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Country to issue veterans ID cards

The Herald - 10/12/2018

Oct. 12--MERCER -- County military veterans will soon have an identification card that will serve as official indication of their status, and entitle them to discounts at participating businesses.

County commissioners unanimously approved spending $ 9,356.88 for the purchase of hardware and software that will enable the Recorder of Deeds office to make photo identification cards for county veterans. Dee Dee Zickar, Mercer County recorder of deeds, said the cards should be available by Monday, Nov. 12 -- the day after Veterans Day.

The expenditure will cover a digital camera, printer and software, and a three-year maintenance contract with Automated Card Systems of Eden Prairie, Minn.

The identification card program, "Operation: Veteran Appreciation," is a joint effort between the county veterans affairs and recorder's offices. Zickar and Jodi Fitchko, Mercer County assistant veterans affairs director, decided to explore the distribution of veterans ID cards after they learned about a similar program in Lawrence County.

As with the Lawrence County program, Zickar said Mercer County officials want to recruit businesses throughout the county to offer discounts to the veterans. Lawrence County cardholders are entitled to discounts at more than 60 businesses in that county.

"What I've been doing the last few weeks is working with the chambers of commerce in the county," she said.

Zickar said she and Fitchko are looking for more businesses to offer price breaks to county veterans through the ID program. Companies that want to participate can call her office.

Mercer County's recorder's office is in charge of the veterans ID program because its duties include the registration of DD-214 documents -- military discharge papers.

Zickar said she encourages all county veterans to register their DD-214s with her office. Document registration amounts to storage that is safe from fire and provides easily accessible proof of eligibility for veterans benefits.

Veterans who have previously registered their discharge papers with the recorder's office can take a state identification card and get their veterans ID cards.

When a veteran registers his or her DD-214 documents in the recorder's office, Zickar said she sends him or her to the veterans affairs office, where staff can inform the veteran about benefits and other programs available.

Zickar said she is "ecstatic" about the county's participation in the ID discount program.

"This is something that we've tried to do for quite a while," she said. "In my humble opinion, it seems like a small gesture in comparison to what the veterans have done."

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