Greenlight a Vet movement encourages new way of showing veteran support

Published 9:58 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

By John Simpson

This Veterans Day, as everyone shows their appreciation to the vets they know, a new issue has arisen. How do you show appreciation to the vets you don’t know?
Veterans are all around us, yet they remain in camouflage without being in uniform. We pass by them without even noticing, as they remain perfectly hidden in civilian life. Being hidden, it makes it hard for the rest of us to reach out and show them the support and appreciation they deserve.
There is a new movement to change that. Greenlight a Vet allows Americans to show their support and appreciation for their local veterans, even if they do not know them.
Why greenlight? The color green is associated with many different aspects of life. To some the color green brings up thoughts of nature, to others it brings up thoughts of money. However, to all, it is the international symbol for go. Green is associated with moving forward, and that is the mentality behind the initiative. Move vets forward.
The movement hit the ground running in 2015. It started as combined effort of the military affairs branch of Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart marking teams in partnership with the non-profits they work with. The goal was simple; they wanted to drive the conversation about helping veterans transition back to civilian life.
Involvement was simple. People were to replace a light bulb in a visible area from white to green. Be it a porch light, a lamp in a window, or any visible area, and the green light would show your support for veterans.
What they set in motion that day has snowballed in to a 4.8 million-person movement with participants across all 50 states. According to Blair Cromwell, a Senior Manager in opportunity with Wal-Mart, the movement was only in pockets last year. However, the Fisher House helped change that.
The Fisher House provided the launchpad that Greenlight a Vet needed. Fisher House provides the families of injured veterans with free or low cost housing near the treatment facilities their loved ones are recovering in. With locations all over the country, the Fisher House supported Greenlight a Vet at their locations and incorporated social media to the equation.
#GreenlightAVet became the way to show your support. It has evolved in to an entire social media campaign, once the light is replaced, supporters are encouraged to take a picture of the light and post it to all social media sites with #GreenlightAVet.
Also, supporters can register their lights online at and show veterans in the area they are appreciated.
Although the initiative’s genesis was with Wal-Mart, the goal is to keep the movement going with or without Wal-Mart’s support according to Cromwell. The focus is to remain solely on the vets.
Support here in Georgia has been successful, and the Georgia Dome is set to be illuminated green to show support for the movement. If you would like to be a part of Greenlight a Vet, all it takes is replacing a bulb of yours with a green one. There is no donation required. Supporters are encouraged to share their support on social media, and to register their light on
As you prepare to honor veterans this year, make it a goal to support all vets. An action as simple as changing a light bulb could make a profound impact on a veteran you do not know, it is a way to finally say “thank you.”

Email newsletter signup