(COLORADO SPRINGS) — One group of veterans gets together every week in Colorado Springs and welcomes all vets in the community to join them.
Once a week for last 13 years, a group of local veteran gets together at Black-Eyed Pea.
“It means the world to a lot of these guys that this is one of the few opportunities they have to get out and and meet other veterans,” said Msg. Roger Fortin (Ret.)
Fortin started this tradition simply to get fellow veterans together, supporting one another through stories and shared experiences.
“You don’t have to be in combat. You didn’t have to go overseas. If you put on the uniform, you served your country. You’re welcome to be part of us,” said Fortin.
Former Msg. Nick Kneebone is proud to hold his rank as one of the oldest in the group.
“And I always like to ask them, ‘how old are you?’ Because I have very little to be proud of. I’m proud to be a hundred. So I say what’s your age? Oh, I’m 81. Well, I got you beat. I’m 100,” said Kneebone.
“60 years ago, I was at Pearl Harbor. Hmm. I remember that well. Just missed the bombing. We were heading for the Philippines to reinforce. The Japanese were giving them a lot of trouble there,” said Kneebone.
The unofficial group welcomes all branches, ranks and eras to their weekly lunch.
“A lot of these veterans will not discuss their military service with anyone other than another veteran. And because we have so much common core of experience, they’re willing to share things with us that even their families don’t know,” said Fortin.
The Black-Eyed Pea opens early every Wednesday for this group of veterans. They meet at 10:30 at the restaurant located at 887 North Academy Boulevard and welcome anyone who has served.