DOBSON — Military veterans will be able to get discounts from many local businesses thanks to a savings card from the county government.
Several stores, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, already offer veterans a discount, noted Mike Scott, Surry County veteran services officer.
The Surry County Board of Commissioners learned Thursday that 530 letters will be mailed to local businesses asking them to participate in the discount program, according to Teresa Tilley, assistant register of deeds.
That will take care of the discounts, but how will veterans get them?
Many stores only accept a government-issued ID card as a means to prove one’s past service, Scott pointed out.
“There are only two forms of federally issued identification,” explained Scott. “Veterans who are retired are issued an ID and those who receive healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs can get an ID. If a veteran is neither retired nor utilizes the VA for healthcare, he or she would have no ID indicating he or she is a veteran.”
Veterans can be identified as such on their North Carolina driver’s licenses, Scott added. However, the state tacks on an additional $10 fee for adding that identifier to the license.
On Thursday, the county board gave approval for Register of Deeds Carolyn Comer to offer a card that can be used in place of these other forms of ID.
Veterans will be encouraged to file their discharge papers, known as a DD form 214, with the register of deeds. The office already files DD 214s, and Scott explained that filing the form is important so that a veteran always has access to a copy.
This form identifies everything a veteran did during his or her service, including awards, deployments and schools attended. It also identifies what type of discharge a veteran received.
Once the form is filed with the register, the veteran can choose to receive a veteran ID card.
Both the discount program and filing one’s DD 214 will be voluntary, and both are free of charge for the veteran.
Comer said the discount program will come at no additional cost to Surry County taxpayers, with funding already available in her office’s “automations” fund.
Comer called the discount program an opportunity “to do a small thing for our area vets,” adding that “each is owed a debt of gratitude we’ll never be able to repay.”
Prior to the board’s unanimous vote in favor of the project, Tilley told commissioners her office hoped to roll out the program on Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at 415-4698.