WESTFIELD – Business owners in Westfield will soon be receiving a letter from Julie Barnes, Director of Veteran’s Services for the City of Westfield, asking if they would like to participate in a new program to support local veterans. The program will offer deals and discounts to veterans who show a specially issued ID Card for Westfield Veterans and Prior Service members.
Barnes got the idea from the communities of Wilbraham and Palmer, who have also implemented the program.
“Veterans, especially older veterans, are having a very difficult time obtaining some kind of ID saying they served in the military,” Barnes said. She said there are ways of getting ID’s online, or traveling to the VA Medical Center to apply, but both create a hardship, especially for some older folks.
The new Westfield ID will not be an official Veterans Affairs card, and will only be good in Westfield. Barnes said she will verify the service records before issuing any cards.
What Barnes is asking local business owners for is some kind of discount for ID cardholders. She said each business could create its own; for example, a free cup of coffee on Fridays, free appetizer on Mondays, 10% off services/merchandise, etc.
Participating companies will be added to the Veteran’s Services’ “Proud to Support Westfield Veterans” business list that will be distributed to all card holders at issuance, as well as featured on their Facebook page at the City of Westfield Veterans Services. Barnes said they will also provide participating businesses with a window decal to identify them as a proud supporter of local veterans.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses to increase their exposure and for a well-deserving sector of our population. We will be sending out information to our chamber contacts in October for any business that would like to participate. We hope they will embrace this opportunity – as it is a win-win for both the business and veteran,” said Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kate Phelon.
A response form will be sent to businesses along with the letter. Any business that would like to participate may also sign up at the Veteran’s Services office at 45 Noble St. in the Senior Center, or by emailing [email protected] for more information.
Barnes said the purpose of the program is two-fold; to encourage veterans to shop locally, support local businesses and the local economy, as well as to provide a source of prior military service identification to local veterans as an outreach to further understand their needs for programs and services.
All prior service military members with an honorable discharge are eligible for this card. Applications will be available beginning Nov. 1, 2019 at the City of Westfield Veterans’ Services Office, 45 Noble St. Anyone with questions should call the office at 413-572-6247.
“Julie has done a great job recognizing the Veterans and we are hoping the local business community will extend offers to those veterans that shop locally,” Mayor Brian P. Sullivan said about the new program.
Amy Porter can be reached at [email protected]