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Veterans Advantage was born in 2001 of the experience and vision of its founder and CEO, Scott Higgins.
Scott was in Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) from 1963-67, and served as a U.S. Army Lieutenant, assigned to II Field Force in Vietnam from 1968-69. This experience instilled in him an abiding commitment to Veterans. He was happy to serve again, when he was asked by New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch in 1982 to volunteer to co-chair, along with Donald Trump, the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission.
The commission forged a community of interest among Vietnam Veterans, Veterans organizations, major corporate sponsors, and the citizens of New York—and the nation. The work of the commission struck an emotional chord, acknowledging the service and sacrifice of Vietnam Veterans without passing judgment on the policies or conduct of the war in which they fought.
To meet its mandate, the commission raised $5 million in less than four years. Following an international competition, it built a glass brick-and-granite memorial in lower Manhattan onto which are etched excerpts of letters and poems written by men and women during their time in Southeast Asia. It established a "living memorial," and a jobs program for Vietnam vets. And on May 7, 1985, it held a "Welcome Home" parade across the Brooklyn Bridge and down lower Broadway—New York’s "Canyon of Heroes"—in which 25,000 Veterans paraded to the cheering of a million New Yorkers who paved the route with tons of "ticker tape."
The highly praised book, Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam, was born of the design of the memorial. The film based on the book was honored with a Peabody and a pair of Emmy Awards.
It was Scott’s experiences, both during his military service and his seven-year tenure with the commission, that led him to conceive of and form Veterans Advantage. Along with Lin Higgins, others formerly involved with the commission have also continued their work on behalf of Veterans with Veterans Advantage. Former Commission members Bernard Edelman, who edited Dear America, is director of content development for Veterans Advantage, and Ed Vick, the former Chairman and CEO of Y&R Advertising, and author and screenwriter Bill Broyles, both serve on the Company’s Board of Advisors.
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