This group scores vets free tickets to sporting events, concerts, shows — even the Super Bowl

Super Bowl XLII may be best remembered for this incredible catch, but it also served as the inspiration for Vet Tix. (Gene Puskar/AP)

By: Joshua Axelrod   2 days ago

Most folks probably remember Super Bowl XLII as the first time the New York Giants took down the New England Patriots on the NFL’s biggest stage. Michael Focareto, however, probably thinks of Feb. 3, 2008, as the day a life-changing idea was born.

Focareto attended that game in Glendale, Ariz., and noticed that the Color Guard troops who participated in pregame pomp and circumstance had to stand for the rest of the game. He looked around the stadium and noticed there were plenty of empty seats.

That’s when inspiration struck.

He began reaching out to major sports teams in Arizona and proposed that they donate unused game tickets to service members and veterans. Eleven years later, that concept has grown into Vet Tix, a nonprofit that gives veterans and active-duty troops free or heavily discounted tickets to sporting events, concerts and more.

“Our tagline is, ‘give something to those who gave,’” said Steve Weintraub, Vet Tix’s chief strategy officer. “The reason why Vet Tix was created was as a way to say thank you to military and veterans.”

Vet Tix has distributed almost 6,500,000 tickets to troops and veterans, according to a live ticker on its website. The organization gave out 1,980,460 tickets in 2018 alone, Weintraub said. Sign up for our Rebootcamp Newsletter
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The tickets come from donations via event-ticketing companies like Live Nation, which has an official partnership with Vet Tix. Live Nation is currently Vet Tix’s top donor and has provided the company with over 1 million tickets.

“We’re big believers in the power of live [events],” said Kate Lieberman, Live Nation’s vice president of guest services. “And our company wants to continue sharing those experiences with our veterans who have given so much to serve and protect our nation.”

To qualify for Vet Tix, veterans need to create a free account on the site and become one of the organization’s more than 1 million verified members, according to Weintraub.

At that point, they will get notified via Vet Tix emails about events in their local areas and can enter randomized lotteries to try to land a ticket. They’ll be notified if they’re selected and will only have to pay a small PayPal delivery fee, which Weintraub said never exceeds $14.97, to have their tickets delivered to them electronically.

You can increase your chances of winning those lotteries by bidding virtual coins during the selection lotteries. Weintraub said you get 10 coins upon registering for Vet Tix and can earn more by uploading photos of yourself after attending an event, or through other methods. It’s also worth noting that if you bid those coins in a lottery and don’t get selected, you get them all back.

One of the virtues of Vet Tix is the tendency for veterans and troops to run into their fellow service members at events.

“It makes it easy to talk to them,” said Bob Hanna, a 63-year-old Army veteran and Vet Tix client. “You’re able to strike up a conversation with what would otherwise be a complete stranger, but they’re not because you share a bond.”

Army veteran Bob Hanna takes his grandson to his first NBA game to see the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Dec. 3, 2017. (Vet Tix)

Army veteran Bob Hanna takes his grandson to his first NBA game to see the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Dec. 3, 2017. (Vet Tix)

Hanna served in the Army from 1975-85 as a military police officer. He’s gone to many events through Vet Tix, including country-music concerts and a taping of a “Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” episode that included Fallon surprising a woman by bringing her husband, who she thought was still deployed, on stage.

He was also able to take his grandson to his first New York Knicks game and was awarded Vet Tix’s 3 millionth ticket, which happened to be for a New York Yankees v. Baltimore Orioles game in 2017. He and a good friend who was a huge Yankees fan got to sit right behind one of the dugouts.

“It was more than cool,” Hanna said. “It was an amazing, amazing memory.”

Weintraub said he hears stories like this all the time. Once, Taylor Swift’s mother picked out a few young girls in the front row of one of her concerts who happened to be there through Vet Tix and brought them to meet Swift after the show, he said.

Austin Bartlett, a 39-year-old former Marine Corps sergeant, said he was also able to score great seats to a Taylor Swift concert because of Vet Tix. He has used that organization to see everything from a Fiesta Bowl football game to a Cyndi Lauper concert to the Colorado Symphony.

Marine Corps veteran Austin Bartlett, his girlfriend and her children attend a Colorado Rockies game on Aug. 6, 2018. (Vet Tix)

Marine Corps veteran Austin Bartlett, his girlfriend and her children attend a Colorado Rockies game on Aug. 6, 2018. (Vet Tix)

“It’s a great organization, and I always take tickets when I get them,” he said.

Weintraub said that Vet Tix has collected more than 700 testimonials from its users, attesting that their experiences at these events has at least momentarily helped with their PTSD. Specifically, he said, it’s helped them be better in crowds and prevents them from becoming “isolationists.”

He also emphasized that Vet Tix was established to help vets live their civilian lives to the fullest after their military service is over.

