Those in need of a new identification card related to military service will be able to pick one up beginning this week from the Oregon Army National Guard.
The new identification card facility will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the National Guard armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway.
The cards will be issued only to active military personnel, reservists or military retirees and their dependents. There is no cost for the service.
The facility is the result of a collaborative effort by the Guard, led by Capt. Jeff Copeck, an officer with the 1/186th Infantry Battalion headquartered in Ashland, and John Howard, a veteran who is on the staff of U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River.
The need arose after last year's closure of the Naval Reserve Center in Central Point, explained Walden spokesman Andrew Whelan.
"That left about 7,000 Guard members from the Rogue Valley to the coast, plus several thousand reservists and retirees, without an ID facility when they needed one," he said. "The closest place for them to go was either Klamath Falls or Eugene."
But when the Guard requested one from the Defense Manpower Data Center in Washington, D.C., the request was denied, he said.
He cited Howard, a retired Navy commander, and Copeck for their yearlong effort in convincing the center that the facility was needed in the region.
The center then sent out the identification card machine along with an installer and trainer, Copeck said.
"It's a valuable community resource," Copeck said. "A lot of retired military people had to drive over to Klamath Falls if they needed a new ID card. Now they won't have to. We're up and running."
Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at email@example.com.