Vietnam veteran and Bensalem resident Jack Shaltens was happy to wait with more than 50 other fellow veterans at the in Warminster on Wednesday afternoon to sign up for the brand new veterans discount program unveiled by the Bucks County Veterans Affairs department.
"We've been asking for these for a long time," said Shaltens, who served in the army from 1963-1966. "I think it's fantastic that I don't have to take my paperwork with me in order to get discounts."
Military veterans are encouraged to bring their original DD-214 discharge papers to the office of the Bucks County Recorder of Deeds on the second floor of the , which will be digitally preserved in the county records. While they are there, the veterans can fill out an application and get photographed for the discount ID card, which can be used for savings at major stores such as Boscov's, Lowes, Home Depot and the new that just opened in Warminster.
"This is a value-added service that goes with having their discharge papers recorded with the county," said Dan Fraley, director of veterans affairs. "This is a universal card that can be used at more stores as they start participating. We really want to attract a lot of local businesses, like restaurants and pizza shops."
Bucks County Commissioner Charles Martin says the fact that stores that participate will be featured on the county website and identified as a veteran-friendly business will drum up plenty of interest.
"There's nothing better than being recognized as veteran-friendly," said Martin, who served with the New Jersey National Guard from 1965 to 1971. "It's a win-win opportunity for the businesses and our veterans. We will promote the businesses, but we will also evaluate their discounts and make sure there are legitimate savings that are available only for the veterans."
Martin approached Fraley with the idea for an ID discount card over the summer after spending a week vacationing in Atlantic County, N.J. He saw veterans in Atlantic City and Margate using similar ID cards at establishments and immediately knew he wanted to offer a similar service in Bucks County.
"I asked Dan to get it in place before Veterans Day, and he came through," said Martin.
While the Bucks County Courthouse is the only location to receive the discount card, Bucks County Recorder of Deeds Joe Szabo told the gathered crowd that plans are in the works to create more mobile registration opportunities at VFWs throughout the county.