Tulsa County Clerk Michael Willis can’t get the news story out of his mind. A service member was recently buried without military honors because his family couldn’t find his discharge papers, Willis recalled Monday, and it took a month to get a copy.
What many veterans don’t know, he said, is that they can file their discharge papers in the County Clerk’s Office for free.
“By filing your DD214 (discharge papers) in your county clerk’s office, whether you are in Tulsa County or Wagoner or Rogers or any county in Oklahoma,” Willis said, “you can file it and basically have it in a lock box safe for your keeping and use it whenever you need it.”
The free filing service is one of several veterans-related programs offered by Tulsa County. The county has also established a Veterans Treatment Court and, through the Assessor’s Office, processes property tax exemption applications for veterans disabled 100% during their service.
A new website, tulsacounty.org/veterans, was recently set up by the County Clerk’s Office to provide information about and easy access to the services.
Willis said the website was launched to coincide with Veterans Day.
“We are trying to make a concerted effort to get the word out about these offerings,” he said.
Military discharge papers provide proof of military service and are often required to access veterans benefits. Willis said he believes the County Clerk’s Office has been filing them since Oklahoma became a state.
“We have DD214s from World War I in our records,” he said.
The Veterans Affairs Court is designed to assist former service members with drug, alcohol or mental health problems who are facing criminal charges. The program is part of the Community Service Council’s Tulsa Alternative Courts program.
“We want to try to help them get back on solid footing,” Willis said.
Tulsa County has long been a welcoming place for veterans looking for a job, Willis said. The county complies with the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act and has veterans employed in myriad departments.
“We know generally that they have a certain amount of training and a certain amount of discipline,” Willis said. “We have veterans peppered throughout our organization.”
Veterans or their families can call 918-596-5801 for more information about Tulsa County’s veterans services.