Exclusive Military Discounts, Benefits & Rewards for
Active Duty Military, Veterans and Their Families
Exclusive Military Discounts, Benefits & Rewards for Active Duty Military, Veterans and Their Families

Veterans Advantage Blog


In our last newsletter, we saluted Verizon for its longtime support of Veterans Advantage through its expanded package of benefits. Today, we announce another expanded benefit with longtime partner Amtrak - an exclusive 15% discount on Amtrak Vacations rail fares!

"See the country you served" is the familiar slogan we use to promote our partnership, and our new partnership with Amtrak Vacations is the perfect example of how that works. Your rail fare travel discount covers over 300 rail vacations to thrilling destinations – cities, landscapes and National parks – with options to depart from more than 500 Amtrak rail stations across the country. I encourage you to check it out today.

Speaking of timing, we thought you would enjoy reading this week's VetFamily profile of Ciara – both of her parents are vets! With NFL Camp coming up, Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson suits it up for the first time as a married man, after he and Ciara tied the knot earlier this month. She also won three MTV Video Music Awards, and starred in an MTV-produced movie. MTV's annual Video Music Awards is next month.


Next month we celebrate our fifth anniversary with our exclusive partnership with Verizon Wireless that delivers our members valuable discounts on all wireless and landline services. Today, a big shout out to Verizon Fios, who thank our members with between $5 and $10 monthly savings on a double- or triple-play home entertainment package. For many families where phone/internet/TV bundles are a must for the home and kids, this is a savings that goes right to your pocket every month.

And if you are not in the Verizon Fios coverage area, no problem. Verizon can also configure packages that include DIRECTV service. Check them out today.

It seems like just yesterday when we got back from the Invictus Games, honoring those who served our nation, on the world stage through intense Paralympic competition. Yet, here we go again, ready to fly our colors while Team USA takes on the World at the Summer Olympic and Paralympic games in Rio. It's one of our favorite times at Veterans Advantage - once again the spirit of athletics reflects the special bonds of military service. We hope you enjoy our Cover Story this week about several unique athletes who are also part of our U.S. Military family.


With our nation celebrating our 240th birthday this week, it is a time to reflect on those who have given so much to preserve our freedoms and show our gratitude for their service and sacrifice. Here is one remarkable story of heroism in Vietnam told by Paul “Bud” Bucha, our Advisory Board member and Medal of Honor recipient:

This week Veterans Advantage announced our - expansion of our Congressional Medal of Honor program to include spouses and surviving widows. And last month, we gifted free Veterans Advantage for the 2016 Invictus Games Team USA in Orlando, Florida.

We marked National PTSD Awareness Day on June 27, rounding out a month devoted to greater communications and compassion for those struggling with the hidden wounds of war. The VA has a great resource to learn more.

Please join us in celebration of our nation’s birthday: I invite you to share your Independence Day gestures of gratitude with fellow members on Veterans Advantage’s Facebook page.

We wish everyone a happy and safe Independence Day holiday, with special gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy in this great nation. We thank you and your family members for your service to our country, and are honored to have you join our community.


It's hard to believe that it's been nearly 30 years since the premiere of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket. At the height of Hollywood’s fascination with the Vietnam War, Full Metal Jacket is a raw reality drama that brings home "the hours of boredom, the seconds of terror" in war. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, it is considered one of Kubrick's finest films.

This week’s CelebVet, R. Lee Ermey, a Vietnam Vet and Marine Corps Sergeant, is best known for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the film, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Since then, Ermey has made movies which have made America laugh, cry and stand up and salute. We hope you enjoy reading his story.

We also want to recognize three of our premier partners who provide you with special benefits online and at their physical locations. Together, Greyhound, Foot Locker, and Office Depot have delivered nineteen years of exclusive benefits for Veterans Advantage members! Learn more and check out their locations and sites today.


The date of the founding of our first military forces and the most powerful symbol of the freedoms we have forged throughout our history are forever linked: America’s Army was founded on June 14, 1775, the same day as our U.S. Flag. Today, Flag Day, the official day of commemoration of the founding of our American flag, is celebrated each year on June 14th, the U.S. Army’s Birthday.

This year, we recognize that our flag has been steadfastly representing the nation for over 241 years, on our patriotic holidays-- President's Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day--on private properties and in public venues, in battle and on our bases, peacetime, and wartime, the flag flies with meaning at full mast and half.

