Douglas County veterans honor area businessmen

Photographer, restaurant and automotive shop owners recognized for support

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The Douglas County Veteran's Monument Foundation honored three area businessmen June 2 with awards for their contributions to the group.

Jeff Drabing, co-owner of Rockyard American Grill & Brewing Company in Castle Rock, accepted the award for his business.

“You're always there for us, so we wanted to make sure that we recognize you,” foundation chairman Todd DeVoe said, adding that Rockyard donates beer to several of the foundation's events.

Also at the meeting, held in the conference room of the Douglas County Veteran's Affairs office in Castle Rock, the first-ever Ambassador Award was given to John Manka of 1 Stop Auto in Castle Rock.

“John has been involved with us since the beginning,” DeVoe said, pointing out that the Ambassador Award was established because of Manka. “John is a pillar of the community and we would certainly not be where we're at today without John. Everywhere he goes, he brings a network together. He brings opportunity together. And he does it without batting an eye.”

When accepting his plaque, Manka said what he does is not hard work, because the men and women who have served through the United States Armed Forces have already done the hard work.

“I did not serve,” Manka told the group. “And I do appreciate the fact that you all served and continue to support those who have served.”

Castle Rock photographer Nick Lucey was also given with the Ambassador Award for his constant support of the foundation.

“We wanted to thank Nick because his exquisite pictures (of the monument) that we're allowed to use really add to what we have,” DeVoe said. “It adds to our credibility and our professionalism.”

Lucey, a former Marine, said he can't help but photograph the monument in downtown Castle Rock when he walks past it.

“I love the monument,” he said. “I've been gravitated toward it since I got here.”

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