S.D. veterans get license recognition option
American News, Aberdeen, S.D.
Often, veterans are easily recognized by the shirts they wear or the stickers on their vehicles, but sometimes they aren't spotted at all.
A South Dakota state law that went into effect July 1 allows veterans to add the word “veteran” to their driver's license, and it might just help solve the visibility problem.
The designation provides veterans a useful tool to prove their status and will not require them to carry their paperwork, said Audry Ricketts, public relations officer with the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Dale Strom, post historian for the Sidney L. Smith American Legion Post No. 24 in Aberdeen, said the post hasn't had a formal discussion on it but, informally, members support it.
“There isn't really money involved, so anything that allows people to show pride, we usually support," he said.
Veterans interested in having the designation put on their driver's license or nondriver ID card need to present their DD-214 paperwork showing their honorable discharge status from active duty or present a certificate signed by a county or tribal veterans service officer verifying their status, according to a news release.
It costs nothing to have the designation added, though veterans still will have to pay the typical license renewal fees.
Admittedly, most people are going to look at it as, “It's nice, but I'll get it when I renew my license,” Strom said.
“Some will really want it and will feel a need or reason to get it before then," he said. "One of the big reasons will be financial: Many places give military discounts, so it's worth it to be able to have it on their driver's license. Some people have a lot of pride. Some really enjoy advertising their service in the military, while others don't. It all depends on the person.”
Another Legion member, Tom Perrizo, said the designation gives veterans a little more recognition.
“If people see the card they will understand what it is," Perrizo said. “Most of the time we don't have a problem showing or proving, but if people see the card they will understand what it is. The price for serving is the greatest reward of being a veteran, not the discounts. We do appreciate people who give us discounts, though.”
Neither Strom nor Perrizo has gotten the designation as of yet, but both say they plan to get it when they renew their license.