HARRISBURG (May 24, 2012 )–Pennsylvanians who want to honor veterans may soon have several new ways to show their support and help military families, thanks to a bill introduced yesterday by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20).
Baker’s bill allows both veterans and military supporters to purchase a special license plate, with proceeds from the plate sales dedicated to a newly created charity for needy veterans and their families. In addition to license fees, the charity would be able to receive contributions from the state and federal government, corporations, individuals, and other trusts and foundations.
“With so many solemn Memorial Day events commemorating the service and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes, I urge Pennsylvanians to fly the flag, attend parades and services, and support the military families who have suffered such enormous losses,” Baker said. “Patriotic Pennsylvanians can augment that support by donating to the Veterans Trust Fund, and when the program is fully implemented, to remember veterans during their regular interactions with PennDOT.”
The legislation allows Pennsylvanians to donate $2 to the new Veterans Trust Fund when they renew their driver’s license or motor vehicle registration. The voluntary veterans’ check-off will be similar to those offered for organ donation and breast cancer awareness.
To fulfill a long-standing request of many national veterans’ service organizations, honorably discharged veterans will be able to have a “V” affixed to their driver’s license to indicate their veteran status. Proof of service is often required at stores and organizations that offer discounts to veterans.
Baker, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, said she plans to consider the bill in committee in the near future.
“As our younger veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, and our older veterans have increasingly complex medical needs, the needs of this population continue to grow. This legislation provides an innovative way for private donations to supplement existing public programs and funding to provide maximum benefit for our nation’s soldiers, sailors and airmen.”
Pennsylvanians can contribute to the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation by visiting www.paveteransfoundation.org., or by sending donations to Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation, P.O. Box 98, Annville, PA 17003.
Under Baker’s bill, this newly chartered statewide charitable foundation could be utilized to make grants to veterans’ service organizations, to support new or expanded programs operated by the county Directors of Veterans’ Affairs, and to maintain and repair monuments honoring veterans.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson