VAIL — Your mama said it’s OK to talk with your mouth full, but only if you are thanking veterans for their service and doing it during Feast! Vail’s Memorial Day Brunch on Monday.
Later Monday, local veterans and first responders hosted their annual Memorial Day observance at Vail’s Freedom Park.
“Freedoms and rights exist so that we might enjoy them,” said Lt. Col. Bernie Kreuger, recently retired from the U.S. Marine Corps. “Take some time to remember and thank those who served and especially those who gave their lives for those rights and their families.”
Highline Entertainment and the Vail Veterans Program partnered for the Memorial Day Brunch, along with Monday’s Vail Valor races.
“Memorial Day and everything it stands for is important to us,” said Highline’s Katie Tille.
VETERANS AND CHEFS UNITE
For the Memorial Day Brunch in Vail Village, active duty and veterans of the armed forces were paired with local chefs.
Kade Hinkhouse and Latseen Benson, for example, worked with the Sonnenalp crew for Monday’s event. Hinkhouse is a Marine to his very marrow. In Afghanistan he lost his right leg above the knee and suffered traumatic brain injury. About half his skull had to be removed.
He looks great and he’s doing fine, swapping quips and making jokes and sandwiches with Benson and the rest of the Sonnenalp crew. Monday was his sixth trip to Vail.
“The Vail Veterans Program has been a big part of my recovery,” Hinkhouse said. “We’re proud to partner with them for this event.”
Sgt. 1st Class Francis Orcutt worked in food service before he joined the military at age 28. Prior to the Army he worked at the famed Griswold Inn in Essex, Connecticut.
Orcutt and Spc. Brandon Cunningham came up from Fort Carson. Orcutt was working Monday with Kelly Liken. They came up with things like bacon encrusted pecan pancakes.
Cunningham was paired with La Tour’s Paul Ferzacca turning out French toast and creamed eggs and lobster on toast.
The folks at Fort Carson eat well, but not this well.
“We volunteered to be up here. It’s a great event,” Orcutt said.
‘THIS IS THE LEAST WE CAN DO’
Ferzacca’s father fought in World War II, so he feels the connection.
“We’re proud of the people who volunteer to serve, and something like this is the least we can do to help support our people willing to fight for our freedom,” Ferzacca said.
It’s good for the Vail Veterans Program, and for La Tour and the other restaurants.
“Any time we can put our food in people’s mouths, that the best advertising we can do,” Ferzacca said.
La Tour topped a field of 20 restaurants to win Friday’s Feast! Vail Best Bite award. The winner was a Yukon gold potato gnocchi with fresh morrells, spring peas and a lemon brown sauce.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.