Bastards raising money for military veterans

DOWNEY - Bastards barbecue restaurant in Downtown Downey is celebrating Memorial Day on Monday by hosting an all-day fundraiser to benefit the Purple Heart Foundation, which supports combat wounded and disabled veterans and their families. From 12-8 p.m., the restaurant will have two beer gardens, live music, vendor samples, live performances, community service opportunities, a deep pit barbecue and more.

Admission to the event is free. All ages are invited. Memorial Day also marks Bastards' one-year anniversary.

"In the Marines, we have a saying, that we all gave some, some gave all, but I'm learning that some of us want to continue to give," said Bastards owner Nick Velez. "We've learned a lot since our grand opening. We've learned a lot about Downey and this community.

"It's incredible the amount of veterans that still live here. Even our local newspaper is called 'The Downey Patriot.'"

Bastards has already hosted fundraisers for organizations such as Socks for Heroes and MLS Major League Softball, but Velez said he sees growing opportunities to give back locally. Velez partnered with the non-profit Stay Gallery to promote Monday's event and there are plans for future collaborations.

"Our partnership with Stay Gallery has really opened our eyes to giving back to our community," Velez said. "We feel as if Downtown Downey is pulsing. Our collaboration with local Downtown Downey businesses has been great, we are all becoming good friends."

Warren High School's marching band will open Monday's fundraiser. Also scheduled to perform are bands Steal Rod, the Black Pages, River Train Co. and Officially On Vacation.

"With all the publicity and criticism coming our way, we could only do everything possible in order to create a welcoming atmosphere for our loyal supporters, to really show them we are so much more than just a name," Velez said. "This is about something bigger, about our troops and our country and what really matters when you walk in is that you understand our promise."

********** Published: May 23, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 06