This week is a special time of remembrance and celebration. Veterans Day 2016 is the 78th since it became a national holiday in 1938. On that day and into the weekend, families will celebrate those in military service and also remember those service men and women who have passed on.
Some of our local businesses are pulling out all the stops to help make veterans and active duty military personnel feel special on November 11th.
Mint Hill Rock Store BBQ is offering a free sandwich combo to veterans. Shomars Restaurant in Mint Hill is offering something special for those who have serviced in the military.
The Americana Restaurant in nearby Matthews is offering a free meal of the veteran’s choice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The nationwide chain, Great Clips is offering free haircuts. For our Mint Hill location, veterans can either get a free haircut or pick up a card on November 11th for a haircut to use sometime before December 31st of this year.
National chain restaurants may offer free appetizers or even free meals. This year, Outback is offering a free Bloomin’ Onion and beverage. Applebees is allowing vets to eat free from a Veterans Day menu all day.
California Pizza Kitchen is giving away free entrees to veterans. There are tons of other promotions including a free oil change from Meineke Car Care Centers, including the Matthews location.
Just be aware that for all these promotions, you may have to wait in line. (For more promotions, visit http://www.operationwearehere.com/VeteransDayPromotions.html).
Amidst all the celebration, we often turn our thoughts to those veterans who are no longer with us. While Memorial Day is the national holiday to remember those who died in service, Veterans Day encompasses all those who have served in the military.
Michael Neddo has a special place in his heart for veterans. His stepfather served in Vietnam and his grandfather in World War II. As owner of Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home in Mint Hill, he has made it his priority to honor veterans in whatever manner the family chooses.
Lowe-Neddo exclusively offers Thirteen Folds, a program designed to help veterans understand their benefits, recognize their service, and honor their legacy.
This includes a special Veteran’s Planning Guide for services where the vets can choose a special headstone, apply to use the American flag in the service, and even receive copies of their discharge records. Michael tailors the service to the family’s wishes. “If it’s not as unique as the life it represents, it’s not a proper funeral,” he says.
One little-known service Michael can help with is the Veterans Burial Benefits. Through this program, veterans can get help with the cemetery site preparation and a headstone, a savings of between $6,000 and $7,000 in some cases.
All veterans who were discharged other than dishonorably can qualify for the program. Michael and his staff are always glad to meet with folks who are interested to talk about these options free of charge.
One of the unique items that Michael has available to help remember a loved one, whether or not a veteran, is a “Tribute Blanket.” Michael takes great care to design the blanket in such a way that both honors the loved one and also reminds those of us left behind about who that person was in life.
The Tribute Blanket hanging in the foyer at Lowe-Neddo is special to Michael and his wife, Julie, who co-own the funeral home. When Julie’s grandfather, Mario Allenzo, himself a small business owner, died in 2012, Julie used the gift from her grandfather’s estate to purchase the business and keep it family owned.
Michael designed the Tribute Blanket to honor Mario and used a photo of Mario and his wife, Alice. Michael added yellow roses to the bottom of the blanket as a reminder of Mario’s favorite gift to Alice.
Michael points out that the Tribute Blanket is not solely to commemorate a loved one’s death. It can be a token of any of life’s milestones such as a graduation, marriage, or even a family portrait. He can offer his design skills to anyone interested in purchasing one. “Every life is unique,” he says. “I want to celebrate that.”
As you think about upcoming Veterans Day, there are many ways you can thank a veteran. A simple “thank you for your service” is a good way to start. So we say Thank You to all of our area veterans and active duty service men and women from Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home and the staff of The Mint Hill Times.