Veterans assistance programs can come in many forms and from all different segments of the community. Local government, federal organizations, business owners and private citizens all have unique parts to play in making life a little better for military personnel after their return from the service. Often, helpful ideas come from alliances between the public and private sectors, with both sides bringing ideas and capabilities to the table. Small-business owners, nonprofit operators and local government members looking for ways to show appreciation for the vets in their community can look to the following examples for inspiration.

Discounts and benefits in North Carolina
Guildford County, North Carolina, has seen success with its Thank A Vet program over the past year, area news provider News & Record reported. This initiative was created by the county's Register of Deeds office. Veterans who process their release or discharge papers through the county receive an ID card that qualifies them for discounts and bonuses at a variety of local businesses. While registering, the vet can also sign up for Veterans Administration benefits, thus combining important long-term services with helpful everyday advantages.

Jeff Thigpen, the county employee who hatched the idea for the program, explained that it is a positive force people from all sides of the political spectrum can agree on. Nearly 300 local companies  offer discounts based on the Thank A Vet ID cards, and 1,424 participants have signed up for the program thus far. The success of the initiative has made it a model for other communities – six more regions have joined since Thank A Vet began.

"Local business leaders can also have a positive effect through one-time donations."

Donations for a California nonprofit
While the above programs displayed the value of long-term alliances between small companies and government agencies, local business leaders can also have a positive effect through one-time donations to nonprofits. Your Central Valley recently highlighted A Combat Veteran's Hope, an organization designed to help service members transition back to civilian life. The nonprofit has received strong contributions from company owners to help it keep up with its mission.

The news provider reported that the latest donation to the group was $25,000 from HR Mobile Services and its CEO Kenneth Hernandez. A Combat Veteran's Hope has spent a year ensuring that veterans who return to civilian life don't become isolated or cut off from the outside world. They achieve the goal through hosting events such as golfing, fishing and softball games. The latest contribution will be paid over five years, providing periodic infusions of funds to keep the nonprofit operating.

The power of teamwork
When local companies and veterans groups get together, the results can be more positive than if the organizations tried to help separately. Giving money or services to programs designed to assist military personnel is a great way to show that a company is a responsible part of its community, and one that wants to show appreciation for vets' service and sacrifices. There's no one set way to create such an alliance and every town and city will have its own unique situation.