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New program of mutual benefit assists those who served

— “County Executive Dan McCoy has taken great interest in this program because he feels that the veterans definitely made sacrifices and need this program. He’s had about 500 posters (advertising the program) to be placedin businesses asking veterans to come in for the card and merchants toparticipate,” said Stanislowsky.

Distribution of the posters began Friday, March 23, to all major national businesses in the county, as well as local ones. With 23,000 veterans in Albany County, that advertising will play a key role to informing those inneed.

Andy Davis, director or Saratoga County Veterans Service Agencysays that Saratoga County has been involved with RTF for about a year. Sincethe county’s participation approximately 2,300 to 2,500 cards have been issued and about 1,000 records requests have been done.

“We need to do this because most times people are coming to us in times of crisis, whether a family member who was a veteran who has died oris in a nursing home …People don’t really know that in order to get buried in a national cemetery or get veterans benefits, the only proof shows you were in the military is the DD2-14. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 combat tours in Afghanistan, if you don’t have that piece of paper you’re not getting buried in a national cemetery,” said Davis.

“We had a high demand of veterans coming in asking for some sort of photo identification for identifying themselves as a veteran. There’s no such thing as a national veterans ID card, the government does not issue one…It was an offer to the businesses to give back to veterans and most of them were willing to do it. They jump right on board. Once one or two businesses signed up it really took off,” he said.

Ian Murray, a Navy veteran served as a machinist mate from1980-1985 in Iran, and ran the propulsion systems on ships. He’s also the ownerof Brookside Nursery in Ballston Spa, a participating business with RTF.

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