronic fatigue syndrome and I have MS; All because of being over there," said Walz.
Walz served in the army in the Persian Gulf area; where she was exposed to harmful chemical agents, and now her body is starting to show its affects. "It's just watching my health deteriorate little by little," said Walz.
In 2001 she joined the DAV and found friends who understood what she was going through. "When I've had really rough days I've gone to the DAV and just sat and played some cribbage or just sat and talked it all helps," said Walz.
She's made friends such as veteran H.G. Krosschell. "Went to Vietnam in 69, got shot, got out of the hospital in 1970," said Krosschell. "For me anyways there's probably no greater thing you can do for your country then serve it,"
Now Walz and Krosschell are both active members of the DAV and work to help fellow veterans. They say their transportation program is very important in the area. "It's a needed program," said Krosschell. "As long as you, you know, have a need to go to Fort Meade, and we have a seat, you have a ride."
The DAV and its transportation program is run entirely by donations; making fundraisers the one at Golden Corral even more important.
Managers at the Golden Corral say last year they served about 1,200 people on Veteran Appreciation night, and raised close to $3,000.