“It’s a sacrifice,” Weintraub said. “So when you come home, it’s a way to send these families to an event … as a way to make up for lost time, rebuild relationships and for a couple hours a day to take your mind off the daily stresses of life.”

Veterans-For-Change NEWSLETTER

Week Ending Sunday, April 21, 2019Volume 10, Issue 16This-N-ThatAs many have noticed there have been quite a few “Take Action” posts in the newsletter, and the number of take action notices is growing which means finally Congress is taking action for Veterans.But, as we all know sometimes it’s just smoke to keep a politician in the “good graces” of Veterans and most won’t go any further than that.But, Veterans and civilians alike can help make those come to life, get to the floor, be voted on and with enough people harassing those in office, politely of course can make sure they pass!I agree some bills won’t help all Veterans, but it will help your fellow Veteran who is suffering just like you are, and other bills will help you, and not others. The point being, if everyone does their part, we can make change happen.One of the things I say quite frequently is: What Employer any where in the world hires staff, walks off, and assumes they will do what they were hired for? The answer is simple, NO ONE!However, here in the United States, that’s precisely what we do. When you cast your vote, and whether the person you voted for or someone else gets that seat in Congress, their salaries are paid for by Taxpayer Dollars, this means they are our Employees and we are their Employers.So it’s our duty to constantly remind them of our concerns, expectations, and demands! Failing to do so automatically gives them carte blanche to do as they damn well please.If we continually send off the Pre-Written E-Mails, follow those with phone calls every single week, sharing the information in an E-Mail and send off to our entire E-Mail address book, asking them to also send off the Pre-Written E-Mails and follow those up with telephone calls too, we increase our chances dramatically.Sad part is most will come up with more excuses than carter has little pills. That attitude needs to be overcome and whether or not you believe your Reps listen, the more we stir the pot, and the more people who become involved, the more we increase chances of getting legislation out of committee, to the floor, voted on, hopefully passed and change will happen.I’m constantly disappointed, I’m used to disappointment, but I am seriously hoping many of you will jump in and send the E-Mails, make the calls, and share it with as many as is humanly possible.Over the next few days we will be adding almost 200 new web links, and hopefully by a week from today, another 200+ more documents will be added to the website.We’re still looking for a new hosting service and a web master who is very familiar with our software as we are currently experiencing a few minor issues that need attention, so if you’ve attempted to create an account so you can access the entire system, not just a sampling, send me an E-Mail and I will create an account for you through the back office.If you post a comment, please be patient and give me 24-48 hours, and I will also approve those manually though the back office as well.On behalf of our Volunteers nationwide and myself, we wish you and your family good health!Respectfully, 
Jim Davis 
Jim.Davis@Veterans-For-Change.orgVA Struggles to Curb ‘Parking Lot’ Suicides at Its Own FacilitiesThe VA’s top health care official is asking Americans for help in addressing the crisis of veteran suicides. “I wish it was as simple as me saying I could do more patrols in a parking lot that would stop this,” Dr. Richard Stone, the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, said Wednesday of the department’s efforts to curb veteran suicides and suicide attempts, which often occur at its own facilities. Stone made the remark in response to questions from the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee about three recent suicides: two in early March at Georgia VA facilities and one at an Austin, Texas, VA clinic. Read more about his remarks here.TRICARE Beneficiary Bulletin #497Listen to this week’s podcast to hear about:• Military Children’s Health Month 
• April TRICARE Pharmacy Webinar 
• Breastfeeding Supplies and ServicesVisit the Multimedia Center for this podcast and previous podcasts here.The Veterans-For-Change website has been under construction since day one back in 2009 and every day since then. The looks pretty much stay the same, but in the background constant improvement and change is being done to make our website the most user friendly “One-Stop-Shop” website to find almost everything you might have tried to find searching the internet.Almost a hundred people have been involved; collecting web links to documents now houses on the VFC website, collecting thousands of web links for various issues, illnesses and benefits. Creating forums for all eras of service and two forums one just for men and one just for woman where you can go question, comment, share medical and personal concerns, what ever you’d like it to be.We also have a forum with for Mental Health and are currently seeking a new Licensed Mental Health Worker, where you can seek help or just ask questions.We average 2,557 hits per day, and downloads average 2,307 per day with a total 4,900,505visitors as of Friday.If you subscribe you will have full access to the entire website and best of all it’s FREE of charge! You just need a valid E-mail address so the system can send you a confirmation E-Mail. Once received, click on the link to be authorized• Documents Library with over 17,242 documents on-line (Updated: 04/11/19) 
• FAQ’s with more than 1,600 FAQ’s and answers 
• Multiple Forums 
o Afghanistan Veterans 
o FMP – Foreign Medial Program 
o Gulf War & Desert Storm Veterans 
o Iraq Veterans 
o Korean Veterans 
o Men Veterans Forum 
o Mental Health for Veterans (Counselor Needed
o Political Issues 
o Suggestion Box 
o The Mess Hall 
o VA Hospitals and Medical Centers 
o Veteran Affairs 
o Vietnam Veterans 
o Welcome Mat 
o Women Veterans Forum 
o WW II Veterans 
• Job Postings 
• Memorial Pages (Updated: 10/30/18) (37 Added) 
• News (Articles On-Line: 8,429
• Polls 
• Web Links, more than 4,709, Added 4 New Links (Updated: 04/05/19)If you have a submission for the memorial pages, E-Mail: Jim.Davis@veterans-for-change.orgH.R. 1527, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice ActRepresentative Clay Higgins introduced H.R. 1527, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act. This bill would provide veterans who are no longer capable of living independently an alternative to nursing home care, in which the veteran would continue to receive the care that they need in an intimate home-like environment through VA’s Home-Based Primary Care program, and the Medical Foster Home (MFH) attendant program.Started in 2000, VA Medical Foster Homes provide veterans who need nursing home level of care an alternative to being placed in a nursing home. VA Medical Foster Homes merge traditional adult foster care with comprehensive longitudinal care provided in the home by a VA interdisciplinary team that includes a physician, nurse, social worker, rehabilitation therapist, mental health provider, dietitian, and pharmacist. Since its inception, over 4,000 veterans have resided in Medical Foster Homes.However, many service-connected veterans who wish to reside in a VA Medical Foster Home are unable to do so because of substantial out-of-pocket costs of approximately $1,500 to $3,000 per month. Because VA does not have the authority to cover these costs, veterans are placed in nursing homes which VA pays for but cost more than twice as much.As the veteran population continues to age, the need for long-term care services will continue to grow. Home-based community programs like MFHs will enable VA to meet the needs of aging veterans in a manner closer to independent living than institutionalized care. With the passage of this bill, veterans would have the option of care that more closely aligns with their independence while maintaining their quality of life.This bill is in accordance with DAV Resolution No. 085, which calls for legislation to improve the comprehensive program of long-term services and supports for service-connected disabled veterans regardless of their disability ratings.Please use the prepared letter to write your Representative to cosponsor and support passage of H.R. 1527, the Long-Term Care Veterans Choice Act. Thank you for your efforts and support of the Commander’s Action Network.Take ActionWebinar on TRICARE Pharmacy ProgramJoin the “Make the Most of Your TRICARE Pharmacy Benefit” webinar on April 25, 2019, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. The webinar will focus on how to fill and manage prescriptions, as well as pharmacy-covered services, costs, and more. A pharmacy expert will provide detailed information about the TRICARE Pharmacy Program and answer questions. Learn More.~Follow Veterans-For-Change on MEWE Social Media~Follow us on MEWE! We’ve move to MEWE and after three months, membership has grown and the support staff at MEWE is responsive, open to suggestions and works very hard to protect your personal information.IMAGINE A SOCIAL NETWORK WITH ALL THE FEATURES YOU LOVE AND NONE OF THE BS.Where you are the customer to serve and not data to sell.Where you share your real life and celebrate, not censor, diversity.We know most people don’t like change, however, this new Social Media Site, MEWE.COM has no advertisers, truly respects privacy and protects your security far better than Face Book ever could. They also have a fantastic customer service group who actually does respond to your messages, suggestions, ideas and more!We hope you will join us on this new site.VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE HEROES PROGRAM OF VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE GROUP SOCIAL GROUP{USAVET} SUPPORTING GOD & ALL WHO SERVED OUR GREAT NATION FOR SOVEREIGNTY 303, the Retired Pay Restoration Act

