Veterans Advantage is the first program of its kind to create new service-related benefits for U.S. military veterans, active duty military, and National Guard & Reserve and their families. The program benefits are sponsored by top companies that seek to honor and thank those who serve our nation. Scott Higgins is its Co-founder and President.
Not only is Scott proud of his own service as an Army Lieutenant in Vietnam, he is also proud of a family lineage of patriotism and service that descends from some of the oldest families in our country. He has an impressive track record of devotion to veterans’ causes and helping fellow veterans.
Scott’s family ancestry goes back to the earliest days of our nation and the Revolutionary War as a descendant of Captain John Parker, the founder, and head of the Minutemen, our first “citizen soldier” unit, before the establishment of our National Guard. The first shot of the Revolutionary War, which has become known as the “shot heard around the world,” was fired by Captain Parker’s gun as he led his militia on the Lexington green in Massachusetts.
Today, this famous patriot’s rifle hangs in the Higgins family den and will be passed on to Scott's oldest son Parker, following the family’s tradition of passing down this now historic name and rifle to each new generation. Scott’s late father, William Webster Higgins, was a Massachusetts native. His ancestors include Richard Higgins, an English tailor who settled on Cape Cod in 1640, and the Crocker family of Maine, a seafaring, shipping family who owned and sailed four-masted shipping vessels. A February 1902 photo of the Crocker family’s four-masted ship, the “Winfried S. Schuester”, docked and surrounded by ice in Rockport, Maine, is framed and hangs above the family fireplace.During WWII, while still an executive at IBM, Bill Higgins was “on loan” to the Pentagon, and served with the military equivalent rank of Colonel, as he worked on vital war-related supply systems for the Pentagon.
Born in Butler, Pennsylvania and raised on Long Island, Scott graduated from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, as a history major with a keen interest in the battle that turned the tide of the Civil War. Starting out as president of his freshman class, Scott wrestled all four years on the college team, earned All-American status, and was awarded the Beecham Prize, the School’s top athletic award. Scott has since been honored by admittance into Gettysburg’s Athletic Hall of Fame and Cupola Society. After serving for 11 years as a trustee of Gettysburg College, which included responsibilities for its endowment, Scott was awarded the title of trustee emeritus in recognition of his exemplary service to the college.
Scott served in the college’s mandatory Army ROTC program as a freshman and sophomore and continued in the college's ROTC program for his final two years. In June 1967, on his graduation day, Scott received his orders for Vietnam as an Army Lieutenant. Later, while stationed in Hq., III Corps, northeast of Saigon, his unit was attacked during the Tet Offensive of January 1968.
Scott's experiences in Vietnam have been profiled in the book Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Thirty-Three American Soldiers Who Fought It by Al Santoli, whose dedication page reads “To bear any burden, New Americans leading the way, Everything we had.” (Ballantine Books; June 1988 edition).
After Vietnam, Scott pursued an MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, earning his degree in 1971 using his educational benefits provided under the GI bill. Yet, there were few other service-related benefits or recognition of his service except the medals he kept in his top drawer. In fact, the opposite was true; it was not uncommon for him to encounter a negative reaction to his service in Vietnam, despite his own opposition to the War. Nevertheless, Scott established himself as young professional, first at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation in Princeton, N.J. and then as an investment consultant and manager in New York City.
Although his military service put his career path a couple of years behind his non-veteran peers, Scott found himself to be “a little older and wiser” than those who had not experienced any military service. Most of all, Scott was very grateful that, unlike so many who had served, he managed to come back whole in both mind and body. He also believed his personal sacrifice was more than offset by his military life experiences and the skills learned as an Army officer. He was motivated to volunteer for initiatives that would support his many less fortunate fellow Vietnam War Veterans.
Continue Reading: The Heritage of Veterans Advantage: Part 2, Early Veteran Advocacy