New card helps Ohio veterans get recognition they deserve
By Dominic Binkley | The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch | Published: May 14, 2014
The stars and stripes on John Ward’s shirt matched perfectly with the flag behind him in the photo on his new Veterans ID card.
“I’ve been wanting to do this and almost did it a year ago, but I didn’t have my original DD 214 or a certified copy, but they took care of all of that right here,” Ward, a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran, said of his military discharge papers.
The Franklin County recorder’s office offered the on-site ID service yesterday at Veterans Memorial as part of its first Veterans Appreciation Day, which included booths for veteran-support organizations.
The $1 cards provide proof of military service and are a smaller alternative to DD Form 214.
“When I go to the Ohio State Fair, they let the veterans in, and you used to have to bring a form and stuff, but now I just have to show them an ID,” said Chuck Lambert, a 53-year-old Army veteran and a Veterans Memorial employee.
The cards, which include a photo, dates of service and branch of military, also can be used as a form of voter identification and for documentation for veterans’ benefits.
Some local businesses also honor them for discounts.
Cyndi Robinson, owner of Avola Lanza Hair and Nail Studio in Grandview, has a son in the military, so she started offering 10 percent discounts on hair services as a way to give back to veterans.
“I know a lot of bigger places like Home Depot have done this for quite some time, so it was really great that we as a small business could get in on something like this to give back,” she said.
Franklin County started issuing the ID cards last May, the second Ohio county after Stark to do so.
Since then, the recorder’s office has issued about 3,000 cards. Sixteen more counties also have started offering them, meaning about 39?percent of Ohio veterans have access to the program, Recorder Terry J. Brown said.
“Previously, the office was taking military discharges and shrinking them down to a wallet size, but it was unreadable,” Brown said. “This card is easy to read, easy to recognize, and it’s providing an extra service at really no cost to the taxpayers.”
Delaware County started offering the cards in March because most area businesses would rather handle the cards to assess discounts than the actual discharge papers, and most veterans don’t want to carry the form around anyway, said Lisa Voss, deputy recorder.
Beyond the card, the service also gives veterans a place where they can access unlimited certified copies of their discharge documents, which have the same effect as the original, Brown said.
Veterans who could not make it to yesterday’s event can get IDs by taking two forms of identification plus their discharge papers to the Franklin County recorder’s office at 373 S. High St.