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Mount Airy IHOP giving back to Peace Cross restoration project, community veterans, April 17-18

For two days in April, customers who frequent the IHOP in the Twin Arch Plaza in Mount Airy will have 20% of their dining bill dedicated to the restoration fund for the Bladensburg Peace Cross.

A coupon is needed to receive the discount from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on April 17 and 18 during this community event designed to honor Maryland’s fallen veterans.

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The fundraiser was arranged by Josh Marks, independent veteran advocate and LAM member of Detachment 770 and American Legion Francis Scott Key Squadron 11. Marks was dining in at the IHOP when he struck up a conversation with general manager Desmond Chapman about the fundraiser.

Chapman offered to hold it at the IHOP because he was intrigued by the cause Marks presented to him.

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“He seemed like a great guy with a great cause,” Chapman said. “We’re going to try it out and see how it works, especially for those two days. We’ve never done that before so this is kind of new for us as well. We normally do these things for one day from 4 to 9 p.m. but we will do two days from 7 to 7 and see how that works out for us.”

The 40-foot tall Peace Cross was erected in 1925 by Goldstar Mothers and was dedicated to 49 fallen veterans from Prince George’s County who died during World War 1. The base of the cross displays the words “Valor,” Endurance,” “Courage,” and “Devotion” and includes a bronze tablet listing the names of the 49 men who died overseas.

It is located at a three-way junction of Bladensburg Road, Baltimore Avenue, and Annapolis Road in Bladensburg.

Most recently, a civic group tried to have the cross demolished on religious grounds and the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court where the group was defeated and the cross was allowed to remain standing, according to the release. The structure is in need of repair and veterans service organizations, veteran advocates and businesses have been soliciting donations to restore the monument.

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“Josh is giving us a great opportunity to give back to the community, so that’s what we’re really in it for,” Chapman said. “It kind of benefits both of us because we get to hopefully give these guests great service so they keep coming back.”

Chapman said Mount Airy mayor Pat Rockinberg will be in attendance for the fundraiser that also touches on a personal note for Chapman, who comes from a military family.

“I think its a great thing, especially in this area,” Chapman said. “To me, Mount Airy seems like a good retirement community with a lot of military veterans to I felt that this is the best place to do it with our clientele.”

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