Celebrating Yelp Elites for Military Appreciation Month

The Yelp Elite Squad represents the best writers, photographers and explorers in communities across North America. In honor of Military Appreciation Month this May, we caught up with five national Yelp Elite members to hear about their military experience and love for all things local. We are grateful for you!

L-R: David H. of San Antonio, Ashley R. of Cleveland, Lou C. of Houston, Erica R. of Columbus and Audry P. of Virginia Beach.

David: I joined the U.S. Army 17 years ago and never looked back. My current job is the Senior Training Developer/Writer for the Department of Clinical Specialties… I develop and write educational content for nursing. I have served all over the world and it has been quite an adventure. 

Ashley: I signed on as an 88M truck driver or motor transportation operator when I was 17 [I graduated early]. I’m also on my units Gunnery team. We identify vehicles, different types of ammo and carry the heavy and automatic weapons (machine guns). As a Muslim woman, I feel extremely proud. Not everyone can do what we do.

Lou: I was an E5 Sergeant in US Army Reserve 1989-1990. I was a unit historian E4 Specialist in Active US Army 1986-1988. My military service started in 1986 stationed at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. I also served as a unit historian and field photographer. 

Erica: I have been in the Army National Guard since July 2012. I am a Judge Advocate, which is just a fancier way of saying I am an attorney for the military. My current rank is Captain and I love what I do. 

Audry: I joined the United States Air Force in May 1995. I’m still a Georgia Air National Guardsman… Hard to believe that I’ve been serving my country for over 23 years now.

David: Vote.

Ashley: For those who want to say something simple, “thank you” is always welcome. I’ve gotten plenty of head nods and smiles—that’s amazing, too.

Lou: I attend Veterans Day events to thank new and old veterans… I also appreciate tangible free things offered by restaurants.

Erica: The best way to thank someone for their service is just to say it with words. A simple “thank you” is more than enough!

Audry: I guess it’s easy enough to just say “thanks” to us!

David: Skydive Spaceland San Marcos, of course!

Ashley: The Loop in Tremont [Cleveland]. The coffee is always amazing and the vibes are chill.

Lou: 75 BBQ & Hotpot Buffet in Chinatown. I’ve hosted many memorable UYEs there.

Erica: My favorite business in Columbus is Brick, An American Kitchen. Their space is the absolute coolest. You’ll feel like you’re in a secret speakeasy. It’s gorgeous!

Audry: Pho 79. I could eat pho every other day…. But my waistline would kill me.

David: Sangria on the Burg!

Ashley: The Cleveland Botanical Garden. Some people are really oblivious to how amazing this place is!

Lou: My favorite discovery on Yelp is myself. I never knew my writing attracted so much attention. 

Erica: McCombe Auto Body Shop! It was the first time I used Yelp for something other than food. I saw a five star review from a gal I met at a Yelp event and it was so glowing that I took my service to them!

Audry: Kung Fu Tea! I’m a self-identifying boba addict.

David: The Old West Christmas Light Fest [in Texas].

Ashley: When I went out for coffee with my Yelp friend, Cleveland Community Manager Lauren K.! It helped me open my eyes and want to get more involved with the Yelp Cleveland community.

Lou: The Yelp Community Picnic in San Antonio. I gleefully cooked a couple of dishes in my hotel. I met many active Elites and I’m still in touch with most of them today.

Erica: The Yelp Defies Gravity event in Columbus. I had the best time ever with fellow Yelper Tracey B.!

Audry: The zipline course Elite event in Virginia Beach. It was such a fun time with all the Yelp Elite!

Thank you to all veterans for your courage, strength and dedication to keeping us safe. Search veteran owned businesses on Yelp to support veterans this month and every month.