By Jennifer Ortiz
A Monmouth County program known as “Honoring our Heroes” is offering veterans a way to save money.
Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon and her staff have created a list of businesses that offer discounts to more than 33,000 veterans who call the county home.
In a press release, Hanlon said a veterans discount guidebook is available to individuals who have a veterans identification card issued by the county clerk’s office. The guidebook lists stores, restaurants and other businesses that offer products and/or service discounts to veterans.
The guidebook may be found online at co.monmouth.nj.us/page.aspx?ID=4119
Howell Mayor Bill Gotto said municipal officials want to spread the word about the initiative.
“We received a notice from Christine Hanlon, who was (attempting) to get more public awareness of businesses that had an existing program offering discounts to veterans,” Gotto said. “When I brought up the subject at a Township Council meeting, I asked the township manager to have it posted on our website and our Facebook page. We started getting phone calls from Howell businesses.”
When Gotto discussed the “Honoring our Heroes” program at a council meeting, his remarks caught the attention of resident Barbara Dixel.
Dixel said her husband, Jerry, is a veteran. She said she understands the sacrifices and hardships some veterans face after their time in the military has ended. With that in mind, she took up the cause and recruited 130 more businesses to the discount program.
Dixel suggested that every veteran should obtain a veterans identification card.
The Monmouth County Clerk’s Office and the Monmouth County Connection issue veterans ID cards to veterans who are residents of the county and who served the nation in active military duty. To obtain an ID card, veterans must bring a New Jersey driver’s license and an original DD-214 Report of Separation to the county clerk’s office in Freehold Borough or to the Monmouth County Connection in Neptune.
“If you are a veteran and have the veterans ID card, no matter what stores you go into, ask for the discount. Take out your card out and by all means ask,” Dixel advised. “It is wonderful for a township in our day and age to want to give people who served our country something. Too many people don’t.”
Hanlon said business owners who may want to join the “Honoring our Heroes” program may contact her at 732-431-7324 or Countyclerk@co.monmouth.nj.us
Farmers Insurance-Antico Agency in Howell participates in the program. Owner Kristina Antico said the desire to participate in “Honoring Our Heroes” was never a second thought and was something the agency had been doing for years on its own.
“My grandfather fought in World War II alongside my five great uncles, and my oldest brother fought in Desert Storm. My grandfather held the office of captain in the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Brooklyn and was a highly decorated Purple Heart wounded veteran. My father was a policeman for 25 years in Brooklyn, retiring after a severe work injury,” Antico said. “My family believes in serving our country, standing proud for our freedom and living in peace and harmony with our fellow countrymen.”
Antico offers a military discount upon proof of service and the discount varies on the type of insurance purchased.
Farmers Insurance also provides financial assistance to military personnel who may want to become entrepreneurs and open their own agency. Antico may be reached at 732-837-3395 or at email@example.com
The Jewelry Link, Howell, offers veterans 10 percent off all purchases and repairs in addition to regular discounts. Owner Craig Link operates the family owned business that has been in Howell for more than 30 years.
“This is our way of honoring and saying thank you to our veterans. They fight for us and our freedom and they deserve something in return. I hope that as the word spreads about this program, more and more businesses offer discounts,” Link said.
For more information, visit http://www.jewelrylinknj.com/ or call 732-806-5129.
Hibernian Home Care, Howell, became part of the program in honor of and to pay tribute to Sgt. Timothy J. Horton.
“Sgt. Horton is the father of our company’s founder, vice president and director of nursing, Cathy Horton Benedetti. Sgt. Horton served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War in 1968-69,” said Hibernian Home Care President Roger L. Benedetti.
“Many veterans and their spouses are unaware they may qualify for benefits that cover home care and other medical costs. In the case of home care, these benefits may cover up to 30 hours or more of care per month. Our staff has knowledge and experience to help determine eligibility for veterans in the program and will assist clients through the entire application process at no additional charge,” Benedetti said.
Hibernian Home Care offers a free month of medical alert monitoring to any veteran who signs up for home care.
“Having the opportunity to speak with a veteran about home care enables us to provide that individual with information about available veterans programs they may qualify for, and to evaluate the benefit of a certified home health aide to help maintain independence, all while remaining safely at home,” Benedetti said.
For more information, visit http://hibernianhomecare.com/veterans/ or call 732-481-1148.