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February 11, 2016

REGISTER OF DEEDS WORKS TO RAMP UP PROGRAM HONORING VETERANS

Form DD-214s, needed by veterans to access many benefits, may be obtained at Register of Deeds Office

 

Catawba County Register of Deeds Donna Hicks Spencer and her staff are working to boost a new program begun last November to thank and recognize inactive and retired veterans for their services through discounts at local businesses. At the same time, Spencer wants to make sure veterans and their families know they can obtain a very important form, called DD-214, at the Register of Deeds Office at the Justice Center off Highway 321 Business in Newton.

“DD Form 214, which is also known as a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty but generally referred to as a ‘DD-214’, is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member's retirement, separation, or discharge from active-duty military,” Spencer said. “It has a variety of uses. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs uses it to confirm that a veteran is entitled to benefits. A potential employer may use it to confirm that an applicant did serve in the military. And it is needed by families who want their loved one who served in the military to rest in a military cemetery, have a grave marker, or receive military honors at a funeral.”

The DD-214 was introduced in 1950 and replaced other forms called "WD AGO" (War Department Adjutant General's Office) Forms and NAVPERS (Naval Personnel) forms that were in use during World War II. Earlier versions of the DD-214 were referred to as a "Report of Separation from Active Duty". The DD-214 title dates from July 1, 1979.

Filing the DD-214 with the Register of Deeds is a means to preserve the record for the future so that the individual is able to retrieve the form when it is needed for health benefits or even to obtain a military grave marker and burial flag. The Register of Deeds is glad to assist individuals when filing their DD-214 or issuing a certified copy, and both services are free to those that qualify.

“Just recently, a lady called our office who has been trying for two years to get a military grave marker for her late husband,” Spencer added. “I’ve gone to the office at night and on weekends to meet with citizens to get their family member’s DD-214s in order to have the presentation of the United States burial flag and the sounding of Taps for their loved one at his or her funeral. On far too many occasions, we’ve searched for that person’s DD-214 only to find that one was not recorded. We’re unable to assist if a veteran didn’t obtain a file their DD-214 while living and at this point the family is unaware where a copy may be. That’s why we want all veterans to know they may file their DD-214 at the Register of Deeds Office regardless of how long ago it has been since their discharge.”

More information on the DD-214, and on how to obtain one, may be seen at http://www.catawbacountync.gov/depts/regdeed/military.asp. Or phone the Register of Deeds Office at 828-465-1573 for information or assistance.

Another part of the Register of Deeds Office’s effort to honor veterans is the “Thank You for Your Service” program. This is designed to provide discounts from area businesses. The program is free to veterans, who may learn more at http://www.catawbacountync.gov/depts/regdeed/. Click on the photo labeled “Military” or look for a link on the left side that says “Thank You for Your Service.”

“We are asking local businesses to help us thank veterans by providing discounts for goods and services,” Spencer said. “In return, we will recognize the business free of charge on the Register of Deeds website and provide the business with a poster that can be displayed showing that business’s support of our veterans. Discounts may be a percentage of the sale or a specific dollar amount, and both can be with limitations and/or restrictions. Or a business may wish to offer an incentive gift or gift card to the veteran (such as a free drink with purchase).”

Thus far, six local businesses are participating. They include Dos Amigos restaurants on 4th St. SW in Hickory and on Conover Boulevard in Conover; El Sarape Mexican Restaurant on Highway 127 South in Hickory; the Saigon Garden restaurant on Conover Boulevard in Conover; Sears at Valley Hills Mall on Highway 70 in Hickory (applies in hardware, sporting goods, lawn and garden only) and Shelton Financial on Highway 10 in Claremont.

“We are hoping more businesses will join us in this program,” Spencer said. “We want to give back to those that gave to us and feel our veterans deserve the benefits that come with having the DD-214 form, including an appropriate burial, and anything the community can do to show our support and thanks.”

Additional information on the Thank You for Your Service program for veterans and businesses, and an application form for interested businesses may also be seen at http://www.catawbacountync.gov/depts/regdeed/. Or you may call the Register of Deeds Office at 828-465-1573.