RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You've probably noticed the signs at various businesses around Virginia offering discounts to military veterans. It seems like a nice gesture, but it turns out it is not as easy to take advantage of that benefit as you might think.
At least it was before today, now that the Commonwealth has launched a new Veterans ID card.
Virginia is filled with close to one million men and woman like David Coffield, who have served their country in the military.
"I was in the cold war from 1965 to 1985 on a submarine," said Coffield. "We did a lot of ops that we still can't talk about."
Coffield's service is something companies often provide benefits for. They could include discounts at restaurants, free admission at amusement parks, or special access at concerts or events. But just because the opportunity is offered, that doesn't always mean it is easy to take advantage of.
"If you don't have proof, you are not going to get the discount or the service or whatever you need," said Governor Bob McDonnell, who authorized the administrative action to make the card a reality.
A standard veteran's ID card is something that didn't exist before today in Virginia. Some veterans have cards to take advantage of retirement or disability benefits, but according to DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb, not many.
"We figure that probably half of that veteran's population does not have a way to easily prove that they served this great country," Holcomb said.
Now military veterans can apply and quickly receive a card that will prove their military service and easily take advantage of the many offers available to them. Governor McDonnell, a veteran himself, actually was the first to apply.
"I didn't realize how many people who serve their country don't have a card to take into a store or somewhere where a veteran's card means something that needed one," said McDonnell.
A problem that now is in the process of being solved. Any interested veterans can apply for the card at any Virginia DMV. You need just need your appropriate discharge paperwork and $10.
The card does not expire, and takes about a week to come in.