Downey restaurant founded by military vets creates a home for other service members

A couple of Iraq War veterans have opened a restaurant in Downey that honors the sacrifices of former service members.
DOWNEY, Calif. (KABC) -- A couple of entrepreneurial Iraq War veterans in Southern California are doing their part to honor and look after fellow former service members.

They're doing that with their own restaurant in Downey.

Marine veteran Nick Velez helped open Bastards Canteen shortly after completing military service.

"Bastards is what your modern-day VFW, American Legion would be," said Velez. "The name is a name of pride. We wear 'Bastards' in battle and we also wear it here."

The restaurant is named on behalf of U.S. Marine Corps, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, also known as "Magnificent Bastards."

"We're all infantry riflemen with the Magnificent Bastards. I come from a Mexican American background. My parents come from Mexico. They came here at a very young age. And, I joined the Marine Corps when I was 18 to do my part and to give back to this country that we really are grateful for," said Velez. "Being a Hispanic and joining the most elite military branch, you feel some type of pride that can't be taken away from you."

Heroic actions are remembered through photos, medals and names at the restaurant.

"Gold Star families can come and really hang the remembrance of their lost ones and also allow us to share their memory," said co-owner Manny Maeda.

"We like to introduce the vets to the community, to show them that we don't only like to take care of our country offshore and out in foreign countries, but we like to do it here," said Velez.
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