ARNOLD, MO. - More than 100 veterans were at Meineke in Arnold on Friday for a free oil change. This is the fifth year the auto repair shop has closed to other customers in order to serve only veterans. There were some special additions this year to make the day even more special.
Charlie Shelton, who owns the shop, is a veteran himself. Yet he's spending the day taking care of other veterans.
"It's a very emotional thing," Shelton said. "A lot of veterans will come up and say how they appreciate what we're doing. Are you kidding me? Look what they've done. We appreciate our veterans and today is about honoring them."
This year, students from Ranken Technical College and Jefferson College are doing the mechanical work.
"They gave more than money is even worth so why not pay them back," student Chris Schmidt said.
Some of the students are veterans, too. While they work, the others are enjoying a free breakfast.
"We had three Navy guys who ... asked if they could come over, bring the food, pancakes, eggs, sausage," Shelton said. "We very much appreciate that."
The veterans were even offered a free massage on site.
"It's great," U.S. Army veteran Steve Lovell said. "I never expected this. All I expected was some free donuts and coffee but it's breakfast, the oil change, the massage. And the person giving the massage, she's a veteran, too."
It's an auto repair shop, but to the veterans, it's a special place for fellowship on this important day.
"It feels like our country is really appreciating the veterans so much," U.S. Army veteran Agustin Lazo said. "It's like a family."
The Meineke in Arnold was booked for the free oil change event this year, but the owners plan to offer them again next year.
Veterans are encouraged to make an appointment ahead of time.