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Actor Leonard Nimoy, a former Army staff sergeant, died Friday at age 83 Leonard Nimoy during his Army days (Source: Twitter) (Click image to enlarge)

With great sadness, especially for my fellow Vietnam-era Vets, we report the passing of a great star of TV and the Silver Screen. Leonard Nimoy, known by millions as the Vulcan genius Mr. Spock from Star Trek, died at the age of 83. He was beloved by millions, and an Army Veteran.

For most of his life, he was able to pursue his lifelong passions, even while in uniform. He was an Army Sergeant who spent most of his time at Fort McPherson in Georgia, where he presided over shows for the Army’s Special Services branch. According to the New York Times, he also directed and starred as Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” before receiving his final discharge in November, 1955.

But it was in Star Trek – both the TV series of the 1960s during the height of the Vietnam War, and the subsequent hit movies by the same name – where Nimoy found his greatest fame as the cerebral Mr. Spock.

The show premiered in 1966 and continues to live on through syndication and re-runs. TV Guide named the role of Mr. Spock as one of the 50 Greatest TV Characters.

In later life, he was known for hosting the “In Search Of” sci-fi educational series, and for directing the Star Trek movies and Three Men and a Baby, which was the highest grossing film of 1987.

Nimoy also provided the voice for animated characters in Transformers: The Movie, in 1986, and The Pagemaster in 1994.

May you live long in our memories and thank you for your service to the country, Sergeant & Mr. Spock.

Walt Disney WorldHave you heard that Walt Disney World has once again raised its prices? That’s bad news for many, but we have great news for Veterans Advantage members looking for a great Florida getaway option, and escape from the winter – your discount is deeper than ever.

In a special limited time offer, you can order tickets at our original discounted rates. 

Our most popular Disney World sellers are:

  • 4 Day Base Plus 1 Day Free (Adult); Our Price = $316.36; Gate Price = $335.48; Savings of $19.12

  • 4 Day Base Plus 1 Day Free (Child); Our Price = $290.96; Gate Price = $314.48; Savings of $23.22

  • 3 Day Park Hopper plus 2 Days Free (Adult); Our Price = $361.24; Gate Price = $403.64; Savings of $42.40

  • 3 Day Park Hopper plus 2 Days Free (Child); Our Price = $342.49; Gate Price = $382.34; Savings of $39.85

  • 4 Day Park Hopper (Adult); Our Price = $370.90; Gate Price = $392.99; Savings of $22.09

  • 4 Day Park Hopper (Child); Our Price = $340.49; Gate Price = $371.69; Savings of $31.20  

Act now for your Veterans Advantage savings. These are the best discount amounts we have had on Disney World, and they are good through March 2, at 4pm Eastern Time.  Members should log into Members Only today for discount access.

More on our Veterans Advantage Theme Park discounts here.

Need a reminder on how to get there with a discount? Don’t forget our exclusives with large travel providers. United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Amtrak and Greyhound.

At a time when we recognize CVS's Diversity Chief, David Casey and Tuskegee Airman Roscoe Brown for African American History Month, it is fitting that we honor another man who served our nation in the air and strove to bring racial equality to the sports world.

You may have heard about the passing of North Carolina men's basketball coaching legend Dean Smith earlier this month. His "Tar Heel" teams posted an extraordinary record, winning nearly 80% of its games and two NCAA National Championships over 30+ years.

These are grand achievements for any coach at any level, but the lesser-known postscript is that Smith was an Air Force veteran who, after his service, worked hard to bring racial equality to the game.

"My father said, 'Value each human being,' "Smith wrote in "A Coach's Life" (1999), written with John Kilgo and Sally Jenkins. "Racial justice wasn't preached around the house, but there was a fundamental understanding that you treated each person with dignity." His father, Alfred Smith, was a high school basketball coach who took a bold stand to put a black player on his own team in 1933.

Citing his view on race relations, President Obama awarded Smith the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

"He graduated more than 96 percent of his players and taught his teams to point to the teammate who passed them the ball after a basket. He pushed forward the Civil Rights movement, recruiting the first black scholarship athlete to North Carolina and helping to integrate a restaurant and a neighborhood in Chapel Hill.

And in his final years, Coach Smith showed us how to fight an illness with courage and dignity. For all of that, I couldn't have been prouder to honor Coach Smith with The Medal of Freedom in 2013," President Obama said.

