The Times West Virginian

September 12, 2013

Veterans have earned tokens of appreciation from businesses

Times West Virginian

— West Virginia has a very long and proud tradition of military service, dating back 150 years to its creation in the midst of the Civil War.

In fact, the state has one of the highest rates of military service in the nation. As of 2012, there were more than 175,000 veterans living in the Mountain State. If you crunch the numbers, that’s about one out of every 10 residents who has proudly served their nation in a branch of the U.S. armed forces in peacetime and during war.

There’s not one single way that we can thanks these veterans, active duty service personnel or retirees. We can continue to support veteran groups, insist our statewide and federal representatives understand the importance of taking care of those who served, and we can proudly wave the flag protected by their service.

While there isn’t one single way to thank service men and women for their dedication to our nation, there are many to say thanks every day. And today, a nationwide movement started right here in West Virginia is allowing more than 200 supporting businesses to offer discounts, free items and services to those who served our nation.

Freedom Day USA includes participation from more than 600 enti­ties from more than 40 states for the inau­gural event. This includes about 200 organizations in West Virginia, where the movement was founded.

Dr. Robert Martino, CEO and owner of Wilson Martino Dental, was thinking about what his business could do to give back to members of the military and their families, who miss each other and make many sac­rifices while they are apart, when he founded Freedom Day USA. His idea expanded into a nationwide event.

In order to take advantage of the available offers, members of the mil­itary just have to provide some proof of service, such as a military ID card or another document.

We encourage active military, veterans and immediately family members take advantage of the tokens of appreciation being offered today, a list of which can be found at

And we sincerely thank those businesses who will give back a little today to those who have given so much.