name is Laura Comas, and I am a life member of Women Veterans of America
Chapter 20 and a founding member of the East Tennessee Women Veterans
Network. I served in the Army
and also in the Tennessee Army National Guard.
About four years ago, I became motivated
to get a veteran’s license plate. I discovered that out of the nearly 20
veteran plates available at the time, there were none for women veterans.
Women have been honorably serving our Nation’s military since the
Revolutionary War with little recognition for our contributions, so I
thought it was time we had our own license plate.
I learned there are two types of
Specialty Plates the state is willing to provide, one that benefits a
specific organization and the other that does not. The first option would
require a concerted effort at finding one thousand women veterans willing
to commit to purchasing a plate, collecting a check for $35.00 from each,
and a firm commitment that the plate would be paid for year after year by
at least one thousand women. This, before one can even approach the
The upside to this option is that the
organization earns a percentage of the additional annual fee paid to the
state. An example of a very successful Specialty Plate would be the Friends
of the Smokies, earning thousands of dollars each year for that
organization. Choosing which women veterans organization would benefit
from the plate was not something I wanted to do, so I opted for the other
type of plate.
I then contacted Tennessee Senators Doug
Overbey and Tim Burchett, who were very pleased to sponsor a bill
authorizing a license plate for women veterans in
This bill was overwhelmingly supported,
with every woman Representative and Senator signing on as co-sponsors. The
Bill became law in June 2007. As a women veteran, I am grateful to Sen.
Overbey and Sen. Burchett for their interest in recognizing those women
who have served our state and our country.
In the spring of 2007, I had the honor to
stand before the House to be recognized. I gathered several women veterans
to join me, including Tennessee State Commander of the Women Veterans of
America, Corina Collins, and members of the Women Veterans Network. A
standing ovation honored us. On this page, you can see some photos from
this gathering at the State Capitol.
The next step was to design the plate. I
Mr. Walker, designer of “Faith and
Courage” a Tribute to US Military Chaplains displayed at the TN Museum
of Aviation in Sevierville, designed the plate to honor Molly Pitcher.
Because she was one of the first known
woman honored for taking up arms in defense in the U.S. Revolutionary War
and Tennessee is the first State in the Union to pass a Law commemorating
women veterans with their own distinguishable license plate, Tom said who
better to decorate that plate than Molly Pitcher?
It was at this point I learned a valuable
lesson. It is important to put the correct wording on the license plate
and that wording must reflect the exact wording in the law. This is when I
had to initiate an amendment to the law that was passed to accurately
reflect the intention of the plate.
That is the reason for the delay in the
availability of the plate since the original passage of the law for the
plate to be created. Since
Thanks for sharing in this reward with
Past WVA National Chaplain
WVA Chapter 20
As shown here by WVA Chapter 20 and National Adjutant Robin Blanchard,
the Woman Veteran plates are also available for motorcycles.
contact information and locations of ALL county clerks in the state of
JOIN WOMEN VETERANS ACROSS THE STATE AND PROUDLY DISPLAY YOUR PLATES
Take a photo of you and your new Woman Veteran plate and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to post it here for
all to see and admire.
WVA Chapter 20 Vice-Commander Stacey Hopwood and Commander Mary Ross
show off their brand new tags.
East Tennessee Women Veterans Network member Ruth Moore proudly
points out license number 10!