Veteran surprises Wisconsin's National Guard with cookout

National Guard troops stop to fill up on brats on way to Camp Grayling, Michigan on Saturday, July 7, 2018. (WLUK/Jessie Basinski)

PESHTIGO (WLUK) -- On their way to training camp in Grayling, Michigan, the Army National Guard troops from Wisconsin are making stops along the way to refuel.

“We got a big enough parking lot and they stopped and asked us and we said you can use what you need,” said Eugene Frank, the owner of Express Eagle and a Vietnam Veteran.

Throughout the day about a hundred military vehicles pulled in to the Eagle Express Truck Stop in Peshtigo.

If you'll notice the name is Eagle Express and I was with the first cav. and my best friend who got killed in Vietnam was with the First Screaming Eagles, so that's how we came up with the name,” said Frank.

“We just expected to run into the truck stop, grab some stuff and be back on the road,” said Matt Jacobs.

Jacobs is with the 105th Cavalry Regiment.

“It’s still nice to see veterans come out and support younger veterans in the community who are still doing the work for the US and the state of Wisconsin,” said Jacobs.

“I had a tough time over there and I just want to give back,” said Frank.

Fifteen hundred brats will be served to members of the Army National Guard in just 3 days

Frank says it's what keeps him going. As he served them their meals, he made sure to thank them for their service.

“The troops really do appreciate it not just for the free food. Just to know that people pay attention they care and they're willing to give up a Saturday to come here and do this thing,” said Lt. Col. Raymond Ripberger.

But not all were surprised-

Command Sgt. John Dietzler is from the area.

“It doesn’t surprise me. The northeast area is always big supporters of the military. Anytime we’re going anywhere be it deployment or training,” Dietzler.

As troops from around Wisconsin make their way to Grayling, Frank wants them to know, from one vet to another, they’re appreciated.

“It's so important,” said Frank.

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