Vet Tix: A Navy Veteran’s way of honoring those who served


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Eight years ago, I was thrilled to attend Super Bowl XLII, which pitted the New York Giants against the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona. Before the game, I watched with pride as the military color guard marched on the field, but as soon as they were done, I watched them march off the field and continue right out of the stadium. Though they were an integral part of the pomp and circumstance, those Servicemembers did not get to stay to watch the game.

After making that observation, I became aware of a number of empty seats scattered throughout the stadium. Throughout the game, I continued to think about how much it would have meant to me to be able to sit in one of those seats during my time as a young sailor, and how much every single one of America’s Servicemembers and Veterans would probably enjoy sitting in those empty seats, too. So, I decided to do something to fill those seats.

Vet Tix logoThat experience directly inspired me to found the non-profit Veteran Tickets Foundation — Vet Tix — with the goal of giving free tickets to Servicemembers and Veterans to help them relax, strengthen relationships and connect with their communities.

Since making that decision, it’s been amazing to see Vet Tix grow into a substantial organization that is a major part of the Veteran and military communities. Today, more than 475,000 verified Veterans and Servicemembers have officially registered as Vet Tixers and are able to enter lotteries for tickets through the Tickets for Troops program, or apply for the experience of a lifetime through Hero’s Wish. Vet Tix has provided more than 2.5 million tickets for events across the country ranging from college and professional sports to concerts and theater performances.

Not only are we providing Veterans with exciting experiences, but we’re employing Veterans, too. I’m proud to say that two-thirds of our employees are either Veterans or military family members.

I was born into a military family. Both of my grandfathers saw action during World War II and my father served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era. I have seen firsthand the challenges families and Servicemembers face during extended absences, whether they are overseas, here at home, in combat or in training. But I’ve also seen the joy that reunions bring, the invaluable skills gained through service, and the incredible bonds created through military brother and sisterhood.

picture of Tavws at a football game

Army Veteran Phillip Taves at a NCAA football game

I know in my heart that to many Vet Tixers and their families, the Tickets for Troops program is about much more than just getting tickets and enjoying a fun night out; it’s a way that they can connect with their families, communities, and even their military brothers and sisters. Vet Tix also has the potential to provide members with opportunities to heal or battle through hidden wounds that may be present. We’re doing more than just thanking Veterans on Veterans Day; we’re supporting them year round, ensuring that every day is a Veterans day.

One of our Vet Tixers, Army Veteran Phillip Taves, recently attended a NCAA football game between the Washington Huskies and Colorado Buffaloes on Dec. 6. Taves was able to not only enjoy a night out with his family, but also connect back to the military community.

He wrote to us that, “My kids and I really enjoyed the game a lot. There were a number of other Vets sitting nearby and we all had a good chance to talk about various military issues and remember the good old days while watching a game.”

In addition to Tickets for Troops, Vet Tix provides customized opportunities for those who have shouldered the hardest burdens of military service. Severely wounded Veterans, families of men and women killed in action, and recently deployed active duty personnel can apply for the Hero’s Wish program, in which we actively fundraise to help send them to an event that is high on their personal bucket list.

One of my most favorite Hero’s Wish stories is that of Army First Lt. Moses Woo. Woo recently had his wish filled after returning home from Afghanistan and received coveted tickets to the smash hit musical Hamilton.

image of Woo with friends“Hamilton is a show is about one of our founding fathers, and his successes. He had the ability to leave St. Croix, join the military, become a statesman, and one of our treasury secretaries,” Woo wrote us in requesting a Hero’s Wish. “My family has supported me through all the training, deployment, and time away from home. Most recently, I did a tour to Afghanistan and it really took a toll on my parents in terms of worrying and being separated from me. I would just like to treat them to something nice and to show them how the sacrifices can also be rewarding. Alexander Hamilton’s sacrifices also allowed him to be successful and to be one of our great founding fathers, and I’d like to show my family this great man’s experience,” he said.

So, you might be thinking, “What’s the catch”? There isn’t one. Vet Tix was created by members of our military and Veteran communities, for our military and Veteran communities, and all Vet Tix events are made possible by donations from sponsors, partner organizations, and regular people just like you and me.

You can learn more about our work and sign up to become a Vet Tixer by visiting www.VetTix.org.


mikefocaretoMichael A Focareto III is Vet Tix’s chief executive officer, founder, and president of the board. He is a disabled Veteran of the U.S. Navy (1988-1992) serving during the first Gulf War. Michael was a Naval Nuclear Engineer aboard the USS Virginia (CGN-38).

