Making serving those who have served a priority: Thank a Vet 2.0

By Steve Cichon
Endorsed Democrat for Erie County Clerk

Making our veterans a priority

As your Erie County Clerk, making sure our veterans know all of the services available to them through the Clerk's office— and offering more services– will be a top priority. Read more: http://www.steveforclerk.com/wordpress/making-serving-those-who-have-served-a-priority-thank-a-vet-2-0/

Posted by Steve Cichon for Erie County Clerk on Saturday, May 20, 2017

 

As your Erie County Clerk, making sure our veterans know all of the services available to them through the office—and offering more services– will be a top priority.

It’s unconscionable, but right now, possible changes and uncertainty at the federal level may leave our many of our nation’s veterans unable to get federal ID cards identifying their veteran status. Many of the services and benefits offered to vets can only be accessed with proof of status.

This is an issue that is a personal one for me. My father was a disabled veteran. Whether taking them to appointments or making sick visits, I spent many hours at Buffalo’s VA Hospital with my dad, my grandfathers, and the hundreds of men who were their roommates through the years.

Dad, the young Marine

They all deserve better—and we should be doing all that we can to insure that they enjoy, to the fullest,   the freedom they sacrificed to protect.

One of the most basic services is a veteran designation on a driver’s license or non-driver ID, available at Erie County’s six Auto Bureau locations.

An honorably discharged veteran can have a VETERAN designation added to their drivers’ license or non-driver ID at renewal time at no charge or anytime for the cost of a new license. It’s as easy as filling out a new driver’s license application and checking the box marked “veteran status,” and bringing proof of your honorable discharge to the DMV. Full information on how to take advantage of the program is available at the state DMV website.

This is an important service available to veterans right now, but when I’m elected clerk, we will add new services for veterans as well.

Among my first priorities will be making sure that every veteran who has his or her DD-214 separation paperwork kept on file at the Clerk’s office is fully aware of all the services available to them through county government.

Many humble vets might not want the word VETERAN added to their drivers license on the face of it, but once they understand the number of businesses and organizations which are willing to offer them some level of gratitude for their service with proof of service—including discounts on thousands of products and services– they might be willing to take that step to get the honor they deserve.

Using existing technology, we will also put veterans in the fast lane at our auto bureau locations—Women and men who have served out country will receive expedited service as a small courtesy and thank you from the people of Erie County for their sacrifice and service.

This is in addition to the Thank a Vet card which is currently available at the Clerk’s office downtown and gives vets access to discounts at businesses across Western New York.

Helping our nation’s veterans take advantage of every service offered to them should be a top priority for every government agency—and when I’m elected Erie County Clerk, there will be an immediate renewed and expanded commitment to vets with expanded service.