July 23, 2016

Partly sunny

Hundreds of veterans get ID cards for their service

MEDINA — More than 200 veterans have knocked on the county recorder’s door since Saturday to get ID cards documenting their service in the military.

Medina County has joined several other Northeast Ohio counties in issuing veterans identification cards that entitle them to discounts at area businesses and restaurants.

Marine veteran Clyde D. Campbell, 76, Litchfield Township, front, and his brother George Campbell, 77, Medina Township, an Air Force veteran, file their discharge papers and receive their new county veteran identification cards at the Medina Count Recorder’s office Monday. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAN POMPILI)

“We had a line from 10 a.m. to 2:45 Saturday, and then this morning they were back,” County Recorder Colleen M. Swedyk said on Monday. “They seem very interested and very excited about the cards so I’m very happy.”

Veterans can enjoy 10-percent discounts at some businesses and restaurants, free admission to the county fair on certain days and other perks with proper proof of their military status.

But while some vets have Veterans Affairs cards or active duty ID cards most don’t have anything that proves their status as veterans except their “DD-214” discharge papers.

Now veterans can just register their discharge papers at the county recorder’s office and receive a card with their name and address, branch of service and service dates.

The card is valid for six-years and there is no charge to file the discharge papers or for the card.

Swedyk said filing the DD-214 is also a benefit to the veterans in the event they lose their papers.

“A certified copy from us is as good as the original anywhere,” she said.

Ed Zackery, director at the Medina County Veterans Services Office, said veterans requested the cards.

“Vets were asking for it because a lot of places ask for proof, and there is no federal card,” he said. “We came up with this so they don’t have to carry around their discharge papers.

“It’s just proof you were a veteran as far as Medina County is concerned.”

Medina County joins Summit, Stark, Franklin, and Cuyahoga counties among others that have provided similar forms of ID to vets for easier access to services. Geauga County also will provide a card soon, Swedyk said.

The county paid $1,500 for a machine that makes the veteran IDs. But the machine also can be used to print other cards, such as IDs for county employees.

Zackery cautioned that all businesses have different policies on veteran discounts.

Home Depot in Medina, for example, only accepts active duty military ID cards, or disabled or retired veterans with existing ties to the Veterans Affairs.

The county ID cards will be accepted only on Veterans Day and Memorial Day weekends and during special promotions.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.