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November 9, 2013

Vets plate coming soon to Bay State roads

DANVERS — A “Supporting Our Veterans” license plate may soon become a visible sign of troop support on Bay State roads, thanks to a former Danvers resident who came up with the idea.

A portion of the proceeds from the $50 license plate fee will go to Danvers-based Operation Troop Support, along with other veterans groups statewide, said Danvers state Rep. Ted Speliotis.

The plate design was unveiled in a State House ceremony in July 2012.

The new license plate provision is part of a bill called Valor Act II, which contains several measures to support veterans.

This bill has passed both houses on Beacon Hill, but minor differences remain before it can be signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, said state Rep. Jerry Parisella, D-Beverly, vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.

Among other things, Valor Act II allows college students who are called up in the middle of a semester to avoid academic or financial penalties due to their military service, Parisella said.

There are a variety of special license plates that veterans can obtain — for ex-POWs, for example, and Pearl Harbor survivors — but none that the general public can buy to show support for veterans.

“Anyone who wants to support veterans can get this plate; that’s the beauty of it,” said former Danvers resident Mike McNulty, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Disabled and Limbless Veterans, who came up with the idea for the plate, which he said should be available by April 1. McNulty, now a Norwood resident, served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, he said.

“It’s a great victory,” said Speliotis, who added that there might be a public signing ceremony at the State House before Veterans Day on Monday.

The plate depicts a soldier holding an M16 rifle kneeling under a flag depicting the service medal ribbons of the nation’s three longest wars in the past 100 years: Afghanistan on top, Vietnam in the middle and Iraq on the bottom.

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