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Veterans group prioritizes connection and discussion

group of people eating in restaurant

Veterans and supporters meet at Benedict’s Restaurant for their monthly breakfast.

In a quiet corner of Benedict’s Restaurant, a group of veterans gathers regularly to share their stories and connect each month.  Known as the “Veterans Breakfast Group,” this close-knit assembly of servicemen and women has become a vital network across several generations.

“We’re not a religious group, though a lot of us know each other from church, too,” John Martin of the HOA1 neighborhood said, while serving as the group’s new facilitator.  “We’re not a political group.”

Each month, members of the group meet to engage in discussions about their military service, life after deployment, and the challenges they face as veterans.  The atmosphere is one of mutual understanding and respect, as they create a space for each other to open up about their duty.

“They’ve all shared the same experiences,” Pat Lamoe said, the wife of a veteran who formerly attended the group.  “Even the wives have never heard these stories they share here.”

The group was founded in the 1950s by Army veteran Bill Brunger, who fought at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.  Brunger saw the need for a place where veterans could come together to connect without much overhead or fuss.  What started as a small gathering grew into a community of veterans from various branches and campaigns. Brunger continued the mission of serving veterans until his passing.

Membership in the informal group is dwindling though, as previous members pass on and younger veterans are not yet joining.  When asked why younger veterans are not joining the group, or others like it, Navy veteran Dave Perry responded, “The young vets have to work through a lot of the issues first.  They don’t want to talk about it yet.”

The discussions held during these meetings are relatively unstructured.  Martin agreed to facilitate the monthly conversations moving forward, after his predecessor’s health concerns prevented him from continuing in the role.

Their commitment to supporting each other and their fellow veterans has not gone unnoticed.  “It is so important that we support these veterans,” Charlynne Boddie, a minister who has worked with active military and veterans’ groups said while attending the breakfast.  In an era where community and connection are more important than ever, groups like this show how veterans can come together to support one another and make a positive impact in our community.

If you are a veteran or know someone who could benefit from the camaraderie and support of the informal Veterans Breakfast Group, you can find them at Benedict’s Restaurant, 8181 E. Arapahoe Road in Greenwood Village on the first Wednesday of every month at 9 a.m.  Or, contact John Martin at 303-588-9806.

two men talking while at a restaurant

Article and photos by Bear Rothe



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