Onondaga County launches merchant discount program for veterans
October 29, 2009, 6:00AM
Syracuse, NY - Local merchants will have a new way to thank the roughly 31,000 military veterans who live in Onondaga County with today's launch of a discount program for vets.
County Executive Joanie Mahoney and other officials this morning will announce the beginning of "Return the Favor," a program under which stores and service providers can give discounts to honorably discharged veterans.
Participating retailers, who will be identified by a poster in the window, will offer discounts or special offers of their choosing. Nearly 40 merchants have signed up, and county officials expect more to join, said Robert McLean, director of the county Veterans Service Agency.
Veterans can qualify for the discounts by obtaining an identification card from the county clerk's office.
To get an ID card, veterans must bring a copy of their discharge papers and proof of county residency to the clerk's office. Veterans who can't locate their discharge form can seek help from the Veteran Services Agency at 435-3217.
"We were looking for a way to say 'thank you' all year long," McLean said. "The appeal of this thing is that it doesn't go away. It's a year-round program that we hope will grow."
County Clerk Ann Ciarpelli came up with the idea after learning of a similar program in Rockland County, McLean said. Anaren Inc. volunteered to sponsor the program by defraying the cost of printing posters, buying supplies and other items.
"Return the Favor" is intended only for veterans, not active-duty service members. A list of participating merchants and the discounts they offer will be posted on the county Web site, www.ongov.net.Tim Knauss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 470-3023.
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.