73~2325~1000101~ Two start breakfast to help fellow vets - News - MailTribune.com - Medford, OR
  • Two start breakfast to help fellow vets

    First meeting is 8:15 Wednesday morning at Punky's Diner
  • World War II veteran Delbert Littrell and Vietnam War veteran Gordon Wood may be a generation apart, but their mission is the same: helping other veterans.
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  • World War II veteran Delbert Littrell and Vietnam War veteran Gordon Wood may be a generation apart, but their mission is the same: helping other veterans.
    Beginning Wednesday morning at 08:15 — that's 8:15 a.m. civilian time — the two former Marines from the Medford area want to hold a weekly breakfast for veterans at Punky's Diner and Pies in Medford.
    "This would be for all veterans, from World War II forward," Wood said, adding that participants need not be combat veterans. "What we want to do is help any veteran who has any issues, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or whatever. Camaraderie is a fantastic thing when you have any issues."
    Littrell, 88, who used to live in Coos Bay, said he and other veterans in that coastal community started a veterans' breakfast a few years ago after a young man from that area was killed in Afghanistan.
    The goal was to simply get veterans together to share a meal and talk, said Littrell, a veteran of the island-hopping campaign in the South Pacific, including the battles for Iwo Jima and Saipan.
    "That breakfast in Coos Bay has been going on three or four years now," he said. "It helped a lot of the guys, just getting together and talking and relaxing."
    It matters not whether the veteran is young or old, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy, added Wood, 66.
    "We want people to enjoy themselves — we want to get people laughing," he said.
    A member of the Rogue Valley chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Wood noted that the Purple Heart group meets regularly.
    "It helps to be with others who understand what you've been through," said Wood, who was wounded in Vietnam.
    "Anybody out there who represents a company or an organization, if they want to come and buy a veteran breakfast, we welcome them, too," he said.
    The restaurant is at 953 Medford Center, Medford.
    Restaurant owners Jim and Connie Ronda, who have three sons who are veterans, are looking forward to serving a group of veterans. The restaurant, which opened five weeks ago, can seat up to 88 people, he said.
    "We're tickled with this," Jim Ronda said. "We're going to have a special veterans' breakfast for them this week: two eggs, two slices of bacon and two pancakes."
    The special will be changed periodically, he added.
    Wood, who said the veterans plan to call it the "GI breakfast," noted it would not be held during weeks that include a holiday.
    "For instance, there wouldn't be one next week because of the Thanksgiving holiday," he said.
    Meanwhile, he asks that veterans who have photographs of the history they lived to bring them along.
    "There are a lot of those old photos out there that nobody has ever seen," he said, noting they are great conversation starters.
    For more information, contact Wood at 541-778-0651.
    Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or email him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.
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