Veterans Advantage wishes you a Happy Presidents' Day. We also wanted to introduce you to the latest in a video series from our Social Media team that honors the spirit of service from Presidents Washington and Lincoln.

This short video is a very moving tribute to the two Commanders in Chief of our military that we honor this Presidents' Day holiday. It also is a tribute to all our military heroes who serve to protect our liberty and freedoms. It recognizes our support of these heroes, their mission, and those who continue to serve our country.

A commitment to Presidential History is near and dear to us at Veterans Advantage. Most recently, our Chief Operating Officer Lin Higgins and I gifted to the Borough of Gettysburg the town’s first statue of Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. For the many who visit Gettysburg to better understand the Civil War, they will reflect on Lincoln's immortal words: “It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced.”

For more on our Social Media & our Presidents' Day event coverage: Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube.

As recently proclaimed by President Obama, our nation recognizes this month of February as African-American History Month. Hence, this is an appropriate time for us to recognize the special contributions and achievements of African Americans who have served our country.

At Veterans Advantage, we regularly nominate as "TopVets" individuals who have served in our military and later risen to the top ranks of their respective of fields of endeavors or professions. We are proud to designate as this month's TopVet, David Casey, a Marine and Chief Diversity Officer at CVS Health.

CVS Health is the Rhode Island-based, giant Fortune 500 Company and parent company of CVS/pharmacy, the nationwide drug store chain. CVS/pharmacy is a proud supporter of Veterans Advantage and offers exclusive 20% CVS discounts with in-store coupons and a private CVS.com store for our members preloaded with 20% off and free shipping. David Casey has taken a leadership role as well as been an integral team player at CVS executing on this valuable benefit for veterans and their families enrolled in Veterans Advantage.

David always goes the extra yard when it comes to his fellow Vets. In addition to his leadership role in our CVS partnership, he is the leader of CVS Valor, a national employee resource group for CVS colleagues who are either Military Veterans themselves or who are Veteran supporters.

David is also the lead HR executive who has promoted its Veteran hiring initiative at CVS. CVS has committed to hiring veterans and military spouses, including National Guard, for 25 percent of its new hires, which equates to roughly 1,000 jobs over the next four years. Under his leadership, CVS Health has been recognized by Diversity Inc. as one of the Top 10 Companies for Veterans. It also has received the Pro Patria Award from the Rhode Island Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) for its demonstrated support of the National Guard.

Congratulations David on your TopVet Award! We know you will keep up the outstanding work.

On a more somber note, but in the same spirit of recognizing our African American Veterans during this month, we want to share some news that broke earlier this week. Our Twitter news feed covered the passing of Charlie Sifford, one of golf's greatest. Sifford, who served in World War II, broke the PGA's color barrier as the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour. Sifford's New York Times obituary reprinted Lee Trevino's sentiments from The Orlando Sentinel in 2004, "When you look at it, and what he accomplished, and how he stayed in there (in golf), you have to put him in the Jackie Robinson category." Apparently, Tiger Woods has acknowledged that Sifford paved the way for his career. In 2014, Sifford was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. We salute Sifford's service to our country and his ground-breaking role for careers in professional golf for those like Tiger Woods, who have come after him.

Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots have been a model of consistency and success for 15 years, culminating in their latest Super Bowl victory on Sunday. And the same goes for their coach over those years, Bill Belichick, who is the son of a Navy Veteran.

The late Steve Belichik, who served in the Navy at Normandy and Okinawa, was a fixture at the Navy football program as an assistant coach and advance scout, and a huge influence on his son. Young Bill grew up near the Naval Academy, graduating from Annapolis High School before going on to a life of football accomplishments. He was known to have memorized Navy’s football plays by the age of 6.

“I want to thank the people of the Naval Academy for teaching me the meaning of the word teamwork,” Belichick said soon after winning his second Super Bowl in 2004. “I try to impart that to the players I’ve coached and I think our players this year displayed to the entire nation, maybe the entire world, how guys collectively committed to a goal can work unselfishly for the team.”

On Sunday, the Patriots demonstrated the meaning of teamwork again with a thrilling come from behind 28-24 victory in Super Bowl XLIX, Belichick’s fourth in 15 seasons as a head coach.

