Rachael Hammet/ASP

America’s Swimming Pool Co. thanked a veteran for his service by giving him a free business.

The Macon, Ga.-based firm awarded Miguel Macias a franchised location in Reno, Nev., in honor of his 24 years in the U.S. Navy.

ASP announced on Veterans Day last year that it planned to give one free location each year to a qualified veteran by waiving the franchise fee. The service firm covers the winner’s start-up expenses, including access to the company’s trademark, corporate IT system, marketing data and extensive training program.

Partnering with veterans is one way the company intends to expand from coast to coast. It currently has more than 180 locations.

“Though the program just launched in 2015, we are excited to have our first winner, and welcome Macias to the franchising family,” said Stewart Vernon, ASP founder/CEO, in a statement. “We are thankful for the service he has given our country and know that the skills he learned in the course of that service will prove beneficial in his new endeavor as an ASP owner.”

Macias retired last year as a lieutenant commander in the Navy, where he spent 13 years as a human resources officer. Before his military service, Macias earned a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and Italian studies from the University of Houston. While in the service, he earned his MBA in HR.

Macias expressed excitement at the opportunity. “I am very humbled and very blessed to have this gift, excited to get going,” he said in a statement.