Submitted by Donald Smith

(Wampsville, NY – Nov. 2012) “Find and Assist Veterans of Record” is sponsored by the Madison County Veterans Agency, Madison County Sheriff’s Office and Madison County Clerk’s Office. Implemented in April 2012, it is a multifaceted program that rewards county veterans by recognizing their service and sacrifices while serving in the U.S. military.

Local businesses voluntarily sign up to give verified military veterans, who have been issued a Madison County photo Identification card, a discount on goods, products or services. The program benefits the county as a whole.

First, offering the discount encourages Madison County veterans to shop local and thereby boosts the number of county veterans buying from our local merchants and businesses, which increases their sales and strengthens their profits. This will contribute to business owner’s ability to expand or hire more employees, improving our local economy.

Second, the deserving veterans get a savings on their purchases, making their dollars go further. Time and travel expense saved by not traveling to other counties for shopping is better utilized supporting neighbors and participating in community activities and events, which ultimately enhances community relations.

Less travel also aids in fuel conservation efforts.

Third, when local commerce improves in our villages, towns and county it increases sales tax revenues to help offset maintenance, services and improvement costs within our communities.

During the application process, veterans get their Military Service Discharge permanently recorded with the County Clerk and also receive a benefits flyer and are advised of federal, state and local benefits for which they may qualify. The Sheriff’s Office then provides them a photo ID.

Madison County has approximately 5,500 living veterans residing throughout all our villages, towns and the city of Oneida. Since April, we have issued 97 F.A.V.O.R. photo identification cards to our veterans, 27 of whom were not previously registered veterans and did not know about all the benefits available to them.

Although successful, only 17 Businesses have signed up to date. We encourage local merchants and businesses to please consider participating in this valuable rewarding program. Contact the Madison County Veterans Service Agency at 315.366.2395 for information or assistance. We need more businesses to make an even more positive impact.

Donald Smith is director of the Madison County Veterans Service Agency.

By martha

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