Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley hold veterans-only benefit at new St. Louis restaurant

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CHESTERFIELD, MO (KTVI) - There were warm embraces and hugs, and a couple of KISS members at the ribbon cutting for the new Rock and Brews restaurant.

“Today is only for vets,” says Gene Simmons, KISS co-founder. “This packed house is made up of proud people who served in the military. Thank God they returned. You’ll notice some wheelchairs; not everyone escaped unscathed. Not only were they hurt physically, but in other ways. We try to do our part.”

“When you think about it, without the veterans we don’t have a country,” says Paul Stanley, KISS co-founder. “It always comes down to the military and the veterans that make this country free.”

On Wednesday, 100-area veterans ate a free lunch at the 20th Rock and Brews to open in the country.

Donations and big checks were presented to Fisher House, Honor Flight, and Cars4Heroes, a nonprofit that gives cars to service men and women in need.

“It’s amazing it really is just to see what they do for military and not even military, just everybody all together,” says Ciera Ross, Staff Sgt. U.S. Air Force.

Staff Sergeant Ross received the surprise of a new ride and after lunch, KISS met their fandom in the parking lot.

“Just the ability to support your family without a car is very difficult,” says Simmons. “A car can change overnight. We’re not talking about a Rolls Royce, just the ability to get in there and control your destiny and future and be able to support your family.”

Wednesday evening a private event not open to the public will raise more funds for veterans and chances are they’ll rock and roll all night.