New veterans ID card to give local heroes local discounts
Haywood County’s veterans have a new reason to give a copy of their DD-214s to the county’s Register of Deeds. Next month, veterans who keep a copy of their military separation document will be able to receive exclusive discounts at local establishments.
Although the program is largely intended to ensure a higher number of veterans turn the document into the register of deeds’ office, Director Sherri Rogers said she is happy to have an opportunity to help out those who served this country.
Rogers’s inspiration for the new effort came after many other North Carolina counties adopted similar programs.
“I had a couple vets ask about it, and I didn’t want to leave any of my vets out,” she said. “It’s a great thing.”
The process of registering for this program is easy, both for vets and businesses. If a local veteran wants to take part in the program, they bring a copy of their DD-214 to the old courthouse, get their picture taken and receive a photo ID, printed right there in the office.
All a business has to do is visit www.haywooddeeds.com and fill out the online application, which takes no more than 5 minutes. Once the form is filled out, Rogers looks at the application, approves it and the business is on the registry.
But that’s not to say both veterans and businesses don’t have their doubts. Some local businesses she has contacted have been skeptical about people faking veteran status to receive a discount. But Rogers said it is impossible to do that, because everyone must go through her office.
“I don’t want businesses to think we’re being casual about it,” she said. “We have to make sure they’re all veterans.”
Additionally, many veterans are not so willing to hand over such a sensitive document, especially because the DD-214 contains so much personal information. Rogers emphasized that it is important for people to understand that while every other document in the Register of Deeds is public, the DD-214 are not public records and are kept safely under lock and key.
While Rogers is hoping for far greater participation from local businesses than she is currently receiving, some of Haywood County's best-known businesses have already signed up, including Mast General Store and Smoky Mountain Steel Horses.
Smoky Mountain Sub Shop owners Randy O’Quinn and Robert Kuhhirte said that while they already provide a discount for veterans, they were thrilled to participate in the program. Both men have parents who served in the military and O’Quinn served in the Navy himself.
Scot Worley, owner of a 9Round 30 Minute Kickbox Fitness in Clyde, said that considering he already offers discounts to county employees and first responders, extending a discount to veterans was a no-brainer.
“I’m helping with this so we can be able to reach out to some veterans and offer them a chance to work out.”
Although Rogers is currently accepting applications from businesses to take part in the program, the official start date is Nov. 10.