By Michael Aushenker
One might say Monte Cook III is a character.
One might also say Cook has character.
A sales and marketing consultant and memorabilia broker, Cook is captain of a three-level, 65-foot private yacht (the Mer Sea) that he used to charter to the likes of Britney Spears and Sex Pistols front man John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon.
But for the past two years, Cook has also been working in support of men and women in the military via his website, where current and future veterans can find out about restaurant, entertainment and retail discounts.
Home Depot has for years offered service members a 10% discount. Cook’s goal with SOS is to let those in uniform know about that and other offers.
Businesses that make a $25 donation to SOS get a listing and their website linked to SOS, an online repository where soldiers and former soldiers can check for discounts. Each business is assigned a bronze, silver or gold start depending on the level of discount offered, with gold reserved for merchants offering discounts of 25% or more.
“I’m not doing it for profit. I’m doing it because it makes me feel good and I want to help,” said Cook, who launched his site after an emotional conversation with an enlisted man living off of food stamps.
The SOS list currently includes Abbot’s Habit coffeehouse, Abbot’s Pizza Company and Hal’s Bar and Grill in Venice, Figtree’s Café and Grill and C&O Trattoria in Venice; Killer Shrimp, Baja Cantina, and Wahoo Fish Tacos in Marina del Rey; and Pizza Fusion and El Pollo Loco Santa Monica. There are many others outside Los Angeles, and Cook hopes to take his list nationwide. He wants to eventually include a phone app for his website, mount bigger fundraisers and open brick-and-mortar SOS centers with thrift shops.
On Monday, Veteran’s Day, Cook will host a booth at Veteran’s Park in Culver City, free barbecue for service members. On Nov. 14, Cook will partner with Watering Seas Organization for a fundraiser at the StubHub Center in Carson.