RENO, NV -- They've fought in wars to protect our freedoms, and now it's our turn to give thanks. Locals are doing it through their stomachs; they're dining out and veterans are cashing in for a good cause.
It's called Tip A Vet--you go to a restaurant, have a nice meal and then save those extra few dollars for tip on the veterans. It's the third year for the fundraiser and this year they're hoping to raise $30,000 for veteran programs in need.
"They fought in a war to help our country," 9-year-old Kade Lezier said.
"It's important for us to continue to support them because without them, we wouldn't be where we are," Kevin Roukey, member of the Reno Elk Lodge, said.
"Not only should we honor and serve our veterans today, but I think we should do that the other 364 days in the year," Mickey Mahoney of Sparks said. Which is exactly what Kim Young had in mind when he created Tip A Vet. For three years, the Marine has collaborated with local businesses to collect money for veterans in need.
"We do a lot of different things. A veteran may need to get their rent paid because they're struggling or may need ride to the hospital, so we provide all that," he said.
Every dime goes toward the Veterans Guest House, Operation Feedback and Elk Veteran Program. Last year, Young raised more than $26,000.
"Without the support of the community and individuals, the veterans wouldn't get the support that they need," Mahoney said.
"Why wouldn't anybody decide to help these guys? They helped us years ago and now we got these young guys who really need our help," Charlie Giest of Reno said.
17 locations in northern Nevada have participated this year, including Famous Dave's.
"Everybody is affected with somebody in the military," Sabina Engelken, Famous Dave's General manager, said. "It's a pretty positive move to give towards the community especially to the vets."
Young says IHOPs across the country have agreed to participate in the Tip A Vet fundraiser next year.