Lawmakers expanding Gold Star Families plates

Posted at 7:37 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 19:37:55-05
Craig Gross wrote a song as way to honor his son Frankie.
“The soldier they buried up in Arlington,” he sings on a video posted to YouTube.
“Now we are trying to get the song into the hands of maybe Blake Shelton or Charlie Daniels, just somebody that has some recognition out there,” said Gross.
Gross opened Frankie’s Patriot BBQ in Tarpon Springs after his son was killed while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.
He’d been there for just three weeks.
“I had started a prayer journal where I was praying for him every day and I only have 21 entries in it,” he said.
Now Craig and his wife work with many different veterans groups.
They are also part of Gold Star Families. 
“We have a saying that we belong to a club that nobody wants to join, but everybody is thankful for,” said Gross.
Craig and his wife both have Gold Star Family license plates, but lawmakers in Tallahassee are pushing to expand those who are eligible.
In addition to parents, the bill would include, children, grandparents, siblings and adoptive parents.
State Senator Wilton Simpson and State Rep. Danny Burgess are behind the effort.
“The bottom line is the family raised and nurtured that hero. And the family deserves our thanks and recognition,” said Burgess.
Craig, who’s restaurant is like a military museum, is all for more family members having Gold Star Plates, just as long as they aren’t given out to everyone. 
He’s said those plates are special and so often people will see it and approach him.
“They’ll shake my hand and they’ll say thank you very much for your sacrifice. I know what they are talking about. They know what I represent.”
If approved the expanded pool of family members can get their plates July 1.
Right now those eligible get one free plate per household.
Registration and fees still apply.