News Story Written by RYAN McGARRY 
BOHEMIA – Last spring, the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) was founded to give Americans over age 50 an option other than the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) for senior services and advocacy.
Now, less than a year later, AMAC has more than 1,200 local merchants participating and will offer free benefit packages fore all new members.
The new organization has an office on Orville Drive.
Similar to AARP, the Bohemia-based organization offers hotel and motel discounts at 7,000 locations nation-wide and assistance with insurance rates as well.
“We’ve gone one step beyond AARP, in that we also give discounts locally,” said AMAC president Dan Weber. “The very first thing we did was sign up more than 1000 merchants because we wanted to have something worthwhile to offer our members.”
Weber, a Sayville resident, has since enlisted more than 1,200 merchant members, who include a wide range of restaurateurs, retailers, and service providers in the Long Island area that provide AMAC members with discounts that primarily range between 10 to 20 percent.
In the Islip area, AMAC members receive discounts at many shops, restaurants, and home improvement stores, such as Oysterman’s Restaurant and TDK Heating and Irrigation in Sayville, La Rage and South Bay Cleaners in Bayport, Scarab Jewelers and Eyes on Main in East Islip and the Airport Playhouse and Murtha’s Steak House in Bohemia, among thousands of others.
“There is significant retired population here in Sayville and it’s definitely a positive demographic for the restaurant,” said James Gilroy, manager of Oysterman’s Restaurant.
Normally, one year’s membership with AMAC costs $12.50 annually but the fee will be waived for all new members over age 50 who enroll before March  to boost AMAC membership levels, which have already reached the thousands, according to Weber.
“A growing number of seniors are being forced to work in retirement despite having spent decades in the workforce… we believe they deserve a break, and that is the purpose behind our 2008 Free Membership Drive,” Weber said.
In addition to discounts, Weber also has a plan for AMAC to provide senior citizen advocacy, with a focus on petitioning for a 3 percent across-the-board property tax cut. Members of AMAC also receive a quarterly magazine, the AMAC Advantage, which comes with a merchant directory.
“We want to give benefits for seniors but, more than that, we want to preserve the American traditions and old-fashioned values,” Weber said.
Weber is currently test marketing AMAC in New York State and Florida, but expects it to soon expand into a nationally recognized company and provide seniors with an option other than the AARP.
“In a sense we’re the David vs. Goliath story. The AARP has 40 million members and we’re at 2,000 but, the truth of the matter is, in the next 10 years, we could sign up 40 million members and still not take a single member away from AARP and that’s our goal,” Weber said, alluding to the aging baby boomer generation.
“I founded AMAC because I thought more should be done for senior citizens and, secondly, I thought the AARP seemed to have a more liberal agenda… we’re going to be more balanced,” said Weber.
Those interested in becoming an AMAC member can enroll on the organization’s website, www.amac.us, or call their toll-free number, 1-888-262-2006.
“Many older residents on fixed incomes need a helping hand. We want to do our part in 2008, our member merchants have stepped up to the plate by offering great discounts, and we hope that our elected officials will do their part as well by fighting for the tax breaks seniors deserve,” Weber Said.