In advance of Veterans Day, hundreds of counties have demonstrated appreciation and support for America’s veterans this week, from November 7-13, 2022. Across the nation, government buildings in participating counties, parishes, and boroughs are illuminated in green as part of Operation Green Light for Veterans.
This new initiative is spearheaded by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO). It is designed to raise awareness about the challenges veterans face and the resources available to assist them and their families at the county, state, and federal levels. In addition to lighting county buildings, states, municipalities, residents, businesses and community organizations have also been encouraged to participate.
Operation Green Light for Veterans builds on the successful efforts of the New York State Association of Counties and the NYS County Veteran Service Officers’ Association in 2021.
“Operation Green Light for Veterans is a simple way to express our profound gratitude for the immeasurable sacrifices our veterans have made to protect our country and our way of life,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “By shining a green light, we are sending the message that veterans are seen, appreciated and supported.”
Along with illuminating offices, infrastructure and courthouses, county governments are working with community partners to light up landmarks and businesses, including the Amazon Spheres in King County, WA; Amazon’s HQ2 in Arlington County, VA; Amazon Fulfillment Center DEN2 in Adams County, CO; the PayPal building in Douglas County, NE; the Cleveland Terminal Tower in Lake County, OH; the Maryland Governor’s Mansion; the North Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs; the Grand Park Fountain in Los Angeles County, CA; and New York City Hall.
Counties, parishes, and boroughs across the nation have adopted resolutions or proclamations supporting Operation Green Light for Veterans, issued press releases, developed web pages, and sent letters to residents and community partners encouraging them to join the effort. Other examples of participation include inviting veterans to a breakfast launching Operation Green Light at a county records building and encouraging them to register for benefits and other services while there, or hosting a service in the park, voting drive, “Ruck March,” community dinner, and grand opening of a new regional Veterans Counseling Hub to honor the county’s veterans and connect them with key resources.
Earlier this year, NACo and NACVSO announced Amazon as an official partner of Operation Green Light for Veterans. Amazon supported the operation by shipping green light bulbs to each of the 3,069 counties, boroughs, and parishes across the United States and offering Amazon Business as a convenient location for counties to purchase supplies needed to light public buildings green.
“At Amazon, we recognize the value that veterans bring to our company. We’re honored to have more than 40,000 veterans and military spouses working with us around the globe, and that’s why we pledged to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses by 2024,” said John Quintas, Director of Inclusive Communities at Amazon and retired Air Force General. “Through our partnership with the National Association of Counties, we’re continuing our support of veterans and their families. We hope to inspire organizations across the country as they seek to hire, retain, and provide resources to all former service members in our communities.”
America’s counties are home to 17.5 million veterans, and counties help veterans access a wide range of service-connected federal benefits, a process facilitated by County Veterans Service Officers in 29 states. Counties are deeply invested in veterans’ health and well-being, often assisting with pension and disability benefits, housing, employment and education, and mental health services that treat trauma and prevent suicide.
To support counties in serving more veterans, especially in underserved and under-resourced rural areas, NACo is advocating for the passage bipartisan Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach (CVSO) Act.
“Working with our federal, state and local partners, America’s counties play a key role in serving veterans and ensuring that they have access to the resources they need, especially as they transition to civilian life,” said Winfrey. “We want to make sure our veterans know that their service mattered, and now, it is our turn to serve them.”
To view the map of counties across the nation that are taking part, visit this link on the NACO website.