ORLANDO, Fla., May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In a special Military Appreciation Month tribute, Veterans Advantage, PBC announced that it has gifted a year of Veterans Advantage with personalized VetRewards Cards to the 115 wounded warrior paralympian members of Team USA competing at the 2016 Invictus Games at a Department of Veterans Affairs hosted event in Orlando this month.
After a successful 2014 London debut, Orlando hosted the nationally televised second Invictus Games, May 8–12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. There, more than 500 competitors — all wounded servicemen and women from 14 countries — competed in 10 adaptive sports over four days in a thrilling display of service and competition.
During the games at a private U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reception and ceremony in the ESPN Sports Center, 115 U.S. service personnel, who have each overcome unimaginable challenges associated with service-related injuries to represent their country once again — this time as athletes – were recognized. In honor of their achievements, each was presented with the gift of a VetRewards Card, with benefits plans underwritten by Veterans Advantage and its community of former military and family members.
Attendees at the Invictus Games / Veterans Advantage announcement include: 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.
"I can't express how proud we all are of these individuals — not only for the immense sacrifices they made during military service, but also for the unconquerable spirit they each possess that has driven them to achieve this peak of athletic excellence," said Scott Higgins, founder and CEO of Veterans Advantage.
Higgins, a Vietnam War veteran, is a long-time supporter of veterans' causes with Kenneth Fisher, president and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation and chairman of the Organizing Committee of Invictus Games Orlando 2016, who undertook the role at the invitation of the U.K.'s Prince Harry, the founder of the games.
The gifted VetRewards Cards were presented during the VA reception by Higgins and Fisher, together with Paul W. Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient and Gerry Byrne, Vice Chairman of PMC Media, who both serve on the Veterans Advantage Advisory Board. Veterans Advantage's exclusive benefit plan coverage will be extended to each competitor with emergency medical travel and accidental death insurance, and other essential financial and medical assistance as well as access to valuable discounts from national service providers, top retailers and travel industry leaders created to thank them for their service.
"This Memorial Day, we are extremely grateful for the service of our Invictus Games competitors. We want to acknowledge and show our gratitude for Veterans Advantage members who support their fellow vets with Veterans Advantage's 'Giving Back' programs, such as these Invictus Games gifts, and also fellow Veterans Advantage member Dr. Linda Schwartz, who helped stage the VA's event, so we could get the VetRewards Cards directly into the hands of the athletes," Higgins added.
Dr. Schwartz is currently Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the Department of Veterans Affairs and formerly served as an Air Force Captain and State of Connecticut Commissioner of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans Advantage's Giving Back programs are part of its mission as a registered public benefit corporation ("PBC") to advocate for greater respect, recognition and rewards for those who serve the nation. To date, with member support, Veterans Advantage has delivered over a half million free VetRewards Cards and its associated benefits to active duty service personnel, wounded warriors and their caregivers, student veterans, and as gifts to honor special groups of veterans.
Veterans Advantage works through its 501c3 partnerships, institutions of higher learning and government organizations, such as Operation Gratitude and Operation Care and Comfort, the City University of New York and Syracuse University, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the City of New York through the IDNYC card with Veteran Designation, and Department of Veterans Affairs of the State of Connecticut, to reach new recipients of the veteran-led and supported benefit programs.
For more information, visit VeteransAdvantage.com.
About Invictus Games Orlando 2016:
Chaired by Ken Fisher, of Fisher House Foundation and honorary Chair Prince Harry, the Invictus Games are the only international adaptive sporting event for injured active duty and veteran service members. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country as well as their families and caregivers. More than 500 competitors from 14 countries competed in 10 adaptive sports. The Invictus Games Orlando 2016 were presented by Jaguar Land Rover. The Official Supporters are the Walt Disney Company, Fisher House Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher Brothers, Sage, Coca-Cola Company, Deloitte, Experience Kissimmee, Capital One, Invacare, Ottobock and Dow.
About Veterans Advantage, PBC:
Veterans Advantage is a registered public benefit company that advocates for greater respect, recognition and rewards for veterans, active and retired military, guardsmen, reservists and their families. Veteran founded and led, Veterans Advantage partners with national retailers, travel industry leaders and insurance providers to create new benefits and distribute them through its coalition of partner companies to those verified through enrollment in Veterans Advantage. Veterans Advantage's free military verify technology solutions allows its partners to confirm their customers' eligibility for their military program offers in real time, online, by toll-free phone and at point-of-sale locations nationwide.