NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 9, 2013

Vets plate coming soon to Bay State roads

(Continued)

The soldier in the design “is taking a moment of silence for all of those who have died in those three wars,” McNulty said.

So far, 764 people have signed up to get the plate, which beat out seven competing designs with a similar theme of veterans support.

Speliotis said the legislative road for the plate was a bumpy one, however.

The problem was that lawmakers took McNulty’s idea for the plate and ran with it, but they changed which organizations might benefit from its sale. Originally, it would have benefited three groups, including Operation Troop Support; eventually, it wound up including organizations throughout the state.

“Their plate was treated as the consensus plate,” said Speliotis, who was involved in pushing an amendment that restored earmarks for Operation Troop Support and two other groups.

The program still sends out about 100 care packages a week to troops deployed overseas, said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard Moody, who founded Operation Troop Support about 10 years ago with his wife, Christine. The group’s recent mailing of 3,500 Christmas gifts to troops cost $30,000 in postage, Moody said.

Moody says he has mixed feelings about the legislative process, but in the end, he is thankful Operation Troop Support was included in the final bill and grateful for Speliotis’ help.

“If he didn’t do that, the alternative, it would have gone in without any ties to any organization,” Moody said, “and there would be no money earmarked for us at all.”

Parisella is a longtime Army reservist who served much of his freshman year as a state representative on active duty on a military base outside Baghdad, Iraq, as a prosecutor and legal adviser to a medical brigade. He is glad Operation Troop Support will benefit from the new plates.

“They sent me packages in Iraq,” Parisella said, “so I support them for all they do.”

To learn more about the “Supporting Our Veterans” plate, go to http://www.vvplates.org.

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