(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Gov. Jim Gibbons on Monday will present the first two Nevada Gold Star license plates to the parents of two soldiers killed in action in Iraq.
Roger Varela, a Fernley resident and founder of the Gold Star Families of Northern Nevada, will be presented license plate 0001. Varela’s son Ray was killed near Baghdad May 19, 2007 when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED).
Sally Wiley, a Gardnerville resident, will receive license plate 0002. Wiley’s son Sean was killed Feb. 15, 2009 near As Salam, Iraq. His vehicle was also struck by an IED.
The Gold Star plate, available statewide as of Nov. 9, was authorized by the 2009 Legislature and signed into law by Gibbons in May. Only immediate families and grandparents of service members killed in the line of duty while on active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States qualify for the plate.
“The memory of those who fought and died for our safety and liberty must be remembered by all freedom-loving Nevadans,” Governor Jim Gibbons said. “I hope family members who display these license plates do so with honor and pride.”
Former state Sen. Joe Heck, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, sponsored Senate Bill 139 that authorized the issuance of the Gold Star license plate. Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, assumed sponsorship when Heck lost his reelection bid. The bill passed both houses without opposition.
“We recognize and honor the sacrifices made by service members killed in the line of duty, and the Gold Star plate recognizes the ongoing sacrifice family members suffer after losing a loved one,” Heck said. “The license plate is a public way of recognizing and honoring their loss.”
The Gold Star license plate does not raise funds for any organization. The cost for a set is $1 which is the cost to produce the plate. The plate is coded “FV” which stands for “Fallen Veteran.” Details and the application form are available on the DMV’s website under Military and Veterans License Plates.