FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Rick Stup is so deeply involved with the American Legion that even his car bears the organization’s name.
Stup, an Army veteran, past commander of Post 11 in Frederick and an American Legion member for more than 40 years, has had license plates featuring the organization’s name and logo since the 1970s.
“It’s just my way of showing support,” said Stup, of Frederick, to The Frederick News-Post.
According to data from the Motor Vehicle Administration, more Maryland drivers are choosing license plates that represent their military service.
In 2009, the MVA received 10 new applications for plates representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. In 2014, the MVA received 916 new applications for those plates.
Drivers who apply for plates with the name of a military branch or a military award must provide proof of their service or their award.
The number of new applications for combat-related plates has also gone up. These plates refer specifically to military campaigns and commendations.
The MVA received 23 applications for combat-related plates in 2009, and 632 applications for those plates this year.
Organizational plates have not been as popular. Organizations can ask the MVA to create a plate for them if at least 25 members show their interest. Drivers then apply for the plates through the organization.
“Once the plate has been established, they remain unless for whatever reason the organization says they no longer wish to have the plate,” MVA spokesman Buel Young said.
The 29th Division Association has had between 10 and 20 applications for its license plates each year since 2009.
John Wilcox, member of local Cresap’s Rifles Post 78 of the 29th Division Association, said those requests have been fairly constant.
In its newsletter, which has a circulation of more than 1,500, Wilcox said it will periodically include information about applying for the plates, which spurs some interest.
“We’ll get a little flash in the pan,” he said.
Wilcox had a 29th Division Association plate for more than a decade until he leased a new car and was unable to keep the plate.
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans and the Maryland National Guard are a few of the hundreds of military and organizational plates available to Maryland drivers.
An estimated 926,000 Maryland plates were issued in fiscal year 2014, according to MVA spokesman Philip Dacey.
Young said the MVA does not directly promote any of the organizational or military plate options.
Unlike the more well-known Chesapeake Bay and agricultural plates, which support the Chesapeake Bay Trust and Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation, there is no yearly fee for organizational plates.
(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)