By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Today, September 8th, provides an EXTRA day to show appreciation for veterans. This second Thursday of September is set aside as “Freedom Day USA”, an event that was founded by Dr. Robert Martino here in West Virginia. But what was originally more or less a local movement within the Mountain State has gained attention and has spread to a national ‘thank you’ event for service personnel.
On this day, businesses across the U.S. are invited to participate in Freedom Day USA by providing some sort of thank you gift in the form of free services, goods, discounts or various other offers that are valid for active military, their immediate family members and even former veterans. To claim whatever is offered by these participating businesses, you may have to show some type of military ID when visiting these businesses on Freedom Day.
“The men and women if our Armed Forces make great personal sacrifices in order to secure and protect our freedoms,” said Wendy Boyce, WV Freedom Day USA State Director and National Marketing Director for the event. “What would it be like to miss your child’s first birthday, their first steps or their high school graduation? What if you could not talk with your spouse or family for weeks at a time? What if you didn’t know if a family member was safe? For most of us these situations are rare; however, for those in our military and their family members, they are part of their daily life! These are a few of the reasons Freedom Day got its start – to thank them for those sacrifices.”
More than 200 West Virginia businesses are taking part in this year’s event to thank military personnel and show them how grateful folks are for their service. Several businesses located right here in Shinnston are participating.
Shabby Chic Sisters have participated before. “On previous occasions, we have offered to military and veterans a percentage off when making a purchase, but this year we will be giving away a couple of gift baskets and a wreath that they can sign up for with not purchase necessary – for veterans and their immediate family members,” stated owner Judy Thomas. “We love to support the military. This is just our gesture of appreciation.”
Another Pike Street (Shinnston) business – Like New Upscale Resale Shop –is also taking part this year by offering a 20% storewide discount to military families, both active and retired.
Like New owner Leslie Gianettino commented, “They give so much to us. I thought it was time to give something back to them and recognize them in a nice way for their service to let them know that their sacrifices do not go unnoticed.”
One of Shinnston’s newer businesses, Dynamic Designs, is taking part in Freedom Day USA for the first time.
Owners John and Marie Marchio, who just opened in early October of last year, say this is their first opportunity to support this event and they’ll be offering a 20% discount on all merchandise purchased on Freedom Day.
“We are always willing to help a veteran’s cause,” they said. “A small sacrifice on our part is our thank you to them for the great sacrifice they offered on our behalf.”
Pike Street Bikes in Shinnston is offering 10% off to all present and former military on Freedom Day, and Fairmont Federal Credit Union will say “thank you” to veterans with gift packs at each of their locations including the one located inside Shinnston Shop N Save.
The Shinnston Lions Club is already making plans for their annual Veterans Day Parade to honor local veterans. Freedom Day is another opportunity to recognize and thank veterans for their service!
Freedom Day USA is a non–profit organization funded by its National Committee. All donations go toward event efforts and promotion of Freedom Day USA.