At the time we profiled Belichick, his Pats just completed a legendary 16-0 perfect regular season, only to lose its only game of the year, Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. With this past Sunday’s victory, Belichick has finally reclaimed the top of the NFL once again – through teamwork.

Your Veterans Advantage benefits package just got bigger!

As of Jan.15, your Amtrak 15% discount now includes same day travel and is extended to family members with a VetRewards Card. With ski season underway, you can get away for a long weekend with your family and save on everyone's travel. Business travelers also have a reason to pick up and grab a train for that next meeting, without the need to reserve 3 days in advance to get the discount, as was previously the case.

If you prefer to stay home and not brave the cold, we have big news: Get Verizon FiOS for your home, Internet, TV and phone needs with savings of up to $120 a year! The news today helps us round out a comprehensive package of services with the telecommunications giant. For nearly three-and-a-half years, VetRewards Card holders like you have been getting 15% OFF wireless plans and 25% OFF accessories. With today's announcement, we now have you covered at home - with big savings.

We are pleased to announce that our 14-year exclusive partnership with Amtrak has expanded for Veterans Advantage. Discounts are now available on same-day travel – no more advance purchase requirement – and family members with a VetRewards Card can now enjoy these benefits.

As both Veterans Advantage and Amtrak noted in our joint press release, we have been working together as exclusive partners since 2001, and this expansion of benefits represents a great way to recognize those who served and continue to serve our country and their family members.

The Veterans Advantage 15% Amtrak discount is available every day of the year with no blackout periods. All our VetRewards Card holders can book online at www.amtrak.com, call Amtrak at 1-877-872-7245, or take their card to the station the next time they travel.

In addition to our longtime discount partnership, Amtrak also participates in our free jobs board for Vets, the Veterans Advantage Jobs & Career Network. This is also a free service for military friendly employers who want to hire vets, and another unique opportunity for our partners to work with Veterans Advantage. Military-friendly employers can post all their jobs here at no charge.

It is never too late to give yourself a fresh start. While your 2015 calendar is still wide open with possibilities, remember to turn your attention to resolutions for the coming year – and sticking with them.

Thanks to our everyday benefits coverage -- Veterans Advantage is your source for your annual tax planning, travel & entertainment, and car purchases – new cars & trucks from Ford and Lincoln, or pre-owned models of other major car companies sold by Avis and Budget.

For those of you thinking of your annual physical and financial checkups, you should access our savings at health clubs across the country, and get a custom financial analysis – complimentary to you as part of the Veterans Advantage Prepaid Benefits Plan.

Finally, for you obsessive list builders, check out this item that we just shared on our Facebook page this morning. The folks at Lonely Planet announced its Best Travel Destinations for 2015, and the list includes some surprises:

1. Queens, New York

2. Western South Dakota

3. New Orleans

4. Colorado River region

5. North Conway, New Hampshire

6. Indianapolis

7. Greenville, South Carolina

8. Oakland, California

9. Duluth, Minnesota

10. Mount Shasta region, California

Check out Veterans Advantage travel benefits to explore these travel destinations. We have exclusives with leaders in their industry such as United Airlines and JetBlue Airways, Amtrak and Greyhound. Our partners can get you discounted travel across the country -- as a thank you for your service to our country.

As 2014 draws to a close, we give thanks for our blessings - our family and loved ones, the freedoms we enjoy in our country, our work, the big things and the small. We join together in our hope for a better year ahead. We also pause to pray for those who are still serving in harm's way to protect our way of life, and cannot be with their families during this holiday season.

This week we honor Carolyn Blashek for her extraordinary outreach to our servicemen and women through Operation Gratitude, the organization she founded after 9/11. Please read her inspirational story. Operation Gratitude, under Carolyn Blashek's leadership, was a key partner in helping Veterans Advantage distribute over 460,000 complimentary VetRewards Cards to our military during the height of OEF & OIF.

Let us never forget those who did not return from service to the country and their families who have sacrificed so much. And, as we begin the New Year, we pray for the safe return of those currently in theater.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year! From all of us at Veterans Advantage, we wish you a peaceful 2015.


I am U.S. Active Duty, Retired Military,
National Guard, Reserve, U.S. Armed
Forces Veteran or former National
Guard or Reserve.
I am next-of-kin family: Spouse, father,
mother, brother, sister, son, or
daughter of a U.S. Servicemember
or Veteran (living or deceased).



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