Lions, tigers, bears...and over 24,000 people could be found at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday, July 5. The exceptional attendance was drawn in large part by the Columbus VA's annual Welcome Home event for military members and their families. Military Veterans Resource Center was invited to participate as a vendor in the Welcome Home community services fair. We couldn't have asked for a better day for veterans and their families.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, our staff arrived at the zoo with two SUVs full of shirts, hats, informational packets and DVDs (generously donated by AMVETS) for veterans and their families. Throughout the event, a constant line of veterans and their kids waited to get into the services fair and visit with the event's participating organizations. By the day's end, our staff greeted more than 500 veterans and their families and shared with them the career services we offer job seeking veterans.
"Seeing the look of joy on the veterans' faces at getting to spend time with their family at the Zoo made the holiday weekend that much more special," said Military Veterans Resource Center Executive Director, Len Proper.
Each year, the Columbus VA hosts the Welcome Home event as a fun way to celebrate Ohio's service members. All active and retired military members and their immediate families received free Zoo admission, and in addition to the community services fair, had the opportunity to enjoy lunch and live entertainment in a special Welcome Home Activity area.
For those who missed the event, but love the zoo, the Columbus Zoo offers a military discount for active and retired military personnel year round.