Military 1st Program Honors Those Who Serve

22 May 2017

There are more than 7 million active military members and veterans who made a choice they’re proud of — the choice to serve.

Their completely selfless act takes them away from family, friends and the comforts of home. They miss holidays, first steps, wedding vows and soccer games. Most importantly, they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice as they serve their country and protect people in their communities they may never meet.

Like many, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM is forever grateful for the military’s bravery and sacrifice. But saying, “thank you,” isn’t enough. So, inspired by the very men and women who serve, Country decided to take action to make a difference.

Moved by this opportunity to do more, Mackenzie Childress, Senior Brand Marketing Specialist at Country Inns & Suites, dedicated her time, heart and energy into helping develop a program that would give military members, veterans and their spouses the recognition they deserve. “We wanted to show our gratitude in a special way,” she shared. 

“We believe that those who have dedicated themselves to a higher level of service should be put first.”

Within their own ranks, Country Inns & Suites has several men and women who have served. So the idea to create a special program that honored the military was met with tremendous support. “They go the extra mile to serve our country,” said Childress. “So we found a way to go the extra mile to make them feel at home.”

Country Inns & Suites is proud to introduce the Military 1st Program. Focused on extending superior service to military members, veterans and their families, the program welcomes them home to Country Inns & Suites by offering the following perks at check-in:

  • Special military rate
  • Upgrade to the best available room
  • Club CarlsonSM Silver Elite Status after first stay

And while Country is humbled to be able to extend our appreciation and support through the Military 1st Program, the unfortunate truth is that there are members of the military who are still far from home.

To ensure they never feel forgotten, the Military 1st Program also includes a special partnership with Operation Gratitude® – a non-profit, volunteer-based company dedicated to expressing appreciation to all who serve our nation.

“This partnership is so meaningful because Country provides a home-like experience to every guest, and Operation Gratitude provides a little piece of home to those who are far from it,” Childress explains.

To support Operation Gratitude’s mission, Country Inns & Suites created letter-writing stations at every hotel so guests can write and send thank-you notes to members of the military. These letters accompany care packages that lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the military and first responder communities overseas.

In just two months, over 5,525 thank-you letters have been collected. Chris Clark, Chief Development Officer for Operation Gratitude, describes why this partnership makes an immeasurable impact. 

"We send over 200,000 packages annually to recruits, veterans, first responders, wounded heroes and U.S. Service Members overseas. The packages include letters of appreciation – making the letter writing campaign with Country exciting for us."

The next time you stay at a Country Inns & Suites hotel, look for the Operation Gratitude thank-you station. Please take just a moment to express your gratitude and help ensure our military never feel too far from home.

To our active military, veterans, and your families, Country Inns & Suites gives a heartfelt thank you. We'd be honored to host and serve you with our Military 1st program at any of our hotels in the U.S. and Canada. 

We can’t thank you enough. But we’re certainly going to try.

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