Brands Stand and Deliver to Honor U.S. Veterans

As Veteran's Day approaches, several organizations are celebrating and honoring the bravery and sacrifice of U.S. veterans through special promotions and services.

Just as many corporations stepped up and used their brand power to help assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy (in fact, active duty military has been pitching in with the relief efforts in New York and New Jersey), others are providing veterans and service members (and their families, in some instances) with discounts on goods, services and dining.

We’ve compiled this alphabetical list of eight organizations that are rising to the occasion.

  • AARP: AARP Driver Safety is offering a free classroom course (or 50% off its online course) to all members of the U.S. armed forces. This offer includes all active duty, veteran, guard or reserve during the entire month of November (the U.S. Automobile Association discovered that service members were involved in at-fault accidents 13% more frequently after deployments). 

  • Applebee's: Every Veterans Day, Applebee's invites vets and active duty military to have a meal on the house. Applebee's had also built a Web page for its Thank You Movement to  show your gratitude for those who have served, or are currently serving, in our nation's military.

  • Banana Republic: Banana Republic is offering 50% off three full-priced items for veterans, military personnel and their families from November 12-15. As part of its "Our Duty to You" program, service members, veterans and families who shop at Banana Republic on Nov. 13 also can participate in special events geared toward helping veterans find jobs, including interview and resume tips from an HR expert, styling advice and refreshments.

  • The Home Depot Foundation & Home Depot: The Home Depot Foundation and 12,000 Team Depot volunteers completed 350 projects assisting veterans and their families during the two months leading up to Veteran's Day. At Home Depot stores, a 10% discount (up to a $500 maximum) will be offered to all active military, reserve, retired or disabled veterans and their family members with a valid military ID.  

  • Lowe's: The home improvement store will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged and retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10% discount on in-store U.S. purchases made on the 11th. Lowe’s “Thank You” stickers will be available for free to customers over Veterans Day weekend. Lowe’s has extended benefits for its employees serving in the military and offers employment opportunities to military personnel after their military service has ended. (Currently, more than 14,000 Lowe’s employees are military veterans or reservists.)

  • Olive Garden: Veterans and service members can get a free entrée choice from a special menu on Nov. 11 at locations in both U.S. and Canada.

  • Outback Steakhouse: Outback launched Operation Feeding Freedom in 2002, sending a team of volunteer employees to Afghanistan to feed American troops. Since then, Outback has made a total of nine trips to the Middle East and served over 215,000 troops. On Veteran's Day, the chain is offering veterans a free Bloomin' Onion, Coca-Cola beverage and a 10% discount off their entire check.

  • Toys "R" Us: Toys "R" Us has increased its increased military hiring efforts for both current and retired members of the armed forces and military spouses during Military Family Month. It's also providing military members and their families a 20% off coupon on Veteran's Day.

What other organizations are going out of their way to serve veterans this year?

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg