1. Hire a veteran. Have an opening on your staff? Make an effort to hire a veteran. The U.S. Department of Labor has an employer toolkit on their website to help any business owners who are actively looking to employ service members who are transitioning out of active duty, veterans and those who were wounded in battle.
2. Fly the flag. Flying the flag outside of your insurance agency or company is a simple, yet appreciated gesture.
3. Find a sponsorship opportunity. Most communities hold an event to honor local veterans, so look into potential sponsorship opportunities as a way to show your support to the community. This will also provide your business with additional visibility, and show your customers the community-minded values of your insurance business.
4. Support veteran-owned businesses. There are 2.52 million veteran-owned businesses across the country — approximately 9% of the 27 million small businesses in the U.S. are veteran-owned, according to Military.com. Consider partnering up with one of these businesses to make a difference in your community or use their services for a need you already have within your own business.
5. Sponsor a local military family. One of the most difficult parts of active-duty military service is leaving your family behind at home. Equally difficult are the roles of the spouses and children who need to fill the gap financially and emotionally while their loved one is away. Sponsor a local military family at your business. Collect donations from customers and other business owners in your community to give a little extra support.
6. Military flags for fallen service members and veterans. Many cemeteries place flags on the graves of fallen service members and veterans. Consider donating money to the organization that provides the flags, or donate your time by helping place the flags on graves. You can even make it a company-wide event by closing your business for an hour so that all of your employees can participate.
7. Send a care package. Operation Gratitude packages go to current military members as well as veterans, wounded warriors and their caregivers. After 9-11, founder Carolyn Blashek started volunteering at the military lounge at Los Angeles airport. While this grassroots movement started in Blashek’s living room, it now encompasses Americans all over the country donating items and writing letters to those who serve.
8. Donate your frequent-flyer miles. Do you travel a lot for work or pleasure? If you collect frequent-flyer miles, you can donate them. Consider donating some to the Fisher House Foundation's Hero Miles Program, which helps family members be close to the bedsides of loved ones who were injured.
9. Hire a military spouse or caregiver. Supporting military families is as important as supporting veterans themselves. Consider hiring military spouses or caregivers at your next job opening.
10. Sponsor a service dog. Service dogs can help veterans living with PTSD and other disabilities regain control, independence and mobility. Freedom Service Dogs of America match highly specialized service dogs with service members needing assistance in their transition back to civilian life. Puppies Behind Bars is a program in which prisoners train companion dogs for veterans with PTSD. Donors can sponsor a dog and receive updates on the dog's training and life with its veteran.
11. Wear a red poppy. The American Legion Auxiliary distributes red crepe paper poppies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day nationwide. The poppies are all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation, and donations received in exchange for the flowers go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities. Contact your local American Legion office to find out where you can get one in your community.
12. Treat a vet to lunch, dinner or a cup of coffee. Inviting a veteran to a local restaurant or coffeehouse is guaranteed to make their day. Prepare a few questions to ask about their time in the military.
13. Show you support to veterans on social media. Give a like or a share on Facebook to a business that’s supporting veterans. It’s literally the easiest way to let companies know that their efforts to support our vets have not gone unnoticed.
14. Let a veteran know they matter and express thanks. By telling a veteran how much you appreciate their service, you are letting them know their decision to serve our country makes a difference. It's a simple gesture, but it can make an impact.
Veterans Days is an opportunity for Americans to honor all of those who have served our country in war or peace and thank them for their sacrifices.
Americans are encouraged to say thank you on Veterans Day — and 365 days a year — to those who fulfill this patriotic duty to maintain the freedoms of our country.
Related: U.S. Army veteran Robert Klinger’s journey to building a successful insurance agency
Veterans Day became an official national holiday on November 11, 1938. Originally known as Armistice Day, the holiday marked the anniversary of the end of World War I in 1919 on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. Today, Veterans Day remains a time to recognize the service and sacrifice of U.S. military service members who have served in every war.
Honor veterans in your community
This Veterans Day, make sure your insurance agency or other insurance-related business takes the opportunity to honor veterans and their families in your community.
Related: What insurance employers can gain from hiring military spouses
The slideshow above gives you 14 simple ways to celebrate and support veterans in your community.
Our thanks and gratitude go out to all of those who have served or are currently serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. We salute you and thank you for all that you do!
Helpful links & resources
American Legion Auxiliary
By the numbers: U.S. Veteran-Owned Businesses | 2018
Fisher House Foundation’s Hero Miles
Freedom Service Dogs of America
Hiring Veterans: A Step-by-Step Toolkit for Employers
Operation Second Chance
Puppies Behind Bars
Wounded Warrior Project