By VAN HOLLAND
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Chris Wooten is giving back to all military personnel Monday on Veteran's Day.
Wooten, who is the owner of Ribeye's Steakhouse in Tarboro, is feeding all military personnel free on Veterans Day from his simply grilled menu to show his appreciation to all military members.
He will also be accepting donations beginning today and continuing through Monday and is going to match each donation up to a total of $1,000. The money donated during the four days will be given to the Edgecombe County Veteran's Museum.
Wooten came up with the idea and thought what better way to remember the people who have fallen that have given us our freedom to live in America and honor all who have served our country. So he decided he could serve the ones who served our country.
"We want to teach about remembering the people who have fallen for our country, honor the ones who served and we want to serve the people who have served for our country," Wooten said. "The best way we can serve them is with our product, which is giving a meal to all active duty members and veterans."
Wooten got the idea from the benefit "Wreaths across America", which he is doing at his other local business, Jersey Mike's.
Wooten thought about how to keep the event local and be able to help military personnel. When he came up with the idea he set it forth in motion and decided to do the appreciation meal for the military members.
"I didn't want the money to go to a national benefit, I wanted to keep a local touch on it," Wooten said. "I spoke to the franchisor at Ribeye's and they allowed me to do this. They're waving all franchise fees this weekend so it can help us raise the money and give away the food."
Wooten wants to make the event an annual tradition, because Jersey Mike's has "A Day of Giving" each year and he wants to follow that tradition with Ribeye's honoring the military personnel.
Wooten said the military personnel will be able to eat free from the following choices: chicken breast, pork chop, shrimp, tuna, salmon and sirloin tips with choice of vegetables, toast and drink.
Ribeye's will be open from 11:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday during the event.
Wooten is just adding this event to the others he contributes to and helps with during the year, which includes feeding the Tarboro football team before each game, helping the Pilot Club and Edgecombe County Cancer Foundation.
"We get involved in the community and wanted to step it up and what better way to do it then start here"" Wooten said. "We want to promote the veteran's museum and make sure that's where the money is going. It's for a great cause."
Wooten knows that there is a big veterans group in Tarboro and wanted to show his appreciation for what they do, such as the monthly flag raising.
"We have a good group of veterans who have served for our country," Wooten said. "I thought Monday would also be a great day to give back to them for what they do in our community."
Wooten said he has numerous people who have served in the military in his family and appreciates what each military member does for our country.
The Edgecombe County Veteran's Museum has hundredss of military pictures, memorabilia from each war, uniforms from each military group and a World War II Jeep.