Advancing National Service

Everyone Should Stay Warm During the Winter — Especially America’s Heroes

December 2, 2015
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Everyone Should Stay Warm During the Winter — Especially America’s Heroes
After returning to civilian life, veterans can struggle to afford monthly bills. Suburban Propane is helping to reduce their financial burdens. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Approximately 50,000 veterans are homeless, but even those that have roofs over their heads can struggle. Which is why this fuel company is stepping up to help.

Excluding Veterans Day and Memorial Day, it can be easy to forget the sacrifices that America’s former military personnel made on our country’s behalf. This winter, a national fuel retailer is stepping up to do something more for veterans, providing savings on an essential utility to help them stay warm.

Suburban Propane, a public company with headquarters in New Jersey and 700 locations in 41 states, is offering a special on the next delivery of 100 gallons or more of gas to households where a veteran or active-duty service member lives. For new customers with military ties, Suburban Propane will take $10 off the bill of their first delivery of 100 gallons or more and comp all charges for the change-out, safety check and the tank’s first year of rent. Existing customers have the opportunity to take advantage of the savings as well; they can receive $10 off the next delivery of 100 gallons or more, and by referring another veteran, they can earn an additional 35 gallons of fuel added to their next order.

Across the country, at least 49,900 veterans sleep on the streets on any given night. The shock of combat can make holding down a job, keeping up with bills and being responsible for other aspects of day-to-day civilian life difficult. Suburban Propane decided to lessen the financial burden on veterans after senior management realized how many of their colleagues had military ties, says Mark Wienberg, the company’s chief development officer.

Of Suburban Propane’s 3,600 employees, “many have family members who are veterans or are veterans themselves. Many have sons or daughters, nieces or nephews who are currently deployed. The head of human resources here is a veteran of the Marines. One guy that managed a local service center and is now overseeing our fleet and tank assets, he’s a military vet,” Wienberg says. The savings offer is “our way of giving back to those who have given for us,” he says.

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And it’s a way to reach veterans as the company ramps up recruiting efforts, offering military personnel employment opportunities. “Many, in their duty to the nation, have performed services that are similar to what we do here, driving major trucks and vehicles,” Wienberg explains. “Someone who comes back from duty could be a service technician, or an officer might run a service center.” The company is currently working with lawmakers on legislation at the state level that would streamline the licensing process for veterans who drove vehicles of a similar class overseas. “We’ll do whatever we can to assist them,” Wienberg stresses.

James Marentette, who was stationed on a Navy aircraft carrier in the 1950s, and his wife Cindy, recently signed up for the deal. The couple, who have a grandson serving in the Air Force, met in church after losing their spouses to cancer and now live together in Crossville, Tenn. Frustrated by their previous gas provider’s poor customer service, they switched to Suburban Propane two years ago at their daughter’s suggestion. The special savings for veterans has helped their pocketbooks, as they rely on fixed income from Social Security and a small pension.

“There is nothing more rewarding than serving your country. Not everyone has that privilege — and I considered it a privilege to do that. To be recognized by a company like Suburban, even in a small way, just means so much to me and so much to all of our friends too,” says Jim. “You get a lot of discounts in restaurants and things like that, but I never heard of a company that supplies utilities to homes helping vets.”

“We think it’s wonderful,” Cindy chimes in, “and we’re so thankful. It makes us feel like people really care.”

The offer is good for one delivery taken by March 31, 2016.

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