CHEVY CHASE, Md. — If you're risking your life serving our country on deployment or out of state, in most cases you shouldn't have to worry about something like a vehicle emissions test -- that's been the message from one Maryland military mom for about a year. Now, her message is the law.
Legislation based on her son’s story goes into effect Oct. 1.
Madelaine Waltjen Shedlick has been advocating for her son, 1LT Tommy Shedlick, and other service members like him, for about a year.
“There's all this talk, you know, about thank you for your service; well let's thank them by not putting a lot of extra BS on their plate,” Madelaine told WUSA9 in October 2019.
Speaking with her in September 2020 was particularly sweet for Madelaine. It shows that advocacy got results. Starting Oct. 1, it is making an impact for those who serve and their families.
The Shedlick family gathers at BWI before 1LT Tommy Shedlick deploys
“I am so thrilled,” she reacted to the law going into effect.
The new legislation, which MDOT MVA confirms is based on Madelaine's advocacy, creates an exemption from Maryland vehicle emissions requirements in two cases -- if service members are deployed outside the U.S. or stationed in a state that doesn't have a similar program.
We've told you Madelaine's son Tommy was stationed in Texas and deployed to the Middle East when his truck was scheduled for emissions testing.
She got the notice at their home in Maryland and was given two options that were unrealistic. WUSA9 aired her story and one week later, the MVA announced the new bill.
“I knew that I could get it done for my son, but that was just really the start for me because I felt like it should be easy for other people, too,” she said.
Now, MDOT MVA is sharing posts on social media to raise awareness about the new exemption.
This is how it will work: If they have orders to deploy abroad or to a duty station without an emissions program, active duty service members can now go to the website, complete a few steps and obtain the exemption.
Madelaine hopes this simplifies things for other military families like hers, so they can focus on their missions and getting home safely.
“When our son or daughter is in the military and out of our control and out of the house, it's a little scary and you really don't want to have them deal with issues that are just not important, really, and this was not an important issue,” Madelaine added. “It wasn't a life or death issue.”
MDOT MVA also sent out a press release October 1st about the new law. It features a quote from Madelaine.