Shimkus and Rice

Congressman John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) recorded his military discharge papers in the Madison County Recorder's office last week, demonstrating an effective way for veterans to safeguard important military documents.

"When a veteran comes in to my office seeking assistance, many times we must first go to the military to get copies of records before they can get assistance from VA," Shimkus said in a statement. "Having a copy of your DD214 or other military records easily accessible is as easy as visiting the courthouse."

Madison County Record of Deeds Matt Rice said veterans should record an original copy of their discharge papers, form DD214, with their local recorder's office to ensure it is protected as need arises.

He said discharge papers are recorded at no charge, and a certified copy will be provided to the veteran requesting it at a later date at no charge.

"It is important that veterans record their discharge papers upon being released from our country's service in order to safeguard their service records," Rice said.

"As time goes on and their situations change, these documents can often get misplaced. Recording the document assures that the veteran will always know where to find a certified copy."

Shimkus is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and after serving a five-year active duty commitment entered the United States Army Reserve, retiring in 2008 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

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