When it comes to perks associated with military life, we all know that the benefits pretty much end when you leave active duty -- even though the struggles of recovering from military service might literally last a lifetime. So many of the discounts offered are for active duty or Guard and Reserve only. Even the National Parks pass and the Disney deals don't apply to veterans.
But more and more organizations are realizing that the struggles don't stop when the active duty ID card goes away. And they are starting to make a point of serving the veteran population as a whole.
Enter VetTix. Founded in 2008, the organization gives out free veteran tickets to all veterans, no matter when they served or how recently. They say that's because they know reintegration is a long term problem that isn't magically solved when you get out.
"This isn't just going to an event," said Mike Focareto, VetTix's CEO and founder. "This is reintegration with families, creating memories."
To make that happen, VetTix collects tickets in a bunch of different ways, including donations from entertainment companies, sports teams and music performance bookers as well as actually purchasing them. They then advertise the tickets to users registered on their site and distribute them to veterans who want to use them through a lottery system that helps make sure everyone who wants one has a chance to get in.
Through the charity the tickets are free, although VetTix charges a small delivering fee of no more than $14, depending on the ticket value. That's done to give users some skin in the game and feel a sense of buy-in, Focareto said. Registrants sign-up and confirm their service connection through ID.me or by uploading a service document. Since I registered my husband for his account, I can tell you the process was totally painless (minus this tiny snafu with my rather old scanner that was entirely my fault.)
Then they can choose which events they want to attend. If the veteran is selected through the lottery, the tickets are delivered through the VetTix website. Easy-peasy. My family was able to sign-up and get tickets to attend a concert at the Alaska State Fair this summer.
VetTix is ever trying to expand the number and kind of events for which they can offer tickets. One way they've done that is by creating a partnership with entertainment company Live Nation.
Another way is through a newly signed memorandum of understanding with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Through that agreement the VA will forward to VetTix for distribution any tickets that are offered to them. That means VetTix will have more tickets to offer, and the VA can focus resources on taking care of veterans. Win-win.
You can check out all events VetTix has to offer on their website.