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VAntagePoint Contributor

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Comments

  1. Greg Creech    

    I had never heard of your great contribution to the Veterans and active duty military personnel until now. The legacy of your ides will go on long past your time here. Thank you.

  2. Tim Callahan    

    How much does this non-profit pay its staff?

  3. christopher Histed    

    As a veteran who helps as much as i can, i am always amazed how others go out do wonders. how can be able to do this same event for my local vets here in kempner TX

  4. Kenneth Mark Floyd    

    It must be nice I’m always hearing about organizations and people helping veterans but never had the honor of being one of those veterans. However looking over all the pictures and reading the stories about it it seems to be just like everything else in today’s society these free tickets and stuff like that goes to people that look like they can already afford it anyway. That probably got out of military with higher rank not us we got out at low rank and didn’t do nothing outstanding or have a great job in the community well that’s all I got to say but thanks are you coming you said to help those veterans that really need help

  5. Thomas Klingman    

    Thanks to this kindly organization for it’s generosity this was an email I gladly received
    Tom Vietnam navy vet
    Ed brother Vietnam marine vet
    Father Tom airforce WW2 vet

  6. Scott Williams    

    Great work Michael!

    Thank you for your efforts to help veterans and their families! Hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
    Sincerely,

    Scott Williams
    1985-1992
    CPT, US Army

  7. Scott Williams    

    Thank you Michael for your efforts to help veterans. I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
    Sincerely,

    Scott Williams
    CPT, US Army
    1985-1992

  8. PEACHES DIAMOND    

    I am a veteran who honorably served I. The US Navy and find your efforts to provide tickets are outstanding! I am also an unemployed disabled veteran and am trying our for the USA National Dragon boat team for the World Cup in 2017…and support you may provide would be a blessing!

    Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah

    Peaches L. Diamond

  9. Nicandro R Benavides    

    Thank you so much for what you do for our Veterans. I too am a Veteran, I served from 25August80 to 24August83 in the United States Marine Corp.
    I would live to attend an NFL game if possible.
    Please consider send me and my special LADY to a game.
    May God continue to bless your special journey in helping Vetearns of our Armed Forces.
    Peace
    Nick

  10. Paul C Lint    

    What a wonderful contribution for all who are and have served. I have many times wanted to buy tickets but found them too expensive . This program does allow a lot of veterans to feel the joy of attending events they otherwise could not afford. Thank you for your service and great contribution to us veterans. Paul C Lint Disabled Vietnam Veteran

  11. David Gorman    

    How do I take advantage of Vet Tix opportunity. Website says i already have account.

  12. Paul Seeley    

    This is a wonderful organization and in its way of helping all Veterans to relax and enjoy themselves for a while.

  13. Missy Nelson    

    That is SO fabulous! I work with homeless veterans in Muncie, IN…they deserve all the perks we can give them! Kudos and thank you for all you do!

  14. Regina MAHOLMES    

    Thank you for thinking of us veterans.

  15. Michael KeepinItReal Hale    

    I’ve used Vet Tix on several occasions and was very pleased. Thanks

  16. Mel Feldman    

    As a 76 yr old veteran, I think that this is a great idea. More vets need to go out and would really appreciate this gesture.

  17. Mel Feldman    

    I am also putting together a senior shopper shuttle run by veterans in San Antonio/Bexar County Texas which will fulfill
    the needs of the underserved 350,000 senior community. Three entities will benefit 1 -Veterans will get JOBS
    2 -Seniors will become more Mobile 3 -It will be a huge boost for the ECONOMY

  18. Wayne Foster    

    I’d like to opportunity to go just about anywhere. Two tickets would be idea, but in all honesty, I haven’t a clue about who I could ask to accompany me.

  19. John T. Draper    

    Trying to reset my password.

  20. Jan Gregory Venable    

    How are the Vets picked? Do they get nominated by someone, or is it location?

  21. Richard Olesen    

    What information do you need from me Vietnam veteran USMC in country 1967-1968-1969 4th bn. 12th marines 3 rd marine division. I am currently 100 per cent disabled due to PTSD

  22. Albert E Harrison    

    Hello, my name is Albert Harrison, and I am a Disabled Navy Veteran living in a Veteran CRC, (that’s a Community Residential Center) and I was wondering how We as a whole could possibly get Tickets through your Organization.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

  23. Paul Brown    

    I have received a few set of tickets from VetTix and could not be happier. I am a disableday Army Veteran and am seriously financially destitute. VetTix has brought inexpensive joy to my life, God Bless them for all they do.
    It is so great to see them get recognition from the Va.
    God Bless all, Merry Christmas,

    Paul Brown

  24. Jason Pica    

    I am a US veteran im interested in attending any of the professional indoor sporting events. I have gone to one pro basketball game would like to get a chance to go back.

