By Marsha M. Brown
If you love the things you do and you do the things you love…that’s an awesome thing…isn’t it? Well, I guess you could say that sums it up for me when it comes to writing “GIG LINE” about and for veterans.
Good news still keeps coming! The last seven days has proven to be very productive. For starters, we issued 18 new Dare County Veteran I. D. Cards to veterans who will now receive discounts at 22 businesses encompassing 32 locations (because some have multiple sites). The new sign ups bring our total to 267 veterans who now have their CARD but we still have a long way to go…so, Dare County veterans… keep coming! Here’s the newest schedule to get your ‘CARD’ where we’ll be looking for you:
- Wednesday, March 5th ACE Hardware (Kitty Hawk) 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. The R.H.I. (Rural Health Initiative) group out of the Hampton, Virginia VA Medical Center will join uson site enabling you to apply for health care through the VA;(this appointment will be in lieu of our regular Wednesday in Manteo);
- Wednesday, March 12th – Dare County Administrative Building Rm 142 (Manteo – Dare County Courthouse complex) 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM;
- Thursday, March 13th – ACE Hardware (Avon) 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM also in conjunction with the R.H.I. for VA health care registration;
- Sunday, March 16th – Kelly’s Outer Banks Restaurant & Tavern will host their 25th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Nags Head starting at 1:00 PM where immediately following the parade themed “Outer Banks Heroes”, we’ll be on site at Kelly’s Restaurant to administer the Dare County Veteran ID Card (remember to bring your DD-214 and proof of local address)
- Monday, March 17th – Thomas A. Baum Senior Adult Center (Kill Devil Hills) 10:00 – 1:00 PM also in conjunction with R.H.I.
- Wednesday, March 19th – Dare County Administrative Building Rm 142 (Manteo) 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM;
- Wednesday, March 26th – same time and location (Manteo)
Please bring your DD-214 (discharge/separation from military service showing HONORABLE discharge) and your Driver’s License or proof of your local Dare County address. And though we’ve been asked often, an HONORABLE DISCHARGE Certificate is an important and credible certificate, but it will not suffice for I.D. CARD issuance. If you cannot locate your DD-214 please come anyway so that we can meet you and give you information on how to acquire a duplicate. The DD-214 is a critical form regarding your military service and necessary in multiple instances throughout life. And because of its VALUE, we’ll assist you in every way possible to get a replacement if your original has been lost or destroyed. On several occasions we’ve been asked about issuing the CARD to veterans who can prove they served but who don’t live in Dare County. Folks…we want all veterans everywhere to get every good thing possible but we cannot issue them to veterans who don’t reside in Dare County. We hope neighboring counties will get on board like we did in Dare County and create a Council, Board or Committee that will reach out to veterans and if we can help them in some way we will.
At each upcoming event, we’ll also provide you with a list of the businesses who wish to show you their gratitude and support by discounting their goods or services to Dare County Veteran I. D. Card holders. And…its important that you understand that you may have a VA issued retirement card, medical disability card and/or an active duty I.D. but…the I.D. Card that the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council issues is partnered directly to the businesses on our list and Dare County ID Card specific. Also, the CARD we issue helps us connect to you; gives us an opportunity to meet you and share info on how you can stay connected to fellow vets in Dare County; we can provide info on medical conditions influenced by exposure to Agent Orange (AO) or Dioxin as well as to provide contact numbers for an Agent Orange screening; phone numbers, web sites and other important info that you may or may not currently have that can help you.
Please take the time to come out and meet us all. We’re here for you and we want to help you and your family! If I told you the number of veterans who’ve already seen positive changes in their lives you’d be surprised and maybe even shocked. So…what we’re doing is working…and what are you waiting for?
Speaking of the Council’s business list – another new business just signed on bringing the total to 22/32 locations. The business owner, Tony Bruno of DATAFIX COMPUTER SOLUTIONS, LLC is also a veteran! And during several conversations with Tony it’s been very apparent he cares about fellow veterans and wants to do something nice for them. In Tony’s own words, “Datafix Computer Solutions is a veteran owned IT services company that is offering a 10% discount on all home computer services to military members and veterans. Excludes hardware, parts & software.” Tony is also willing and eager to accept other military forms of ID which you can verify with him directly. He is located in Manteo and his contact info is as follows: Phone (252) 473-3700; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or: www.datafixcomputers.com Thank you Tony! And again, thank you to all of the participating business owners who signed up to honor our heroes to date.
I have an honorable mention. Remember last week when I wrote about Mike Clarkin helping that WWII veteran from Smithfield, Virginia? After the fact, I realized I had failed to mention that Sean, (Mike’s son) was also a big part of that blessing for Mike’s veteran hero. Mike is very proud of Sean and can’t say enough about the interest, time and craftsmanship his son put forth to help bring that vision of a ramp to life. And…Mike said it was his veteran Daddy who had referred him initially to the V.F.W. there for help at the onset of the plan. So, kudos to Sean and to the V.F.W. there who proved to be heroes in the heart of a deserving seasoned WWII veteran. Thank you all for your true American spirit!
And…another thing…last Tuesday, I stopped by the American Legion Fort Raleigh Post 26 in K.D.H. after their meeting to issue several I.D. Card(s) and I witnessed a bunch of handsome, enthusiastic gentlemen ‘cooking with gas’ (not literally). They were excited about some new plans they have in the works to directly help local Dare County veterans. They know veterans have needs everywhere…I repeat…everywhere…and for ever and a day they’ve worked diligently to do just that…help our veterans. But currently they’re recreating ways to offer more direct help to local veterans who reside specifically in DARE COUNTY. All of the Post 26 Legion members care deeply. They’re great people who do good work for veterans all of the time. Over the years they’ve contributed money, time and dedication to help meet the personal needs of veterans who are sick, hospitalized or in need of round the clock care. But is seems that Post 26 feels more compelled to show even more love and support to fellow comrades who live right here in Dare County. That’s a good and wonderful thing. And we’ve all heard the old saying about taking care of our own…well…hip..hip..hooray!
Then, on Wednesday I had the privilege and honor to meet four veterans and two of their wives and I loved ‘em all. While I sat at there, I looked from one face to the other…to the other. In their beautiful eyes, I could see unspoken experience, pride, hope, memories and expressions that projected ‘brotherhood’. I took a deep breath, leaned back in my chair and thought…ain’t life grand? I love these guys…each and every one and I love their wives too. They all have a story to tell…about their wait and the want of seeing the love of their lives come home safe. Great people, brave men, loving wives, and the undeniable heart of America…some of the nicest folks you could ever hope to meet. I just sat there soaking it in thanking the good Lord for each one of them! And as a former boss back in the day used to say…”They (veterans) make me happier than an old hound dog in a meat market!” Could I be a veteran groupie? I don’t know…maybe! J
Ok folks…I’ve rattled on long enough. As usual be happy, be safe, be proud and keep your eyes peeled for hats that read “WWII Veteran”, Korean War or Vietnam Veteran, U. S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or US Coast Guard. They deserve a thank you, a hand shake or a hug. Love them all. They deserve it. God bless our veterans and the families who have stood beside them. And God bless America….stay tuned.