License plate campaign to honor Virginia’s female veterans needs more applications to go before General Assembly

Published: Jan. 2, 2023 at 5:41 PM EST
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(WDBJ) - The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is trying to create a specialized license plate for female veterans. DVS needs to get 300 more applications from female veterans across the Commonwealth to get the initiative before the General Assembly this year.

DVS’s women veterans program manager explained how this campaign goes far beyond just having a license plate.

”We want to be able to be seen and heard,” veteran Beverly Vantull said. “We’re not invisible.”

Having a designated license plate is a way to honor and recognize a female veteran’s service to the country.

“A lot of our women veterans do not feel seen, they do not feel heard, they do not feel appreciated,” Vantull said. “That’s what this campaign is about. It’s about our women veterans proudly displaying on their cars, I am a woman veteran. See me. Honor me.”

Veteran Lois Withers started the campaign with Loretta Gully so women who have served receive the same respect as male veterans.

“We are in the minority in the military as female veterans, and giving us that extra bit of recognition just helps us to continue the work that we’re doing,” Withers said.

A special license plate is also a way to stand out among the existing military plates.

“The community sees those plates on a woman’s car; they think it’s for her husband or they think it’s for some male in her life,” Vantull said. “They don’t necessarily think that I served.”

Vantull explained the campaign not only honors female veterans; it starts an important conversation.

“My desire for this campaign is to truly bring our community together to open the eyes of some of our brother veterans to understand that some of their sisters in arms are struggling and hurting and need them to be our voice,” Vantull said. “Now we can speak up for ourselves, absolutely, but it never ever hurts to have an additional advocate.”

The campaign needs to get to 450 applications by January 10 for the General Assembly to approve it. It costs $10 to submit an application for the license plate.