Delaware County has a new program intended to give veterans a convenient way to prove they served.
Starting last month, the Delaware County Recorder's office began issuing identification cards veterans can use in lieu of discharge documents to obtain veterans' benefits.
Delaware County Recorder Melissa Jordan said about 250 veterans have received new ID cards from the county.
"The response from the individual veterans has been exciting," she said. "They're just happy to get an ID that fits in their wallet."
Jordan said it's easier to put a durable card in a wallet than carry around 8-inch-by-11-inch discharge papers.
The first veteran to receive the new ID from the county was Phil Karshner of Sunbury. He said convenience is why he requested the card.
"It's a lot easier if you have the card," Karshner said. "It's about the same size as your driver's license."
Karshner served with the U.S. Army between September 1962 and September 1965 before moving to Delaware County in 1967.
To receive the card, veterans must bring their original DD214 discharge papers or a certified copy, plus two other forms of identification to the Delaware County Recorder's office, 140 N. Sandusky St., Delaware.
Acceptable forms of ID include a:
* birth certificate.
* Social Security card.
* driver's license.
* military ID.
* U.S. passport.
* concealed-carry permit.
Jordan said at least one of the forms of ID presented must be a photo ID. The recorder's office charges a $1 fee for the card.
Veterans do not need to live in Delaware County in order to request the card. If veterans have lost their discharge papers, Jordan recommended they contact the Delaware County Veterans Service Office.
Jordan said her program also would help veterans keep track of their discharge papers. She said the recorder's office will scan and put a copy of any veteran's discharge paperwork on file at no additional cost when they apply for the card.
"That's important for settling their affairs when they pass away or having a copy on file if they have a house fire," she said.
Unlike other documents the recorder's office scans, military documents will not be available to the public on the recorder's website in order to protect veterans' privacy.
Jordan said she first heard about similar ID programs about a year ago, when larger counties were starting to implement them.
Over time, the cost of the associated hardware and software dropped, and Jordan decided she could fit it into her department's budget.
The cost of the machine and the software used to print the cards was $3,849. Jordan said her office paid for the equipment through fees, not tax dollars or additional funding from the county.
She said the process of working the software is simple, adding that it only took "about five minutes" to train her entire staff to use it.
Jordan said her goals for the program included getting a card to any veteran who wants one. Karshner said he'd already chatted with fellow veterans about the benefits of the ID.
"I've talked to some of the other guys who had been in the service who didn't know about it, and they said they'd check into it," he said.
Jordan said she also hopes to reach out to local business owners to educate them about the card. She said she would like to see merchants offer special discounts to veterans' ID cardholders.
Residents with questions about the ID program can call the Delaware County Recorder's Office at 740-833-2461.