On March 27, 2012, a man walked into a Bennigan’s restaurant in Borger, Texas, bought a beer and wrote a note in memory of a fallen soldier, his friend LTJG Frankie Toner. It was the third anniversary of Frankie’s death in Afghanistan, and the man asked that the beer and note be left on the bar that night to honor Frankie’s sacrifice.
The bartender was so touched by this gesture, she took a picture and posted it on her Facebook page. The photo went viral and quickly caught the attention of the Bennigan’s home office.
Guests across the country were later invited to do the same for their military heroes. Thus began Bennigan’s Wall of Heroes.
The tradition continues this summer as Bennigan’s honors the millions of brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Once again, guests will be invited to recognize a military hero in their life at their neighborhood Bennigan’s at 2521 E. Center Street, in Warsaw.
The campaign will also generate donations to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding the lives of severely wounded veterans of the War on Terror.
“Everyone at Bennigan’s recognizes the sacrifices made by America’s veterans and those still in harm’s way in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Korean peninsula and all across the globe,” said Bennigan’s President and CEO Paul Mangiamele. “Our Wall of Heroes initiative developed organically through a simple, yet poignant, act by one of our guests. Our entire domestic system immediately embraced it, so we wanted to make it even bigger and better this year. We’re excited about teaming with our guests to raise a toast to thousands of heroes and supporting a great cause at the same time.”
This year, Bennigan’s is inviting guests to purchase a drink in honor of anyone that is currently serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces. They are then asked to write a message on a Wall of Heroes notecard supplied by their server, take a photo of the drink and the message, hashtag the photo with #WallofHeroes and upload it to Twitter or Instagram. Guests may also email the photo to [email protected].
For every #WallofHeroes photo uploaded, Bennigan’s will donate $1 to the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.
Guest photos will be posted to Bennigan’s Wall of Heroes gallery. In addition, stories of true American heroes will be posted online throughout the campaign. Direct, tax-deductible contributions to the Coalition can also be made through the site.
“We think the Wall of Heroes campaign is truly inspired, and we couldn’t be more grateful to Bennigan’s for its generous support of our wounded veterans,” said David Walker, president and CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes. “Too many men and women return from Iraq and Afghanistan every day broken in mind, body and/or spirit, yet so little support is provided to them. The Coalition is making a direct impact on thousands of these patriots, and Bennigan’s support will enable us to serve even more.”
“We’re proud that Bennigan’s is home to the Wall of Heroes program, and we hope everyone in the Warsaw/Kosciusko County area will come in and write a message to their personal hero,” said Bruce Shaffner, co-owner of the Warsaw franchise. “We also invite local veterans and active service members to come in so we can share our personal gratitude while serving up some of our famous Irish hospitality.”
In addition, Bennigan’s is proud to offer a 10 percent discount to all U.S. veterans and active duty service members at participating locations through Dec. 31, 2013. Military ID required. Discount not valid on alcohol.
ABOUT THE COALITION
The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Leesburg, Va., has provided an invaluable lifeline to thousands of America’s wounded veterans since its establishment in 2004.
The Coalition is distinguished from other veteran-focused organizations by its direct financial and in-kind assistance to America’s wounded heroes. Its Emergency Financial Aid program has stopped foreclosure proceedings on veterans’ homes and kept their vehicles from being repossessed. The organization regularly provides gift checks to cover meals, medical and utility bills, clothing, car repairs and even baby diapers.
For more information, and to learn how you can support its mission, visit SaluteHeroes.org.