With the launch of the Return The Favor Program, Herkimer County veterans can now receive special benefits by getting a county-issued Veterans ID card through the county clerk's office. And more than 90 area businesses are participating in the veterans program.
"I have 2 cousins that call me every veteran's day and just say thank you for serving and it's very heartwarming," says Edward Riesel, Vietnam War veteran.
Most veteran's say just hearing a simple thank you goes a long way.
"When a lot of us came home from the Vietnam War, we weren't greatly appreciated because a lot of people felt we shouldn't have been over there in the first place," says Peter Atutis, Vietnam War veteran.
"However now when you see people come back, it's a totally different thing and its just very heart warming to know that these people are finally being thanked," says Riesel.
But Herkimer County is showing its thanks - with more than words.
"A lot of them are older veterans and even the younger ones are having a hard time economically as are the rest of us so if we can help in any way," says Jean Maneen, Chairman of Veterans Affairs and Administration.
And they've helped in more ways than one.
"92 businesses are participating and we hope to get more once the word is out and this is really going to help them financially," says Maneen.
"Times are tough now for everybody and money is tight so every little bit you can save," says Atutis.
"Gives us a discount on things, it's a nice consideration that they've done for us," says Edward Falk, Korean War veteran.
And all veterans have to do is come to the Herkimer County clerk's office and bring a photo ID and their discharge papers. They'll get their photo taken, and then they'll receive their Return The Favor veteran's discount card, at no charge to the veteran.
"The support the community has given to have this go through has just been a great thing," says Riesel.
"The fact they have recognized the veterans, it's a nice help, a nice consideration, we appreciate it," says Falk.
There are 5,600 veterans in Herkimer County. Coordinators say nearly 250 veterans have already received their Veterans ID card.
For more information and a list of participating businesses, visit:
www.herkimercounty.org and choose County Clerk under Department listing.
Contact the Herkimer County Clerk's Office at 315-867-1129.