GIVING BACK
April 06, 2013 10:49 AM
by RANDY WELLS

Restaurants, pharmacies, a furniture store, medical professionals, plumbers, an electrician, an auto repair shop, jewelers, funeral homes — they’re all among the local businesses now participating in Indiana County’s military veterans ID and discount program.

The number of businesses offering discounts to military vets has grown to about 55, nearly double those participating when the program was launched one year ago. As of this week, 821 vets are enrolled.

The Indiana County commissioners, the county’s Veterans Affairs Office, the county’s Recorder of Deeds office and the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce joined forces last April to create the photo ID and discount program. It was designed to bring recognition to more military veterans and to expand the number of businesses willing to help vets save money.

Registering for the free photo ID and discounts takes about 10 minutes.

First, a veteran takes his or her DD 214 — a Department of Defense form documenting separation from military service — to the Veterans Affairs office in the Indiana County Court House, or have the VA office staff verify electronically that the form is already on file in the Recorder of Deeds office in the courthouse.

A brief application is then completed that the vet carries to the recorder office. There the vet’s photo is taken and applied to an ID card that certifies the holder is an honorably discharged military veteran.

If the veteran has lost his or her original DD 214 and it was never recorded at the courthouse, the veterans affairs staff can help the vet apply for a duplicate.

The list of participating businesses is posted on the Indiana County website at www.countyofindiana.org and at VFW and American Legion posts.

Merchants and business owners who want to join those offering discounts may contact Brenda Stormer, the county’s veterans affairs director, at (724) 465-3815.

— Randy Wells

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