Applebee's Franchisee of the Year Ed Doherty of Doherty Enterprises speaks during the Thank You Movement launch in Times Square.

Applebee's Starts Troop Thank You Campaign

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar is launching the Thank You Movement, an ongoing initiative to collect millions of thanks for U.S. Veterans and Active Duty military.

Country music standout Rodney Atkins, Applebee's Thank You Movement Ambassador, officially launched the movement with a performance in Times Square. Atkins was joined by hundreds of civilians, veterans, and military organizations, including representatives from Pinnacle Five, comprised of former senior enlisted members from all branches of the U.S. Military and Disabled American Veterans(DAV).

"Every minute of every day is an opportunity to say 'Thank You' to the members of our military," Atkins says.

"We want to thank them for their service to our country. The Thank You Movement will make sure that veterans and troops are top of mind and deep in our hearts all the time."

Aimed at creating a groundswell of gratitude for our nation's military, the Thank You Movement gives messages of thanks to our veterans and troops via www.thankyoumovement.comApplebee's Facebook Fan Page, #thankyoumovement on Twitter and on YouTube. The Web site will host a live rolling counter of ongoing Thank Yous. Veterans and active duty troops can then go online anytime to see and hear the heartfelt thanks of the people they serve.

In addition, Applebee's will collect personalized thank you cards at participating restaurants through Veterans Day. Applebee's nonprofit partner DAV will distribute the cards from the restaurants to veterans and troops to ensure that all thank you cards are given to real American heroes.

DAV has worked to build better lives for veterans and their families for over 90 years, and will deliver these messages of thanks through its wide range of programs, services, and publications.

The Thank You Movement is a natural extension of both Applebee's and Atkins' support of veterans and troops. For the past two years, Applebee's has served more than two million free thank you meals on Veterans Day.

Applebee's announced recently it will continue that neighborhood tradition again this year on Friday, Nov. 11.

Atkins has also supported the U.S.armed forces and their families, often visiting with soldiers around his touring schedule, volunteering his time at various base concerts, and visiting with wounded warriors at WalterReedArmyMedicalCenter. In 2012, he will participate in USO tour of military bases abroad.

"For Applebee's, offering a free meal on Veterans Day has been about saying thank you," says Mike Archer, president of Applebee's Services. "Now, we're helping other people say thank you every day."

Applebee's, based in Lenexa, Kansas, is the world's largest casual-dining chain, with approximately 2,000 locations in 49 states, 15 countries and one U.S.territory.

The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation's disabled veterans.

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by WTWH Media LLC.