By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
March 29, 2018
When Connie Wilson Frazier, a former Mecklenburg County representative to the North Carolina House, was driving home from Atlanta in 2005 and noticed an “In God We Trust” license plate in South Carolina, little did she know that bringing the idea back to her home state would one day lead to her receiving the U.S. Army Meritorious Public Service Medal.
But that’s what happened on Tuesday at the North Carolina National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Raleigh. Frazier was honored for her support of National Guard families via sales of the Tar Heel state’s own “In God We Trust” plate, sales which bring some $86,000 into the Guard’s Soldiers and Airmen Assistance Fund (SAAF) each year.
“Most legislators are plagiarists; you see what they are doing in another state and think ‘what a great idea,’” Frazier quipped. She said the tag reminded her of all the people in her home state who were praying for our soldiers, so she proposed that an “In God We Trust” option be added to North Carolina’s list of specialty plates, with proceeds to benefit SAAF.
“It was the easiest bill I have ever passed, but then came the next hurdle,” Frazier said, recognizing the Christian Action League’s role in helping promote the sale of the plate, since 300 orders had to be received before it could be produced.
“To the rescue came Mark Creech (CAL executive director), who took it on as a personal mission,” she explained, pointing out the Rev. Creech in the crowd and thanking him for the CAL’s leading role in promoting sales. Frazier contends the plates would have never become a reality if Rev. Creech hadn’t taken the lead and promoted them.
“I think Connie is a remarkable follower of Christ. It’s not every day that someone who receives an award of such distinction wants to share the limelight with a colleague and friend” Creech said after the ceremony. “Her humility not only blesses me but inspires me. It was an honor and privilege to serve alongside of her in helping make these plates a reality.”
In fact, the Rev. Creech turned in his application to purchase the 300th “In God We Trust” plate, which remains framed in the CAL office.
“Our national motto is on this North Carolina specialty plate. It’s on our currency. It’s now on buildings and many other places throughout our state and nation. And it’s a great reminder that our nation’s hope is not in the President, not the government, not our educational system, not our economy, not even our military. Our hope is in God. We are totally dependent on him for everything and we’re foolish to think that we can survive all the hostilities of this world without his favor and protection,” Creech said. “The people who also framed our government — a government for free men — knew that our rights come from God. It’s only as we trust him and his way, governing ourselves by his Word, can we hope to maintain liberty. This license plate speaks of these great truths whenever someone sees it on a car or truck. It’s an indispensable message, better still, an indispensable conviction that we need to always keep before us, lest we forget and abandon it.”
Frazier said the credit for the funds raised for SAAF should go to the people buying the plates, who pay $30 each year, $20 of which goes to the non-profit.
“There are a lot of people in our state who love God, people who are praying for our soldiers,” she told the crowd on Tuesday. “Our national motto really means something to them. It’s not just a phrase on a wall.”
Although sales for the first “In God We Trust” plate, which included the phrase across the top and a yellow troop ribbon on the side, were strong, they took off even more in 2013, when the plate was redesigned. In addition to the motto, the newer plates feature the bald eagle, a billowing American flag and the letters S and A for “Soldiers and Airmen.”
Frazier has served the SAAF as a board member and legislative affairs advisor.
Dennis Roach, who directs the nonprofit, sang her praises. He said the money raised from the license plates is a tremendous help, since SAAF does not receive state or federal funding, but assists families with food, shelter, utilities and medical emergencies. It also offers support for wounded warriors released from the National Guard since 9/11, grants for disabled National Guard veterans, the Save a Soldier program to assist personnel with PTSD and suicide issues; educational scholarships for military and veteran Guard families and care packages for troops deployed overseas.
Major General Gregory A. Lusk, who commands the N.C. National Guard’s nearly 12,000 soldiers, opened the ceremony and commended Frazier and three other medal recipients, saying they are an important part of the 355-year history of the Guard, which traces its heritage to the 1663 Carolina Charter.
Founded in 1991 during the first Gulf War, the SAAF was initially called the Chaplain’s fund because it was chaplains who saw that families of deployed soldiers and airmen often needed financial help.
At the end of Tuesday’s ceremony, the Rev. Creech received another type of accolade when he was approached by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Jeffrey Jones.
“I’m sure you don’t remember me, but you were instrumental in leading me to Christ, and you baptized me when I was 16 years old,” Jones said.
Creech said the memory of the event, which took place during the 1980s at First Baptist Church, LaGrange, came back to him.
“I embraced him with a big bear hug and wept,” he said. “What an incredible surprise. And what God had arranged by his providence in that moment, I must admit, was far more meaningful to me than the recognition I had just received. It really capped things off because it’s all about trusting God.”
For more information about the “In God We Trust” license plate, visit https://edmv.ncdot.gov/VehicleRegistration/SpecialPlate/Detail?PlateID=128#term=in%20god.
Visit the link above and purchase your plate today!