The Times West Virginian

May 2, 2013

Freedom Day USA opportunity to offer thanks to members of military


Times West Virginian

— A simple thank you can go a long way.

But how do you adequately thank the men and women who serve this country for the freedoms they’ve helped preserve?

Businesses across the country hope to offer a token of their appreciation later this year when they take part in Freedom Day USA.

Set to take place Sept. 12, Freedom Day USA will be a day when businesses can say “thank you” to the military. Businesses are encouraged to do whatever they would like to show their appreciation for the people who risked their lives for this country.

And the idea is catching on.

So far, approximately 73 organizations nationwide are on board. The majority of those are located in the Mountain State, but other states are getting involved as well.

Several businesses in Marion County have already signed up to participate in the inaugural event. They’re saying thank you by offering everything from free flowers to free dental care.

Wendy Boyce, who serves as the state director for Freedom Day USA in West Virginia, said that’s the whole point.

“Our goal is to give military that are active and their immediate family members and all veterans a day of free,” Boyce said. “It’s not a bribe to visit a business. It’s a true, heart-felt ‘thank you.’ Even a small ‘thank you’ is appreciated. Any and all forms of a ‘thank you’ are welcome and appreciated.”

According to a website dedicated to promoting awareness of the event, Freedom Day USA is the United States’ largest thank you movement. It was founded by Dr. Robert Martino, CEO and owner of Wilson Martino Dental. His vision was to give the members of the military a day when businesses thanked them for giving people their freedom.

Plans for this year’s event have been under way for quite a while. A national committee meets every two weeks via teleconference and has been working on planning Freedom Day USA for six months. Each state has a director who works with city coordinators, who serve as the point of contact in each major city as well as outlying areas.

Businesses that want to join the effort can fill out a form online at www.freedomdayusa.com.

While this year’s inaugural Freedom Day USA will take place Sept. 12, organizers hope to make it an annual event that will take place the second week in September for years to come.

We aren’t surprised that the movement got its start right here in West Virginia. Residents in this state have always been especially grateful to the men and women who serve, and it goes without saying that they deserve our deepest gratitude.

Freedom Day USA will be another chance to express that gratitude to them.