Assemblymember Steck Helps WWII Veteran Receive His First Photo ID

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) recently helped a member of America’s Greatest Generation, George T. Jenkins, secure safe housing, and a crucial document. Jenkins, a 100-year-old World War II veteran, served in the Navy and earned three medals for his outstanding accomplishments in the Pacific Theater.

Jenkins lived independently until recently when he became hospitalized after falling ill. Once he recovered, he was informed that he could not be released from the hospital until he had satisfactory housing. He planned to move into the senior apartment complex where his daughters currently live, but the complex would only accept him if he had government-issued photo identification.

Jenkins was born in 1922, when, unfortunately, it was common for Black citizens to not be issued a birth certificate. Steck noted that Jenkins had an unnecessarily difficult time obtaining the required photo ID and was forced to spend much longer stuck in the hospital.

“As the son of a World War II veteran, I’m always proud to assist the brave men and women who serve our nation with whatever problems they face including cutting through bureaucratic red tape,” said Steck. “I’m glad George Jenkins and his family reached out so this issue could finally be resolved. Though it is an injustice that he was denied the necessary documentation early in his life, I am proud to be able to correct it.”

When Jenkins was escorted to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Albany, he was greeted by the excited staff and state DMV Commissioner of Mark J.F. Schroeder. After his official photo was taken, everyone in attendance celebrated the moment by singing the refrain of a popular song from 1942, the time of Jenkins’ service.

“We are pleased to have been able to help make this happen for Mr. Jenkins,” said Schroeder. “Providing the best customer service is our top priority. We are doubly proud to be able to do that for a member of the Greatest Generation and in some small way return the favor for what he has done for our country.”

Jenkins’ family is sharing in his joy, and they’re relieved that he will move into housing that keeps them close and meets his needs.

Stella Jenkins, his daughter, said, “My family is very appreciative to Assemblymember Steck and the Commissioner of DMV for working together to make this photo ID happen for my father. All we wanted was for my father to be with us. Yet, there were so many barriers we encountered while trying to procure an ID for him. As soon as we contacted Mr. Steck’s office and DMV got involved, my father had his first photo ID. It was the best holiday gift we could have asked for.”