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VFW Action Corps Weekly, April 18, 2019

April 18, 2019 In This Issue:1. VFW Hosts Roundtable on Elimination of Widow’s Tax2. Webinar on TRICARE Pharmacy Program3. Trump Picks Navy’s Next CNO, VCNO4. Retired General is New US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia5. MIA Update To view this week’s edition, visit:

AMVETS Radio & Beyond

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AMVETS National HQ 2019-20 Proposed Resolutions

AMVETS 2019-20 Proposed Resolutions-1 Greetings AMVETS Department Leaders, As your National Legislative Affairs Associate, I look forward to meeting you at the upcoming AMVETS 75th National Convention, August 21-24 in Louisville, Kentucky. In the meantime, enclosed you’ll find 19 resolutions for your review and consideration at state-level department conventions. The resolutions  ​ are arranged by subject matter. […]

Urge Congress to Pass the Retired Pay Restoration Act

Background : Military retirees who have a service-connected disability rating below 50 percent have their retirement pay reduced, dollar for dollar, by the amount of disability compensation they receive. This demeaning tax, created by Congress to save money, forces those who have dedicated their careers to military service to make due without benefits they need to provide for […]

RAO 15 APR 2019 Bulletin Availability Notice (Veteran News)

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District 8 meeting

There will be a District 8 meeting on May 5th at 1:00 PM at the Beverly Post. Please plan on attending. We need to have this meeting before convention. District 8 Commander Gerard Marchand