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Orcutt restaurant giving free meals to vets for Veteran’s Day

The Far Western Tavern in Orcutt is honoring Veterans this Veteran’s Day. They’re offering a free meal to vets who dine with a guest at both lunch and dinner today.

They also did this last year and say it was a huge success. Veterans came adorned in hats, pins and shared camaraderie and stories. The restaurant says they want to honor those who gave so much.

Army veteran Maurice Smith proudly fought in World War 2.

“1941.. I decided to join instead of being drafted,” Army veteran Maurice Smith said.

Smith was deployed overseas.

“Went into Normandy on the gliders and landed in Normandy on D-Day.. and was captured the same day,” Smith said.

Smith was a Prisoner of War for 11 months. Him and the other prisoners he was with were eventually deserted by the Germans.

“Started back towards American lines, finally wound up with a unit that took us in and transfered us back to the states,” Smith said.

Smith says he appreciates the people and businesses that are showing him their gratitude.

During lunch they estimate they served about 150 meals – and there were generations of veterans here including those who served in Vietnam.

“Giving free meals to the veterans is appreciation for the service that we did in those days, really gives you a good feeling, really feels like you did something worthwhile,” Vietnam veteran Clarence Rusconi said.

Vietnam veteran Clarence Rusconi was deployed to Saigon as a computer specialist.

“In case they were bombed or couldn’t receive messages, we’d fly them out on a helicopter and deliver the messages to them that we printed out on our computer,” Rusconi said.

“They’ve given up so much for us and we appreciate them and so it’s the very least we can do,” Far Western Tavern Manager Shelley McKinney said.

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