From a distance, if you saw the line at the Loveland Golden Corral on Saturday mornings, you might think they were giving something away.
The people standing in that line have given plenty.
A group called Proud American Military Veterans - or PAMVETS, for short - meets there every Saturday for breakfast.
They started with a handful of people at a table. Now they take up half the restaurant.
Proud American Military Veterans' breakfast club
“I love these guys,” 95-year-old veteran Walt Hayward said. “We’ve got a good bunch of fellas here, we’ve all been there and done that.”
The group started years ago, when a group of World War II veterans used to meet for coffee at a McDonald's. Virgil Horton was one of those veterans. And he had an idea.
He wanted to create a safe space for veterans to get together and talk about their lives and their adjustment.
“Virgil came over and said, 'Hey, you don't need to sit over there. You belong over here with us,'” remembers Vietnam-era veteran Charlie Nash.
And from that point, Nash was hooked. Soon after, when Horton needed a break, Nash took over as leader.
Horton passed away earlier this year.
“He’d love it,” Nash said, as he looked over the crowd at the restaurant, 117 on the morning Next visited in July.
Over the years, PAMVETS estimates 600 different veterans have had breakfast with this group.
And they hope to keep the tradition going. The weekly ritual is open to all veterans. They meet at the Loveland Golden Corral, off Highway 34, every Saturday when the doors open at 7:30 a.m.