Lindenhurst’s 23,771 messages of appreciation for veterans and active duty...

Lindenhurst’s 23,771 messages of appreciation for veterans and active duty service members gave the community the win in the Applebee’s Thank You Movement promotion, a concert by singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, according to a recent news release. Credit: ABC/ Bob D'Amico

What if your community could host a free concert featuring multiplatinum recording artist Gavin DeGraw? Would you send a simple thanks to one of your local veterans?

Last month, Applebee’s named the artist the voice of this year’s Thank You Movement, an ongoing military appreciation effort that will provide “the most thankful neighborhood” in America with a concert for its veterans, but open to the community.

“When people think about dedication and sacrifice they think of a soldier,” DeGraw said in an advertisement for the movement.

Applebee’s originally created the Thank You Movement in 2011 to collect messages of appreciation for active and inactive members of the armed forces. Since then, the company received more than 4.5 million “Thank You” messages, according to an Oct. 10 news release.

The “most thankful neighborhood” will host a DeGraw concert, and Lindenhurst is currently in first with just over 20,000 submissions. Hicksville is in fifth, followed by Riverhead in sixth among the 1,860 communities participating.

Dan Smith, a spokesman for Applebee’s, said the “Thank You Movement” has expanded each year, adding the Gavin DeGraw challenge this year.

“Our aim with this movement is to continue to demonstrate our appreciation for active duty soldiers and veterans across the country,” Smith said. “The concert will be directed toward local vets, but will also be open to residents. And Gavin, who has done work in the past with other veterans organizations, was a natural fit for our campaign this year.”

There are two ways to vote. Submit a message on the website by putting in your ZIP code and thanking a vet, or write a “thank you” message to a veteran on your local Applebee’s Facebook page. On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the Applebee’s community with the most messages will be declared the “most thankful neighborhood” and win the concert at a time and location to be determined.

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