WEST MILTON — Banners honoring West Milton and Union Township’s hometown heroes will soon be popping up again along State Route 48.
The village is making preparations for the annual program, which displays banners featuring local veterans from Memorial Day through Veteran’s Day. The deadline for applications is March 9.
The project started in 2014 with 35 banners and has grown to 144 banners, which span from Baker Road on the south side of town to Markley Road to the north, village councilman Scott Fogle said.
“Our plan is to continue them up to Ludlow Falls,” he added.
The banners feature the picture, name and branch of service of a veteran or active duty service member.
Since Municipal Manager Matt Kline brought the idea back to West Milton from a vacation he took several years ago, several other communities have adopted similar programs honoring military service members, including Piqua and Bradford.
“I believe there is a sense of pride for sure because we were the first to do it here, but most importantly I believe it shows that we all have more in common in our beliefs and principles in sharing our appreciation for those who have served and do serve our country than what might be portrayed on a national level from both sides of the aisle,” Mayor Anthony Miller said.
The program also benefits a veterans organization, Gifts for Yanks Program of Ohio. Gifts for Yanks is a national organization founded at the end of World War II to provide assistance to hospitalized veterans. The organization continues to raise money to support the Ohio Veterans Affairs medical centers.
In addition to the banners, the program is working on a website where the photos and names of the featured veterans can be viewed. It is maintained by Tom Beck of WMPA, the local television station, who is seeking more information about the veterans from their families to add to their profiles online.
“Tom could use some help from those family members who have already purchased a banner. Please reach out to Tom and share some stories about your veteran family member,” Fogle said.
To purchase a banner or learn more about the program, visit www.westmiltonheroes.com or call or visit City Hall. The cost for a banner is $210 and they will be stored and displayed by the village for approximately five years.
“It’s been my observation that the banners are mostly for the families who beam with pride for what their grandfather, mother, uncle or sister did for our country. I believe you will find that most vets don’t want the recognition — they didn’t do it for that. But it’s a nice way for the family and the community to say thank you,” Kline said.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.