More than a dozen soldiers assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Benning and their families will be treated to a free Ezell's Easter Appreciation dinner Saturday at the restaurant in Phenix City.
Clark Ezell said the restaurant at 3546 U.S. 280 Bypass was looking for a way to thank injured or ill soldiers who are transitioning from the military to civilian life. About 400 soldiers are assigned to the battalion on any given day before they are treated and leave the military.
Over the last two weeks, the restaurant has promoted the dinner by asking customers to write messages on plastic eggs. Ezell said the messages read, "Thank you for all you do for our country. Happy Easter."
"We will fill them with some candy and present them to all soldiers," he said. "They will have something to do during the holiday weekend."
By Friday, customers had written messages on about 300 eggs. Ezell hopes to double that number by 5 p.m. Saturday when the eggs are presented to the wounded warriors. Before the presentation, soldiers and their families will be treated to a catfish dinner with all the trimmings of cole slaw and fries.
Lt. Col. Kyle E. Feger, commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion, said he thinks the effort is wonderful.
"We really appreciate that they are taking time all week to gather up messages of thanks," he said. "We will take those back with us from the dinner and present those Easter egg messages to the soldiers that can't be at the dinner."
Many of the injured, ill or wounded soldiers are still away from their families, especially those in the National Guard and Reserve.
"They are here at Fort Benning and their family may be in Mississippi, Tennessee or somewhere where they can't be here with their family," he said.
Feger said the military has a good partnership in the community with Columbus and Phenix City.
"This is just an example of the great outreach of the local people in the area and the local businesses are supportive," the commander said.