  25. Kim Jackson    

    Mr Thomas McCoy. MP Vietnam Veterans a very loving caring Solider.He spend is day being support of other veteran’s struggling with PTSD..here in Baltimore City were he lives and servers even though he’s had his own Struggles at 72 years of Age..He always had a kind word to share ….” He often say …A kind word changes lives all over the world even in foreign countries…

  26. john digilio    

    love that someone cares for vets

  27. john digilio    

    while vets were serving there country and being shot at, instead of going to work and making a lot of money
    and complaining that life was tough.god bless you people it will come back ten fold on your family one day

  28. Arthur Balandra    

    Can I get tickets to see a NASCAR race?

  29. Jose A. Lopez    

    Dear Michael,
    Kudos to a proud American willing to help us Veterans of the forgotten Vietnam War. I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran and avid Dallas Cowboy Fan. I have never been able to attend a Cowboy game and this year they are about to make it to the Super Bowl. How fantastic would it be if My Grandson Diego and I could make it to one of their games, or even better to see them in this years Super Bowl. I hope my dream can become true.
    Sgt Jose Antonio Lopez
    5th Special Forces Group
    Vietnam Veteran 1972

  30. Jose A. Lopez    

    I hope TIX VET provides my dream!

  31. Dante Kimble    

    GLAD to hear about this! Im a DISABLED COMBAT VET of a FEW wars WITH 82d AIRBORNE INFANTRY out of Ft. Bragg, N.C. Currently living in Bunker Hill, WV how can I become a participant? I’ve NEVER HAD any opportunity at NUTHN for MILITARY/VETS. I’m a DIE HARD sports and Music Fan! What about us INDIGENT veterans? Have WE or veterans of PAST wars BEEN forgotten? Thanks for ALL you DO! Dante Kimble LIFE member DAV, 32d DEGREE Mason,PAST MASTER, KSA, KOP. theemporium.

  32. Jose A. Lopez    

    How many times do I have to do this?

  33. Jerry Segalla    

    This may be a scam. I applied 6 months ago and still have not been “verified”. I can be verified right away if I pay a fee.

  34. Kim Scarpa    

    My father is a army vet. He is 67 and has c.o.p.d. and is on oxygen. He has never been to a pro. game of any sort. He love’s the colts and I was wondering if you wounder if you would consider him for your ticket program. I my self can not afford the tickets. It would a dream come true for him. Sincerely Kim Scarpa

  35. james koslosky    

    Good work. Sign me up for free tickets. Thanks

  36. Ray rose    

    How would a vet such as myself sign up for tickets?

  37. Barbara Pumyea    

    My husband Robert A Pumyea (P3376) is a 100% Disabled Vet from the Vietnam conflict. He is in dire need of a Service / Therapy Dog to help keep him on an even keel. He needs it even MORE now that I have been diagnosed with a particularly aggressive cancer and will be operated on next month. We have no idea where any of this will lead but he is TERRIFIED and this is not helping either him or me.
    Where you do so much for these Disabled Vets I was hoping you could get a Service / Therapy dog for him to be his companion and help him not only deal with his own stress but help him mentally deal with what I may have to go through. If I know he is being helped it will lighten the load on my mind.

    Thank you for any help you can give him

    Barbara Pumyea

  38. Will Meadows Jr    

    I would love to see a Washington Redskins football game. I think what you are doing is so great for us veterans. I’m a US ARMY veteran

  39. Will Meadows Jr    

    To anyone who sees this. My name is Will Meadows. I’m a veteran and I know this is short notice. I have 3 beautiful daughters and I’m needing help to have some type of Xmas for them. They’re ages are 5,4,and 1 yrs old. If someone could help I’d greatly appreciate it. God bless you and have a merry Christmas.

  40. Carl Thomas jr    

    I’m a veteran I would like to have free tickets to games and help out. I move here from Chicago. And I love az.there is really help here for the veterans.

  41. CW Estep    

    This email is wonderful, I am speechless, Thank you. I too am a vet 1964-1967.

  42. Russ J. Toell    

    Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to all of my Brothers and Sisters. HOO-AH!!!

  43. Don SHAFER    

    Awesome thanks for all you do!!

  44. Marilynn Russell    

    I have belonged to the organization for years and I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are. We have been to concerts and many sporting events, rodeos, just so many things. I love them and thank them so much for being there for us Veterans. Again, just want to thank them for being there for me and my family. Marilynn Russell

  45. jimmie w fields    

    I am a united States marine Corps veteran and I am so glad that people are finally understanding what we all went through and just hearing people say thanks sure hits the heart. All men gave some, some men gave all.

