To show their gratitude to military personnel living in Orange County and their families, the county has re-launched the Orange County Military Discount Card.
Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, County Clerk Annie Rabbitt, and Director of Veterans Services Christian Farrell are leading the effort.
On June 8 Neuhaus and Rabbit announced a card logo contest that is open to students in grades 6-12, with the entry deadline on July 2. The winner will be announced on July 18 at the 2015 Salute to Our Veterans Fireworks Spectacular at Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Goshen.
“This is a great way to help students further understand what Orange County’s veterans have done for this country,” said Neuhaus. “The Salute to Our Veterans Fireworks Spectacular is a wonderful way to honor our veterans and provides a great opportunity for residents to come together to celebrate. I think the logo contest only fosters that sense of community and an appreciation of our veterans.”
Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations, told the Epoch Times that interest in the competition has been mounting although when he spoke to Epoch Times on June 11, it was too early to have received any entries.
In addition to a change in the look of the card, there is also work in progress to revitalize the whole concept behind the physical card itself.
Towards a More User-Friendly Card
The current Orange County Veteran’s Discount Program that was started in 2009 is not “very user friendly at all” according to Farrell, something that he is working towards changing.
The list of participating businesses that is managed by the Orange County Chamber of Commerce, is a rather cumbersome 24 page pdf file that is down-loadable from the Orange County Government website (www.orangecountygov.com).
The list also outlines the special terms and conditions next to each business. Not all offer the same discount percentage, with some offering as little as 4 percent and others as much as 40 percent off the price of their products and services. It is also unclear if the participating businesses are still on board or have dropped off the program while still being listed.
Added to the difficulty in using the program is the fact that businesses don’t necessarily display any signage at the point of sale or inquire if someone is a veteran.
Farrell hopes to streamline the discount amount to a clear percentage, with participating businesses also agreeing to post signage about the discount program where it is clearly visible to customers.
The county is also working towards launching a smart-phone application that will use the location detector in the phone to indicate the businesses to which the veteran is in physical proximity at any given moment throughout Orange County. This will enable veterans to use the program more effectively than they are currently doing.
As a gesture of thanks, Farrell plans on reciprocating the good will and acknowledging the businesses by presenting them with a special plaque which shows that they are veteran-friendly.
“We want to give them some recognition for being part of this program and making them feel good, and give them more incentive for being involved,” he said.
“I just think that there are plenty of opportunities to improve this program in addition to designing the card. Why have a program that is not being used?” said Farrell.
Members of the military and veterans can obtain the card, which provides 10 percent off at participating merchants, by bringing proof of their military service and their residency to the County Clerk’s office at the Parry Building in Valley View, located at 4 Glenmere Cove Road; Goshen, N.Y. 10924. To reach the office by phone, call 845.291.3060.
Entries for the military discount card logo competition can be mailed to 255 Main Street; Goshen, N.Y. 10924.