Sandy Sopak, Chautauqua County clerk, is calling on area businesses to consider becoming a participating merchant in the "Return The Favor" discount card program.
"We will soon be offering 'Return The Favor' discount cards to area veterans to show our appreciation for their dedicated service to our country," Sopak said. "These discounts and benefits are just a small token of our appreciation and recognition for their sacrifice. I'm encouraging all area businesses to join me in expressing our gratitude and showing our veterans that we really are grateful they stood up to protect and serve."
The Return The Favor program will provide a photo identification card, free of charge, certifying that the individual is an honorably discharged veteran and has filed their original discharge paperwork with the County Clerk's office. The card will then be able to be used at participating area businesses who have agreed to offer a discount or benefit to the veteran who presents this card.
To sign up as a participating merchant, businesses can visit the clerk's website at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/departments/clerk to complete the Merchant Application Form or contact Tracie Kaminski Haskin, deputy county clerk, at 753-4977 or email email@example.com. Participating businesses can offer any level of discount or benefit to the veteran and place any restrictions on the benefit as well. A list of participating businesses will appear on the County Clerk's website once the program is launched and veterans will receive a list of the business and discount offered upon registering for the card.
"We expect to launch the program in the coming weeks and hope to have as many businesses on board as possible before we begin offering the card to our veterans," Kaminski Haskin said. "We currently have approximately 30 businesses who have agreed to provide some type of benefit or discount to our veterans, but we're hoping to at least triple that number before we fully launch the program. We really want to show our veterans how much they're appreciated here in Chautauqua County."
Any veteran in Chautauqua County who files their original discharge papers (DD-214) with the County Clerk's Office is eligible to receive the Return The Favor discount card. The Chautauqua County Clerk's office keeps a copy of these valuable documents on file for safe keeping, providing peace of mind to the veteran and loved ones that certified copies are easily accessible when needed. As a courtesy, the office provides certified copies of the discharge papers at no cost to the veterans, or, if the veteran is deceased, to the next of kin.