It’s common in Johnston County for restaurants and other businesses to offer discounts to veterans of the U.S. armed services.
But not all veterans carry a military-issued ID, and no vet wants to carry around discharge documents, known as the DD214, because it’s they’re too valuable to be left behind at a diner or steakhouse.
So how are veterans supposed to take advantage of the perks available to them? Johnston County Registrar of Deeds Craig Olive has an answer. This fall, through a program called “Thank a Vet,” Olive’s office will issue vets an ID card they can show at local businesses.
“I try to be a proactive register of deeds,” Olive said. “From having relatives not be able to get ID cards or have trouble getting veterans discounts for some reason, I wanted to help.”
Johnston County has more than 14,000 veterans, Olive said, and he invites them to get a card when the program gets rolling. He also hopes Johnston businesses will offer discounts to veterans showing the county-issued ID card. Olive said his office will offer window decals to identify businesses taking part in the “Thank a Vet” program.
Guildford County already has a similar program; its Johnston cousin will launch Nov. 1. That’s when veterans can come to Olive’s office with their DD214, have their photo taken and get their ID.
Also, Olive said his office will archive veterans’ discharge papers to keep them secure and issue veterans certified copies of the document.
“They get torn or soiled and sometimes even stolen,” Olive said of the discharge documents. “They’re so valuable and so important, we want to help keep those safe and give (veterans) an easier way to represent themselves.”
Olive said his office is working with Johnston chambers of commerce to recruit businesses to offer discounts on meals, goods and services.
Olive is working with the county’s Veterans Service Office to get the word out to veterans about “Thank a Vet.” Robert Boyette Jr. is director of that office.
“I think it’s a great program,” he said. “And I think it’s needed. We only have a few things that identify us, and they’re all valuable and difficult to replace. Identity theft is a big problem in general, but for veterans, it’s hard for us to get replacements of our documents.”
Boyette pulled out his military ID and health insurance card. “That’s basically it,” he said.
Olive thanked Boyette’s office for working with him. “They really decided to help with this because it’s a big need,” Olive said. “I want to help the veterans because they have helped us by protecting and serving our country.”
Money for the program will come from Register of Deeds Office revenue, Olive said. “We won’t be asking for any additional money to do this,” he said.
“My staff and I are looking forward to serving all of the veterans in Johnston County,” Olive said.
“We have so many veterans who could use this in Johnston County,” Boyette added.
To sign up for the program, or to learn more, call 919-989-5161.
Abbie Bennett: 910-849-2827; @AbbieRBennett