Bill "Doc" Pentheny, a reporter and photographer for the American Legion Press Association, has started a drive for veterans to receive discounts at local restaurants.
Retired and bored, Doc wanted to do something to help the local veterans. A veteran himself, serving in the Vietnam War as a Hospital Corpsman in the Navy, he helped wounded soldiers in combat before serving as a independent duty corpsman for the Navy for the remainder of his career. This drive to help his brothers in arms hasn't diminished in the least now that he is retired.
"I see a lot of them around town that cannot afford to go out to eat. I thought if I could see if I could set some something up, like maybe during the slow time of a restaurant they could have people come in and get a bit of a discount," Doc said. "If they like it, maybe they'll come back more often."
Bill “Doc” Pentheny stands in front of the sign his granddaughter made at Dean’s Restaurant, located in the Fairmount Plaza across from Sam’s Club.
P-J photo by Mallory Diefenbach
Currently four local restaurants have signed up for the initiative, which will offer a 10 percent discount for veterans only on food products other than alcohol all day once a week. Jamestown Bowling Company and Wing City Grille will participate every Monday and Dean's Restaurant and Hometown Grill will be every Tuesday.
"The ones who have turned down (the initiative) are all the corporate ones," Doc said. He said the restaurants who have been signing up have been the "mom-and-pop" shops.
Dean's Restaurant was the first restaurant to sign on for the initiative.
"I thought it would be one way to give back to the veterans," said Joyce Smith, owner of Dean's Restaurant. Smith's father served on the USS Arizona during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The only reason he managed to survive was due to the fact he was in the chapel during the attack.
"I feel we could do something, a little something, to help," she said. "... I think anybody should do as much as they can for the veterans, really. They have done an awful lot for all of us. We can't even begin to pay them back."
Doc's 13-year-old granddaughter, Sarah Wagner, and her friend, Destiny Vail, created the signs for the restaurants to display informing veterans they can receive a discount.
Restaurants interested in signing up with the initiative can contact Doc at 450-1645.