Families issued Gold Star plates | RecordCourier.com

Families issued Gold Star plates

by F.T. Norton

Outside the crush of media and onlookers, Jeff Evans of Minden quietly went about getting a specialized license plate for his car Monday at the Department of Motor Vehicles on Wright Way.

The new plate is marked with a gold star to signify the loss of his father, Staff Sgt. Norman Evans, on Nov. 24, 1970, in Vietnam. Jeff was just 2 years old then and knows about his dad only from the stories his family has told him.

But he has carried his father’s loss with him every day. And when an American service member dies in service to his country, Jeff, now a parent, said he identifies mostly with the children left behind.

He said he will proudly display the license plate and talk to anyone who asks about it.

“I’ll take any opportunity to talk about my dad,” Evans, Douglas High School’s athletic director, said with a bittersweet grin. “This is one way I can honor him.”

Monday marked the first day the DMV issued Gold Star plates to the immediate families of U.S. service member killed in the line of duty.

Sally Wiley of Gardnerville wore a pin on her shoulder with a photograph of Staff. Sgt. Sean Diamond. Underneath read the words, “My son. My hero.”

She also was instrumental in the passage of the bill that made the plates possible.

Diamond, 41, was killed on Feb. 15 in Iraq, just over a week before he was to return to the states.

He left behind a wife and four children. And an identical twin brother, his mother said.

“This (plate) has been a help in the sense of showing the respect and recognition and the gratitude,” she said, clutching her new plate. “It also shows how vulnerable we are.”