Above all, our flag symbolizes everything we stand for in this great country of ours. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, our flag has guided and comforted untold numbers of servicemembers through the best and the worst of times.  I’m sure each of us recalls a time when our nation’s stars and stripes have been presented to the family in a military funeral as a symbol of respect and gratitude for a veteran’s past service or perhaps the fellow military member for their ultimate sacrifice to our country.

On this same day, in celebration of the Army’s 241st birthday, we recognize our total Army Force and their contributions our national defense. So remember to take the opportunity to show your gratitude to someone who served in the Army or is currently serving— simply thank them, or more importantly, take the time to engage them in a personal conversation about their service experience. Where are you stationed? What’s your MOS? It will mean a lot to them, and you’ll learn something, too.


This is the time of “grads and dads,” celebrating school graduations of family and friends. Our daughter graduates from college this weekend and we were thrilled to learn that she is also a commencement speaker! We couldn’t be more proud. Being the outdoor lover she is, I know she’s going to love a golden congratulatory bouquet from 1800Flowers. They have the best selection of flowers and other gifts. Remember - Veterans Advantage members have an exclusive 30% discount, good every day of the year! So, check out our benefit with 1800Flowers today.

Father’s Day, June 19, is right around the corner, too. Dell and Apple products make perfect gifts for this occasion, especially since you have great savings with Veterans Advantage.

I hope you enjoy this week’s feature story on Deshauna Barber, a symbol of inspiration for women and our military. As our nation pauses to commemorate the Army’s 241st birthday on June 14, we honor the service of our soldiers who serve, Army Veterans and their families. With service members like Deshauna, our Army is ready for the future!


Military Appreciation Month in May is an annual celebration of patriotism. It also reaffirms our mission to make sure we honor service every day. From our popular 50% off member “thank you” sale completed last week, to our support of Team USA at the Invictus Games earlier this month, your service to our country is always in our hearts and minds.

Memorial Day on May 30 culminates this month of recognition. It is a time to recognize our service members who made the ultimate sacrifice and serves as a solemn punctuation mark for the entire month. This Memorial Day Weekend, we remember those Americans who gave their lives in service to their country. We honor the service and sacrifice of these men and women and their families. It is also a time when our thoughts and prayers turn to those who continue to serve our country in harm’s way.

Do your part. Participate in our National Day of Remembrance on Memorial Day, 3:00 p.m. your local time. Take a moment of silence to reflect on those who have given their lives, and to those and their families who continue to serve, so we can remain free.


From left, Lin Higgins, COO of Veterans Advantage, Israel Del Toro Jr., Air Force master sergeant and Invictus Games competitor, Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Scott Higgins, CEO of Veterans Advantage.
From left, Lin Higgins, COO of Veterans Advantage, Israel Del Toro Jr., Air Force master sergeant and Invictus Games competitor, Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Scott Higgins, CEO of Veterans Advantage.

Earlier this week, Veterans Advantage honored 115 members of Team USA, our military veteran Paralympic team competing at the 2016 Invictus Games, with free Veterans Advantage.

The Invictus Games, created by British Prince Harry in 2014, is the only international Paralympic-style multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. Starting last weekend, wounded warrior teams from 13 countries joined with our team to participate in the games at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World, near Orlando, Florida.

On Monday evening, Lin and I were invited to an Invictus Games reception hosted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize Team USA and their families at the Games. Wow! I can’t express how proud the crowd was of these servicemen and women and their families — not only for the immense sacrifices they have made with their military service, but also for their indomitable spirit. Despite the many obstacles in their path, their persistence and fortitude have driven them to athletic excellence. With the ongoing support of their families and caregivers, their spirit has propelled them to participate in these Games.

We received a terrific introduction to the crowd from our Veterans Advantage Board Member and a Medal of Honor Recipient, Paul “Bud” Bucha. At the opening ceremonies aired live on ESPN the night before, we were proud to see Bud honored with a standing ovation before a sellout crowd. The opening ceremony also featured appearances by Invictus founder Prince Harry, a rousing welcome from Chairman and CEO of the Games Ken Fisher, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush, Morgan Freeman, and British singer James Blunt, who performed his top chart blockbuster “You’re Beautiful”, as a tribute to the First Lady.

Veterans Advantage's Lin Higgins, right, and Roy Asfar, left, join U.S. athletes competing in the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. Veterans Advantage presented each athlete with a complimentary VetRewards member plan.
Veterans Advantage's Lin Higgins, right, and Roy Asfar, left, join U.S. athletes competing in the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. Veterans Advantage presented each athlete with a complimentary VetRewards member plan.

