Berks

Veterans now able to obtain something 'promised years ago'

VIDEO: Veterans ID cards become...

READING, Pa. - Military life is often represented in symbols. They show a veteran's accomplishments and sacrifices through medals and various other designations, but now, they've received something they've been awaiting for quite some time.

"This is something that was promised years ago," said Bob Melson, veteran and outreach and education coordinator at the Berks County Etchberger Veterans Center.

Dale Derr, the director at the facility, seconded that notion.

"This is a long awaited day," he said.

For a long time, veterans had state-issued or county-issued cards, but for veteran Ken Lebron, also the deputy director at the facility, he, along with other vets, would run into issues across state lines.

"Well, when I visit my parents or my family in New York, are they going to accept this form of ID?" Lebron would ask.

Now, the new card will alleviate that issue.

"It does help validate that honorable military service," Lebron said.

The card also addresses an issue that has troubled the veteran community as of late: that of "false valor." Now, when veterans venture out in public, they will have a card that cements their status.

"This is more when they go into the community and they're being asked, 'Are you a veteran?' Now they'll have something that will be widely recognized," Derr explained. "If somebody has not served or if they have served other than honorably, they will not be able to get one of these ID cards." 

It also means they will no longer need to carry around their discharge papers to obtain discounts and other services.

"Another incentive is the benefit for a discount or promotion that is offered locally in the community," Lebron explained.

Veterans who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status at Vets.gov.

Derr also said that Home Depot will be covering the mailing and shipping costs for this process.


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