Special to The Hays Daily News
COLBY -- Francis Landry believes in evangelization.
Landry, with the help of his friend, John Bremenkamp, designed a Kansas state license plate they hope many will adopt to evangelize their faith in God.
The plate consists of a picture of wheat in the left-hand corner with the words boldly overlaid saying, "In God We Trust."
Francis said he felt the need to evangelize after he attended his Cursillo weekend. He patiently waited for God to show him how to proceed.
Last year, when he and his wife, Geri, were visiting their son, Keith Landry, in Greencastle, Ind., he noticed many Indiana tags that said "In God We Trust."
"Oftentimes while driving, our state of mind is elsewhere," Landry said. "But you get behind someone with that license plate, and it changes your mindset. It reminds you that God is in charge. I thought, 'This is a nice message to have out there on the street.' "
Upon returning to Kansas, Landry went to the Thomas County Treasurer's office to see about getting similar tags in Kansas. That's when he discovered the process was not going to be an easy task.
He was told it took legislative action to incorporate a new license plate.
Landry approached his state representative, Rep. Jim Morrison, R-Colby, who liked the idea and introduced House Bill 2704. The Landrys began lobbying legislators to pass this bill. Within three months, the bill passed both houses.
"There were only three people in both houses that actually opposed it," Francis said. "That's a pretty good percentage."
Now the Landrys are on another mission -- to get the people of Kansas to adopt the image.
"We need 500 people to say they will use this tag before they will print it," Francis said, indicating that the signatures will need to be completed by the end of August or the whole idea will be delayed until such a time that enough people indicate interest.
Anyone wanting to have the license plate must e-mail or call the Landrys and give their name, phone number, e-mail address if available, and the county they reside in. The people who sign up will be assigned a license number.
The tags will then be sent to county treasurers' offices, and notices printed in local papers as to the date people can pick it up. At that time there will be a $40 fee, but the tag is good for four years.
"That's only $10 a year to evangelize to anyone who pulls up behind you," Francis said.
"From what we've read, 86 percent of people believe in God and believe we should keep the phrase 'In God we Trust' on our money exchange, and keep God in our Pledge of Allegiance," Geri said.
"Yet we sit back and let 14 percent of society dictate to us and take this message away from us who believe. I pray the whole state will adopt this message."
The couple, retired from running a restaurant business, said they have not allowed themselves to become discouraged throughout this process.
"It was a little more involved than we thought, but that just made us continue. Nothing is too easy," Francis said. "We are all called to be evangelizers, and having a license plate on one's car, is an easy way to accomplish that goal."
To reserve the license plate stating "In God We Trust," individuals must contact the Landrys by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call at (785) 460-2258, cell phone (785) 443-3226 or write to them at 15 Cottonwood Drive, Colby, KS 67701.