  46. theron biglow    

    im a disabled war veteran in alaska with a small family . we dont get to do much and would love tickets to an event.

  47. RONALD MURRAY    

    I am a Disabled Army Veteran living in New Jersey and I would like more information about receiving free tickets to events.

  48. Ed Henselder    

    Great job. I’m 83 now and I spent 4 years in the Navy during the Korean War, but never participated in combat. What you’re doing is a fantastic thing. I’d strongly suggest that you give first priority for the tickets to those who were injured in combat,then those who served in combat zones and give last priority to those like me who who were not injured in combat and didn’t serve in combat zones.

  49. William Pettigrew Jr    

    How do you join Vettix.come. Even though I live in Harrisburg, PA.,am I eligible for the tickets.

  50. Will Meadows Jr    

    It’s Will Meadows just anyone that can help my email address is … Once again thank you.

  51. Craig Wood    

    I live in bay area am 100# disabled Vietnam vet wanting tickets to Hamilton.iam wheelchair bound.
    Craig Wood

    1. Craig Wood    

      Hamilton tickets for San Francisco

  52. David marcel long    

    I am a veteran of vietnam and I am 100% disability. I have never gone to a bronco game I wish i could see at least one in my life time. signed retired SFC. David M, Long

  53. keith bernard jones    

    Hello my name is Keith Jones I serve 4 half years in The USMC I serve in the Desert Storm/Gulf War I was there from the start. Plus a couple of off book anyway I do receive disability. I’m a proud Marine and I don’t ask for anything I can’t work for. But my life dream has to go to a Tampa Bay Buc game I have been a fan since Doug Williams I’m have his Jersey one day I hope to get him to sign it. I want to go but I could never afford to go. If you can bless me with that dream/bucket list would be great. Thank you for your time.
    Keith B. Jones
    “Marine for life”

  54. Alvin Webster    

    HI I’m 63 years old and have never been to a live football game, I’m from New Orleans and a devoted Saints fan. But do to my wife’s health, and my mother’s age of 86,who also needs my help, coupled with a demanding job at auto dealership that’ about to fold,or sell out, which ever comes first. Keeping my life manageable has become quite difficult. I need a break. Recently, the dealership was purchased by a larger company, and they have informed me that I would not lose my tenure because of the change of ownership, and I will still receive my 2 week vacation accrued after working for the other dealership for 5 years,going on 6. So in January I would appreciate help of any kind,in getting either a ticket to the next super bowl or even a ticket to any Saints game. Iwould like to personally thank you Mr.Focareto for what you’re doing for those veteran that you’ve helped in the past, even if you can’t help me, Thanks for letting GOD use you. With Great Appreciation Naval Airdale Alvin Webster, from the Viet Nam Campaign Era.

  55. Milton Leonard Bozeman Jr    

    Hi, thank you men and women who word hard to help all us Vets to feel a part of by offering us tickets to games..

  56. Randell Briellards    

    Need help I’m not working at this time.

  57. Milton Leonard Bozeman Jr    

    Thank all of you so much for your hard work.

  58. mckinley harris, jr.    

    MY NAME IS KEN HARRIS I SERVED 4 YEARS IN THE US NAVY AT THE END OF THE VIET NAM WAR. IT IS GREAT TO SEE VETERANS HELPING VETERANS. JUST THIS WEEK A VETERAN RAN OUT OF GAS AND DID NOT HAVE MONEY TO GET HOME A HUNDRED MILES AWAY. I FELT GREAT PRIDE IN GIVING HIM $20 FOR GAS.

    BEST REGARDS,
    KEN HARRIS

  59. Mitch Slotnick    

    I salute you, Michael A Focareto III . Not too many of us disabled veterans can muster up the motivation and/or opportunity to carefully nurture that spark of inspiration necessary to take an idea and follow it through all the way to its wonderful end. As I too have many ideas that are centered around the veteran community at large and the service connected disabled veterans in particular. Perhaps reading stories such as this, might just light a candle under my you know what….and help me to bring one of them to fruition. G-d bless you Mike!
    Semper Fi,
    Mitch Slotnick

  60. Luis Angel Lugo Rosado    

    HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS YOU ALL, AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY BROTHERS FELLOW VETERANS. GOD BLESS YOU.

  61. mertiss j. thompson    

    I have facilitated Mindfulnessstresreduction Meditation classes at the seattle va. I also teach vets golf. working to get alternative healing methods into the va system

  62. Reginald N. Bright    

    Hello My name is Reginald and we live in Alaska I’m newly married however due to the my current and some past situations have never won any thing gotten any free stuff and most importantly my new wife and I have never had a break to even go on a honey moon! things are a little tough here in Alaska especially if you’re carrying the entire financial load for the family.

