Gig Line: Veterans – Good news and updates

Published 7:06 am Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Matters of importance … (of course everything matters and is important, if it has to do with our veterans!)

I was recently contacted by a nice gentleman veteran that I’ll refer to as “B.” who reads Gig Line in which he talked about the SAR flag that the V.F.W. (the Veterans of Foreign Wars) promotes – and for good reason. You may have seen it or currently display it at your home or business, but if not, it’s something to consider.

The SAR flag was created by U.S. Air Force veteran Kevin W. Hertell and if you search on the internet “symbolism of the SAR flag” you will find considerable information about the flag and that it “honors and forever remembers the veterans and military lost to suicide.” Also, there’s a touching video by the flag’s creator who is enlisting recognition for the flag through Congress to recognize it nationally for the fallen and their families. Mr. Hertell explains that veterans will see there is care and hope for those in crisis and that all profits from the sale of the flags will provide help for the reported 7,300 veterans per year (based on an average of 20 per day) who have passed due to suicide.

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In the video, he explains the design of the flag and each aspect of the artistry, its meaning and how it symbolizes respect. If you would like to see the video itself, search SARflag.com.

Based on the information “B.” sent to me, the goal of honoring and remembering veterans and active military lost to suicide in addition “to honor, unite, and respect their families” and to help prevent future suicides is paramount in this endeavor.

In speaking with “B.,” I felt honored myself that he would take the time to call me, then write to me with further information about the flag and its especially important message to us all. God bless you friend!

Suicide is something that touches everyone and if there is anything like the SAR flag that can help us to prevent suicide, it’s something to stand up for. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a means of help and critical support. In a mental health crisis, please call: The Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or dial the just-launched number to access help 988, a newly-established universal mental health crisis hotline number that has just gone live! So, no matter where someone might be, whether home or while traveling, dialing 988 should be available for help everywhere.

This new, easier-to-remember number to access help is a result of legislation passed through Congress in 2020. Thank you, Congress, for caring about everyone who might need immediate help during tough times or crisis!

If you are a veteran and have not acquired your free Dare County Veteran Discount Card, you can call me at 252-202-2058 or Patty O’Sullivan, Dare County veteran service officer, at 252-475-5604. Either of us can issue the card to you that will entitle you to discounts from Hatteras Village to Corolla! The discounts are for everything from a wide range of eateries to auto/marine parts and even professional services. Discounts vary in percentage, though most business owners offer veteran discounts from 10%, 15 % and even 20%. To review which businesses have signed up to acknowledge your service to our country, search darenc.com then in the search bar type “veterans” and you will find the option to click on the broad list of participating businesses.

What is required of you to obtain your card? We just ask that you bring:

  1. Your DD-214 showing honorable discharge;
  2. Your driver’s license (it does not have to be a North Carolina license);
  3. A real estate property tax bill if you own property (either improved or vacant) in Dare County,
  4. Or if you rent your residence in Dare County, a lease agreement or utility bill in your name will suffice.

The process takes all of 10 minutes and we do not keep a copy of your documents, we only review them for verification. You will receive a plastic card with an assigned number on the back and our contact information. Also, as secretary of the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council, I issue the card, however, Patty O’Sullivan is the only official liaison between you as a veteran and the V.A., so if you have questions about benefits, a claim or a service-related health concern or question, please contact Patty. She’s extremely interested in helping all our veterans. And if you’re a veteran visiting on the Outer Banks and have a question, please call her as well; she welcomes every opportunity to help our deserving veterans.

Day at the Docks – Hatteras Village – an annual event that celebrates Hatteras Island working watermen’s heritage, history and culture will be held this year over two days: Friday, September 16 and Saturday, September 17. This is a “not to be missed” occasion that will delight all family members, regardless of age! Fun, food, entertainment and the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council with host a booth wherein you can pick up a free tote bag, free pen, free NC4Vets magazine (really helpful) and register for the drawing for a free American flag! Besides that, we’ll look forward to meeting you and thanking you for your service! Look for our booth and bring the required info as described above if you live here or own property in Dare County to pick up your free discount card, too!

The Outer Banks Seafood Festival – another awesome event – slated for Saturday, October 15 in Nags Head. The Dare County Veterans Advisory Council will also have a booth as described above where you can again obtain your free veteran discount card. So if you’re a full time resident or absentee property owner, mark your calendar to attend! It’s fun for the whole family. I will include more info on the festival as the time draws nigh.

Until next time, be healthy, safe and happy folks! Love one another and love on our vets – they so deserve it. Remember, God loves you and so do I. Be blessed and love the folks who love you back like you mean it. Stay tuned!

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