New Motorcycle Plate To Honor Veterans

BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Legislature approved a bill during the 2011 session to create a special motorcycle license plate honoring the state’s veterans and active military service men and women.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, a first-term Democrat, signed the bill into law on Tuesday during a ceremony in Rutland.

The license measure, originally a House proposal, was added into a Senate bill later in the 2011 session. It allows the commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue the special plates to veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces for use on motorcycles and similar vehicles.

According to the finalized legislation, the commissioner will determine the type and style of the plate, although there is a requirement that an American flag, or a military-related emblem shall appear on one side of the plate. At a minimum, emblems will be available to recognize recipients of the Purple Heart, Pearl Harbor survivors, former prisoners of war and disabled veterans.

The governor’s office reported the plate will feature an American flag similar to the existing U.S. Veteran recognition plate available for cars and trucks.

“Vermont’s troops deserve our support and recognition,” Shumlin said. “These license plates are one way we can honor our veterans who have served our state proudly in protecting our freedom.”

State Rep. Michael Hebert, a Vernon Republican and Marine veteran, said since there are roughly 20 different specialty plates already in Vermont, it was appropriate to honor veterans with a motorcycle plate as well.

“A lot of vets ride bikes, and I thought it was a good thing to do and I was really happy to sponsor that,” Hebert said. “From my experience being in the military in the 1960s, anything we can do to honor vets, I’m on top of. Being a vet from the 1960s was not always the most pleasant experience, so I really think we should do all we can for veterans, especially the guys who are volunteering now.”

While the legislation establishes a special plate for motorcycle operators, it also permits current Armed Forces members to obtain veteran recognition license plates. Vermont’s law previously required active members to separate from military service before they were eligible for the recognition plates.

Commander Richard Guthrie of Brattleboro’s American Legion Post No. 5 said there are a lot of veteran organizations throughout the state and country who do excellent charity work through motorcycle rides.

“We see the fire department plate, police department, the Blue Knights [a motorcycle club made up of current and retired law enforcement officers], and now we have a lot of veteran riders, too, that do tremendous work for American Legion foundations and so forth,” Guthrie said.

“So anything that brings out significant attention to veterans in front of you, it’s a good way to quietly give them thanks for their service,” he added. “Every little bit helps. Many of these veterans, especially in the later wars of Vietnam, Korea and Afghanistan and Iraq — the toll that it has taken on their mental life and their families, they need all the recognition they can get.”

Other veterans organizations worked for the passage of the legislation, including the Vietnam Veterans of America Rutland Chapter.

“The veterans in Vermont are proud of their service to this country. This is just another way of showing how proud we are of veterans, and how many of us there are,” said president Adrian Megrath of the Rutland chapter.

Shumlin signed the bill at the chapter’s office.

Vermont’s DMV said military personnel and veterans can apply for the new plates beginning July 1.

“We would not be accepting any applications until July 1, and there’s no additional fee for the veterans motorcycle plates,” said a DMV customer service representative. “They will just have to have their form signed by the Veterans Affairs, like they normally would for any other vehicle, like a car or a truck.”

The Office of Veterans Affairs said the plates are a great way to establish contact with veterans who have never applied for benefits, especially Vermont National Guard members now returning from deployment to Afghanistan.

“Within a month of their return, about 10 percent of those who deployed came to our office to get an Afghanistan Campaign Plate,” said Clayton Clark, director of Veterans Services, said in a statement. “This gives us an opportunity to both show our appreciation and talk to them about any assistance they may need.”

 

Harley Owners Group Offers Prizes for Hoka Hey Challenge

Milwaukee (May 6, 2011) – The Harley-Davidson Motor Company is pleased to announce that it will provide more than $50,000 in contingency prizes to the highest finishing members of the Harley Owners Group who complete the 2011 Hoka Hey Challenge.

 

To recognize the H.O.G. members partaking in this event as among the most adventurous motorcyclists in the world, the highest finishing eligible H.O.G. member who completes the event, as determined by the organizers, will be awarded a 2012 Harley-Davidson Custom Vehicle Operations motorcycle of his or her choice. In addition, the 2nd through 5th highest finishing eligible H.O.G. members will each be awarded a portion of a total of $19,000 in additional cash prizes.

 

The Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge will present one of the world’s greatest long-distance endurance motorcycle riding events beginning August 5, 2011. The event, the second annual in a series, begins in Phoenix, Arizona, and travels through all forty-eight contiguous U.S. states and several Canadian provinces to Nova Scotia.  The route will travel more than 10,000 miles, and is open to all riders of Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

 

“The Hoka Hey Challenge is a perfect match for the superior touring experience and capabilities of Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the long-distance adventuring aspirations of many of our H.O.G. members,” said Steve Piehl, Harley-Davidson Director of Customer Experience. “The theme of the Hoka Hey Challenge is ‘It’s a good day to ride!’ and that is always the case on a Harley.”

 

To be eligible for any contingency award, the rider must be a H.O.G. member in good standing at the time the ride starts and must display a H.O.G. emblem on his or her riding gear and in a prominent location on the motorcycle (preferably on the windshield or Tour Pak) throughout the event. The H.O.G. member must be the designated rider (passengers not eligible) and meet all eligibility requirements for the event. H.O.G. emblems and decals will be provided free of charge to all members who participate in the event at the start of the challenge.

 

As an event and contingency sponsor only, Harley-Davidson Motor Company is not responsible for organizing or conducting the event, and will defer all decisions regarding final finishing order to the event organizers.

 

For details, eligibility requirements, and rules of the H.O.G. contingency program, visit members.hog.com. For entry information or to monitor the event’s progress, visit www.hokaheychallenge.com.

 

Company Background

 

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles
and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit harley-davidson.com.