    I see people all the time winning things and wish it were possible for us to just get away from the riggers of life and just be! It’s been 3 years now and due to some back to back surgery’s I’ve been hampered by the recovery and plus the stress of my PTSD from 27 years of service.

    Is sit possible that some nobody Joe like me could attract the attention of and organization whom really helps vets smile at least once. Out here

  63. Larry byrom    

    You all are awesome for what you do seeing a game in person is great but as a vet on disability t.v. works just as good

  64. Matthew    

    Been a member of Veteran Tickets for a few years and I am a huge fan. My family has been able to see concerts, NCAA Football and Major League Soccer; Without the generosity of the teams/venues and the amazing staff at VetTix, we would have missed out.
    If you are eligible, please sign up. If you are capable of making donations, don’t hesitate; you’d be surprised at what your gift means.

  65. Alvin Brown    

    How do I get a free ticket? I’m on terminal leave now and retiring in Feb after 20 years of military service. I’m a huge cowboys fan. I would love to take me and my family to a cowboys game. It’s four of us.

  66. john lee    

    Great program, thanks for helping all our Vets. John Lee, USAF

  67. Earl "LeeBird" Hayes    

    I am a Navy Vet from the early ’80’s and have enjoyed many shows and events thru ‘VET-TIX” that I otherwise would have had to miss out on, if it were not for them. The shows were excellent, the seating was TOP-NOTCH and there is absolutely not the first complaint ever. The tickets were and are always right where Vet-Tix said they’d be without any issue or hassle. I felt like royalty, as the seats that were donated to the events I attended, were far better than I imagined. Way to go VET-TIX and I share their link and tell other vets about them every chance I get. keep up the great work vet-tix and I look foreward to many many more new and exciting shows and events thru vet-tix !!!

  68. Michael ray Brewet    

    I am 100 % disabled, my life is the Detroit Lions, I cannot afford tickets, however my heart is at every game. I know that I am sure someone else deserves it more. I have gave my life to our country and I am honored to have been given the chance to do so.

    If you have two tickets as my wife pushes me in a wheel chair. You will not regret as I will be the most greatful!

    Sincerely
    Michael Brewer SFC medically retired lead poisoning

  69. Hilario Torres    

    I am a Veteran and it is people you like that makes feel proud to be an American. Thanks and God bless you.

  70. Lorenzo Walters    

    I would like a chance on getting free tickets

  71. mem,e    

    does anybody work there that can answer a question about account and military security. I previously asked about tikcets and your allegeged info security program, but to date I have not received any rersponse back. there is a show tonight I would have liked to atenexed but your company/organization seems bogus (not event responding back). If you have any character buidsness or othgerwise send me a response back @

    1. Gary Hicks    

      I cannot find a record of your request. If you have questions or concerns about VAntage Point, please email us at Newmedia@VA.gov. Regarding tickets, you must contact http://www.vettix.org – the Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide tickets.

  72. meme    

    I just postee and commenet on your organization/company which clerly staes that you will not puiblish a private email yet your did . What kind of lack of intregrity and lack of ethics do you have . Also tickets requests were not previously answered and now you lie and say that emails addrss wont be pouiblished but yet they are. Are you a or employee former journalist who print whatever your feel like without any auhtrouization oir say(stae on thinfg but doi the opposiet

    1. Gary Hicks    

      Addresses entered into the email block are not visible to the public. However, email addresses entered into the body (this space) of the comment could be visible to the public. I do my best to catch those as they come in. I have searched both your name as well as the email address you provided and I cannot find it published anywhere on VAntage Point.

      Regarding tickets, you must contact http://www.vettix.org http://www.vettix.org – the Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide tickets. VetTix is a nonprofit corporation and not a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs. We shared the information in hopes that Veterans could benefit from the services they provide.

      If you feel that we (VAntage Point) has violated your trust in anyway, please send an email to NewMedia@VA.Gov with your concerns and we will address them.

  73. Walter L. Holton Jr.    

    I am here to find out about the web site as I am a 100% Disabled Veteran of the Coast Guard, I am 55 years old.
    Thank You
    Walter L. Holton Jr.

  74. Rolando Curtis    

    Hello, my name is Rolando Curtis I am a Vietnam Vet. I am looking for a couple of tickets for opening day of the Seattle Seahawks for 2017. Can any one help me.

    Thank You
    Rolando A.Curtis

Comments are closed.