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Posted: 10/19/2008 4:45:59 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/19/2008 4:47:58 AM EST by ABN_Ranger]
My name is Dan Garza and I am a small business owner and recently decided to put that aside and follow my passion. When I visit the VA for health treatment and I am around all my brothers and sisters, I feel like I belong to something greater than myself…I leave walking away feeling content…looking forward to my next visit.

I need advice for the mission (OEG) “Operation Enduring Gratitude”. My vision is for there to be a national network (VETNET) of retailers and service providers that will see the value… become members, supporters, sponsors, underwriters and provide discounts on services and products to our US Veterans while proudly displaying the VETNET sticker next to MasterCard and Visa on their front door. In my opinion our country seriously lacks in the “thank you for your service” department…it is not military’s job to take care of them any more … they need to be embraced by our nation in a way that sets them apart from ordinary citizens…as America’s Sons and Daughters

There are many ways to pursue OEG and think non-profit is the only way to go. I have some serious obstacles ahead and have identified what I feel needs to be accomplished first.

1. Legally identifying our VETS is paramount…we receive a form called a DD- 214 upon exit and that is it (unless retired). If VETS cannot be identified, merchants cannot provide their discounted services. There are several solutions.
• Issue ID upon exit but updating and reissue would be inconvenient.
• State Drivers License would be excellent…have a little box to be checked marked next to the organ donor box. This creates a problem for me because I don’t have the knowledge on how to get this accomplished through legislation.

2. Setting up OEG and trade marking VETNET…need advice here.

3. Of course we are going to need the money to do all this…I am working on the budget and realize all needs to be public record.

4. National Exposure…having a spokes person.

While VETNET is part of OEG, I foresee OEG pursuing addtional issues that are separate from VETNET. One issue OEG would pursue is fishing and hunting licenses as well as camping in State or Federal Parks. It is my belief that a VET should not have to pay to fish, hunt or camp anywhere in the USA…special tags would be the exception.

I am filled with ideas that relate to this matter and have the passion to begin this mission but need some help. I thought it would be a good idea to contact other organizations and seek their advice.

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