By Nita Johnson
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Military veterans can now get easy recognition with a designation on their Kentucky drivers’ license and state-issued photo identification.
Created by House Bill 221 during 2012 General Assembly, the veteran designation will feature the word “Veteran” typed vertically in capital letters along the right border of the photo.
HB 221 went into effect on July 12, but the programming for the designation through the circuit clerk’s offices across the state was not completed until Sept. 24.
According to the Laurel Circuit Clerk’s office, several veterans have already renewed or replaced their driving licenses to include the veteran designation. According to Tom Zawacki, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Vehicle Registration, more than 700 licenses with the veteran designation were made during the first week the service was available.
Current and former military personnel wishing to have the veteran designation must present a DD214, the Department of Defense form that verifies their military service. Only those receiving honorable discharges or completion of service may receive the veteran designation.
Currently, those veterans who renewed their driver licenses between July 12 and Sept. 24 and who could not receive the designation can receive a free reprint. Those renewing prior to July 12 can receive a duplicate license for a $12 renewal fee.
The latest measure to honor the protectors of our country was celebrated by many legislators. Rep. Marie Rader of McKee commented after receiving the updated information during the Joint Committee on Transportation meeting in Frankfort last week.
“The men and women who served in our armed forces helped to protect our freedom and defend others from tyranny during their time in the military,” said Rep. Rader. “It is the least we can do in the General Assembly by recognizing their service with a special designation on their driver’s license. We must never forget the dedication of our neighbors who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom.”
Governor Steve Beshear, who is a veteran himself, said that serving in the military is a “point of lifelong pride among veterans.”
“This is one small way in which we can acknowledge the many men and women who have honorably worn the uniform.”
The veteran designation on Kentucky driver’s license will also enable veterans to take advantage of businesses who offer discounts to veterans.
“Most businesses in Kentucky want to offer discounts to veterans but don’t realize that most veterans don’t carry identification confirming their veteran status,” said Ken Lucas, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. “Putting the ‘Veteran’ designation on an official state ID greatly simplifies the matter for both veterans and businesses.”
Some of the businesses in the London area who offer a 10 percent discount include Golden Corral, all Wyndham hotel chains, Sonic, Dairy Queen, Burger Queen, Hardee’s, Arby’s, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s, and Allstate Insurance Company.
Walgreen’s offers a 15 percent discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays while Sally Beauty Supply offers free membership to veterans. Enterprise Rental, located on U.S. 25, requires that veterans have a government issued credit card, while AT&T and Verizon offer a 15 percent discount on cellular phone service.
Veterans interested in getting the honorary designation on their driver’s licenses can bring their DD214 form to the Laurel Circuit Clerk’s office in the new Judicial Center building on the first floor and have their new ID or license made and ready within a few minutes.