Chamber discount program for returning veterans
The Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce recently asked its more than 1,000 business members to participate in "Operation Purple and White," a program to offer affordable vacations and discounts for U.S. military personnel from Massachusetts who are returning from active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant (SSG) Michael Blake, U.S. Army, contacted the chamber with the idea for the program. Chamber executive director Nancy Gardella said Sergeant Blake explained how hard longer tours of duty are on military families, emotionally and financially. "His thinking was that Martha's Vineyard is a great place for families who save all year to come here anyway, and that it would be nice to create an environment for military spouses and families to reconnect here," Ms. Gardella said.
A native Islander whose parents live here, Sergeant Blake completed two tours in Iraq and currently is stationed in Texas. He chose the colors in the program's name in honor of his alma mater, Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
The chamber is coordinating the program. Business members who offer accommodations may sign in at the chamber's web site, www.mvy.com, to post discounted rates for military personnel under the category "special offers." The Mansion House Inn already came on board, offering a 20 percent discounted room rate to returning veterans.
Business members who would like to offer discount coupons and gift certificates for restaurants, transportation, and activities may submit them to the chamber office for distribution.
Sergeant Blake will help get the word out to service personnel through military base offices, newspapers, and e-mail. Dukes County Veterans Agent Jo Ann Murphy offered to notify the veterans service officers in Massachusetts.
For more information, call Ms. Dellatorre at 508-693-4486, ext. 13. For assistance with posting special offers online, call Christy Parker at the same number,