Veterans Advantage was founded by Scott and Lin Higgins in 2000, largely in response to Scott's experiences volunteering to head the the New York City Vietnam Veterans Commission. The Commissions’ work verified how important it is to thank those who served so that they are recognized for their service. It was a need that had been there all along but shadowed by the politics of the era.
Importantly, the Commission had accomplished its job of recognizing New York City Vietnam Veterans with no public or government funds, only private funds, some from individuals, but largely from top New York corporations. While Scott had led the Commission its successful conclusion, he felt there was still unfinished business.
Scott had learned there were patriotic companies that were willing to provide greater recognition for U.S. military veterans, given the right vehicle to do so. In addition, Scott felt further recognition could be delivered not only with war memorials and special holidays but also through ongoing recognition and rewards, delivered in an everyday way, to thank all who serve and to enhance awareness around the nation of the value of veterans service.
After a 25-year career in investment management, Scott began to pick up where he felt the job of the Commission had left off. This was the genesis of Veterans Advantage, today a military benefits program that creates new savings benefits with the VetRewards Card to thank members who have served in any branch or period, including active duty and retired military, veterans, and their families.
Amtrak was the first benefit partner to provide a Veterans Advantage discount redeemed with the VetRewards Card ID and has offered military savings for members off its rail fares since February 2001. Other top retailers and top travel providers such as Dell Computer, Apple, Continental Airlines (now United) and Greyhound quickly followed adding special members discounts to thank and honor those who have served our nation.
Since that time, Veterans Advantage has continued to grow nationally and has benefited from the knowledge, experience, and commitment of Veterans Advantage Advisory Board members who have distinguished themselves through the highest levels of military service. They include Medal of Honor recipient Paul W. Bucha, who was a Captain in the 101st Airborne and longtime President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Lt. General Martin Steele, former Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Lt. Gen. Robert E. Kelley, former Superintendent of the Air Force Academy, and (Ret.) Lt. General Frank Miller of Dell Corporation.
Scott’s battleground is now focused on Corporate America, as he fights to acquire special offers and military discounts on goods and services at a “thank you” for his and other member's service.Veterans Advantage also has provided important funding for other veterans service organizations, including the Marine Corps Fire & Police Foundation, Give an Hour and TAPS. Veterans Advantage has also sponsored free cards for all Medal of Honor recipients and their spouses, student veterans, deployed active duty military and wounded veterans.
While working tirelessly to accomplish his mission, Scott continues to be inspired by the many Veterans, and those on active duty too, who contact him everyday expressing their gratitude for Veterans Advantage. He is grateful for the dedication of his staff and family members who help out in the company, including his spouse, Lin, who serves as the organization's Chief Operating Office and son, Parker, who is the Director of Digital Technology.
Thank you for reading The Heritage of Veterans Advantage! If you missed any of the earlier parts, please feel free to read them now:
Part 1: Scott Higgins' History of Patriotism
Part 2: Early Veteran Advocacy
Part 3: Building the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
Part 4: Dear America the Book and HBO Documentary