LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today signed legislation creating a vehicle license plate that allows immediate family members of fallen servicemen and women to honor their loved ones.
Senate Bill 102, sponsored by state Sen. John Pappageorge, R-Troy, authorizes the Secretary of State to issue a “Gold Star Family” license plate to immediate family members of those who died while serving in the armed forces.
“The Gold Star Family license plate will serve as a ‘moving memorial’ to our heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Snyder said. “It also recognizes the enormous sacrifices of Michigan families who have lost loved ones in America’s armed conflicts. This plate is a fitting tribute that families can display on their vehicles with great pride. As we observe Memorial Day 2011, please join me in keeping these heroes and their families in our thoughts and prayers.”
Joining Snyder at the Capitol bill signing were two Gold Star families.
David and Laura De Roo of Paw Paw lost their son, Sgt. Gabriel De Roo, in 2006. Laura De Roo is founder and current president of Michigan Chapter 179 of the Blue Star Mothers of America and a founding member of Western Michigan American Gold Star Mothers of Kalamazoo.
Katie Youmans Eichler of Flushing lost her first husband, Sgt. Joshua Youmans, in 2006. She has been an active advocate of state and federal legislation banning protests at military funerals. On Memorial Day 2006, she was invited to visit the White House to witness President George Bush sign the federal bill into law. She was joined at today’s event by her husband, Capt. Jason Eichler, and daughters MacKenzie and Sadie.
Similar to Michigan’s other military and veteran license plates, the Gold Star Family plate will cost $5 in addition to normal vehicle registration fees.
S.B. 102 is now Public Act 46 of 2011.