Cruise franchise company CruiseOne, which is part of World Travel Holdings, the world’s largest cruise agency, recently celebrated military veterans and their spouses at its third annual “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” awards ceremony. In addition to awarding free travel franchises each valued at $12,700 to five deserving U.S. military veterans, for a total value of $63,500, the company announced that it exceeded its 2014 military recruitment goals.
Thirty percent of CruiseOne’s franchise network is now military veterans or active-duty spouses, which not only exceeds the company’s recruitment goal by 5 percent, but also was achieved three months ahead of schedule.
“CruiseOne has always had a vested interest in supporting military veterans and military spouses who have given so much for our country,” said Tim Courtney, CFE, vice president of franchise development and ambassador of veteran affairs for CruiseOne. “Through the Operation Vetrepreneur contest, we are able to give back while providing veterans the opportunity for a balanced lifestyle where they have business and family under one roof without the commute.”
The annual “Operation Vetrepreneur: Become Your Own General” contest was open to former members of any of the five branches of the U.S. military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) who are retired, off active duty and/or honorably discharged prior to the contest start date this past May. Candidates participated in a rigorous three-part application process which included creating a business plan and phone interviews.
Nearly 150 applicants from 30 different states submitted applications for “Operation Vetrepreneur.” This year’s winners included Army and National Guard Veteran Tammy Duffield of Shreveport, La.; Navy Veteran Marci DeWitt of Delaware, Ohio; Navy and Air Force Veterans Craig and Ingrid Markham of Silverdale, Wash.; and United States Marine Corps Veteran Conrad Carpenter of Charleston, W.Va.
The winners attended a weeklong training at CruiseOne’s world headquarters in Fort Lauderdale and were honored with a special ceremony featuring city, state and county officials.
(Photo: From left: Front Row: Debbie Fiorino, senior vice president of CruiseOne; Air Force Veteran Ingrid Markham; Army and National Guard Veteran Tammy Duffield; Navy Veteran Marci Dewitt; Tim Courtney, CFE, vice president of franchise development and ambassador of veteran affairs for CruiseOne. Back Row: Navy Veteran Craig Markham and United States Marine Corps Veteran Conrad Carpenter.)