Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sears Invites Americans to Celebrate Veterans Day and Give Back

PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In honor of its long-standing commitment to military servicemen and women on Veterans Day, Sears will kick-off its Heroes at Home Wish Registry today, to fulfill wishes for deserving military families and personnel this holiday season. Sears created the Heroes at Home Wish Registry to help make the wishes of members of the military come true for the holidays and enable Americans to provide a direct 'thank you' to them.

This fall, more than 29,000 active military members registered to participate in the Wish Registry at Sears.com. Sears heard from U.S. Service members around the world -- ranging from one soldier just wishing to spend the holidays with his family, to another wishing for simple items after his family's home was destroyed in a fire. One soldier wrote:

"When I met my wife for the first time it was love, romantic love like in the movies. Army life hasn't been easy on my wife or kids. I'm currently on my third tour in the Middle East. My family has sacrificed so much, and while material things could never replace being home for Christmas, just knowing they had a good one and were smiling on Christmas is a gift enough for me."

"The Heroes at Home Wish Registry enables all Americans to recognize and celebrate the commitment our military makes on behalf of our country everyday," said Don Hamblen, Sears' chief marketing officer. "The stories are touching and show how selfless these military families are and Sears couldn't be more proud to offer a program that helps make their holidays brighter."

The Heroes at Home Wish Registry works similar to a bridal registry. Now through Dec. 24, consumers can go to Sears.com, read the military families' stories, what they're wishing for, and may choose to donate to the Wish Registry. Upon making a donation, consumers can include a note to the families and wish them happy holidays. Donations made to the Wish Registry are not tax deductible and will be used to purchase Sears Gift Cards that will be equally distributed to all registered families, up to a maximum gift card amount of $550 per family. In the event that all registered families receive the maximum amount, all remaining sums will be donated to the United Services Organization (USO).

Sears partnered with the USO to help communicate the Wish Registry to military members, and will also make a $250,000 donation to support USO programs and services around the world. Active service personnel who participate in the Heroes at Home Wish Registry will remain anonymous to ensure compliance with the military's standards of conduct regulations.

Last year, Sears Holdings launched the Heroes at Home program to provide support to service members, veterans and their families through joint efforts with various nonprofit organizations, including Rebuilding Together, Inc. Since the program's inception, Sears Holdings has helped to rebuild or renovate more than 200 homes and has raised more than $5 million through the Heroes at Home program for Rebuilding Together. Coming up Nov. 15, the program will complete one of its many builds in Crestline, CA to assist disabled veteran Jeremy Wiessmiller.

Also on Veterans Day, My Network TV will feature a two-hour Heroes at Home special at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT. Hosted by Howie Long (host of FOX NFL Sunday), the Heroes at Home special introduces viewers to six service members, from California to Connecticut, who share their personal experiences of service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The military families share their struggles in their daily lives, the challenges they and their loved ones face, and how Sears and MyNetworkTV have helped fulfill some of their holiday wishes, and helped to make their transition back home more seamless.

Chris Strickland, a disabled army veteran from Connecticut, will share how Heroes at Home helped provide modifications throughout his home to make it more accessible for him. (Check local listings for specific channel or visit http://www.mynetworktv.com/. The channel may be listed with MY in front of channel number.)

Sears has actively supported this country's servicemen and women with pride and respect since the company was founded more than a century ago. In 2005, Sears Holdings received the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, which publicly recognizes American employers who provide exceptional support to their employees who voluntarily serve the nation in the National Guard and Reserve. In 2006, Sears Holdings also was honored with the Military Officers Association of America's Distinguished Service Award, in recognition of the company's support of associates in the Guard and Reserve and military families nationwide.

To find out more about the Heroes at Home program, make a donation, or to refer a military family or veteran to the home renovation program through Rebuilding Together, visit http://www.sears.com/ or call 1-800-473-4229. Sears Holdings' ongoing commitment to assisting troops and their families includes several recruiting and employment programs, as well as a military pay differential to Sears associates employed (full time) who are reservists serving on active duty. Reservists who are employed full-time are allowed to continue participating in life insurance, medical and dental programs.

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