MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - For more than a decade, the Veterans Café and Grille in Myrtle Beach has been serving those who served our country.
However, due to the coronavirus, their doors have been forced shut for nearly two months, putting ownership in a financial bind.
Army veteran Lou Mascherino has been the owner of the Veteran’s Cafe and Grill since 2009. Since that time, it’s become a staple in the local veteran community.
Typically, veterans from all across the county stop in for a bite to eat and swap old war stories, the walls lined with hundreds of pieces of military service memorabilia.
Recently, the Veterans Café has sat quiet, forced to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mascherino said they attempted curbside pick-up temporarily, but it just didn't work out. Now, he's struggling to keep up with the bills. But the community they've been giving back to for more than a decade is now giving back to them, as dozens came out to pledge donations to help them get through this difficult time.
“It's unreal, it's unbelievable. People have been coming since 8:30 this morning (Friday). They just keep coming by. I did not realize this many people in the community felt this way about us,” Mascherion said. “We’re used to doing it for them and now they're out here doing it for us it makes us feel really good.”
Veterans, Veteran Support Groups and Program, along with the kindness of strangers lined the street outside the Veteran’s Café and Grill for several hours dropping of donation.
Mascherino said the out pouring of was unbelievable as people came by from 8:30 AM until 2:00 PM.
He did not realize this may people would be willing to lend a helping hand during this uncertain time.
“We’re probably one of the only places in the country that does this, the inside is loaded with memorabilia from all different branches of the service. We go from WWI up unto the present day and it’s just a place some just come and look and learn history some call us the mini military museum here, so that’s what it’s all about I guess,” said Mascherion.
According to the owner, more than $22,000 in donations has been raised.
With these donations, the Veterans Café and Grill hope to keep things going as long as they can, as they wait for the restrictions on in-house dining to be lifted.
For those who would like to mail in donations, they can be sent to 945 Pinner Place, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29577.