The following night, led by Roy Asfar, our VP of Marketing at Veterans Advantage, we proceeded to the Veterans Affairs reception to salute our Team USA and award them our gifts of one free year of Veterans Advantage.

At the VA reception, Ken Fisher, who is also Chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, was recognized for his leadership role as Chairman and CEO of the 2016 Invictus Games and success in bringing them to the U.S. by Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz, Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Secretary Robert McDonald of Veterans Affairs was there to personally greet and congratulate each athlete and their family members.

Gerry Byrne, a Marine Corps veteran and Vice Chairman of Penske Media Corporation, who serves on both Veterans Advantage and Fisher House Foundation boards, joined us at the reception, too. Gerry is attending the entire week of games events. He is truly inspired, as we are, from meeting and watching this outstanding group of fellow veterans participate in the Games. These wounded warriors, men and women, exude a profound sense of purpose as Team USA para-athletes, bound not only by the team camaraderie of adaptive sports, but also by their continued service to our country. They are great role models for transitioning vets and their families, and really, for us all!

We want to acknowledge and thank our Veterans Advantage members and others who support Veterans Advantage’s “Giving Back”, such as these Invictus Games gifts. Our Giving Back programs are part of our work as a registered public benefit corporation (“PBC”). To date, with your support, we have delivered over a half million free VetRewards Cards to active duty service personnel, wounded warriors and their caregivers, student veterans, and as gifts to honor special groups.

Veterans Advantage works through 501c3 distribution partners, such as Operation Gratitude and Operation Care and Comfort, major schools such as the City University of New York and Syracuse University, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the City of New York through the IDNYC card with Veteran Designation, to reach the recipients of our veteran-led and supported free benefit programs.

If you would like to contribute towards the gift of a VetRewards Card, and the many supportive benefits it delivers, click here.

 

 

Paul 'Bud' Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient and Veterans Advantage Board of Advisors member, speaks to U.S. competitors at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando.
Paul "Bud" Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient and Veterans Advantage Board of Advisors member, speaks to U.S. competitors at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando.
Kenneth Fisher, chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, and Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz, the VA's assistant secretary for policy and planning, speak before an audience of U.S. competitors at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando
Kenneth Fisher, chairman of the Fisher House Foundation, and Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz, the VA's assistant secretary for policy and planning, speak before an audience of U.S. competitors at the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando


There are few people in this country who have done as much for today's military as Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation and our VetFamily honoree. Ken has created Fisher Houses in the U.S. and abroad - there are now 70 of these comfort homes and many more under construction - that provide accommodations at no cost to the families of servicemen and women who are receiving treatment in nearby military hospitals. They are a godsend to our military families who often do not have the resources to support visits to their hospitalized son or daughter. Fisher House is a tremendous organization which we, like President Obama, have been proud to support over the years. Ken and I have also collaborated on Veterans Week NYC 2016. I am proud to call him a longtime colleague and friend.

This past year, Ken started a new chapter in his philanthropic efforts, while continuing to lead Fisher House. He is Chairman of the 2016 Invictus games in Orlando, first established by the U.K.'s Prince Harry, who founded the games to honor wounded veterans in 2014 in London. The 2016 Invictus Games, which take place this week, is a wonderful and important celebration of service and athletics. Lin and I are here in Orlando to take in the action. Be sure to follow my blog to learn more with updates.

Learn more about Ken here through a special Q&A, where he talks about why he does so much for our veterans and their families.


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you may be hearing the name Justin Constantine for the first time. In an exclusive interview with Veterans Advantage, the former Marine Corps Colonel shares his inspirational story of service before self. We have awarded him as our newest HeroVet, having overcome his serious injuries sustained in Iraq, and now distinguishing himself by his contributions to his fellow veterans and leadership in his civilian life. Justin tells us he has been guided both by the experience of his injury and the skills he gained from his military service.

His book My Battlefield, Your Office is a must read for business managers and young executives, or anyone who can benefit greatly from these inspiring leadership lessons from the front lines. We bought copies for our employees at Veterans Advantage. Be sure to pick up one for yourself, friends, family members or your own employees.

Finally, speaking of recognizing significant people, we want to remind you - Mother's Day, Sunday, May 8 is just around the corner. Every one of us has at least one special woman to thank for their dedication as a mom. Fortunately, there's our benefit partner, 1800Flowers to help us out! For an exclusive Veterans Advantage 30% Off, check out 1800Flowers and Veterans Advantage today - before it is too late for delivery!

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