By Alex Robinson
Dozens of businesses across the borough have started providing discounts to veterans as part of a new program, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) announced Monday.
The Queens VETS program will give veterans varying deals on goods and services when they present a special discount card at participating businesses.
“This is just a way for us as New Yorkers and Queens residents to say thank you to the brave men and women who put on uniforms and go overseas, or even serve locally, and protect the things we hold dear,” Simanowitz told reporters, surrounded by veterans outside of VFW Post 885 in College Point. “This is not a lot, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
More than 40 businesses have already signed up for the program, which is being run in partnership by the chamber and Simanowitz’s office. Veterans can find participating businesses on the chamber’s website, as well as through decals identifying participating vendors.
“We can never thank our veterans enough,” said Jack Friedman, the executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Veterans Day is nice, but it’s one day a year. Here’s a program that’s going to last 365 days a year and that’s a way to truly thank our veterans.”
The plan is modeled on a similar program that was launched by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D-Staten Island) in July.
Veterans can apply for the Queens program by presenting valid military I.D. or discharge papers and by filling out a form at Simanowitz’s office at 159-06 71 Ave. in Flushing.
“It’s going to be a very welcome thank you back to the veterans themselves,” said David Solano, a veteran and board member of the Bayside Business Association. “It’s tough for a lot of them — going through a lot of things they’re dealing with (like) society and work. This is just an extra special way to say ‘We appreciate you.’”
Participating businesses range from restaurants and bookstores to museums and law firms.
“We want every business in the county to join this program,” Simanowitz said. “What better way to say thank you to our veterans.”
Businesses hoping to sign up should contact the Queens Chamber of Commerce at (718) 898-8500.
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.