By Amanda Ensinger
Local leaders have agreed to continue a popular program aimed at recognizing service members. At a recent Prairie Township meeting, the board agreed to continue the Military Hometown Hero Banner Program.
The program is a tribute to recognize Prairie Township residents and graduates of Westland High School who are serving, are veterans or died in the line of duty while serving the United States Armed Forces.
“The program started last year and honors local residents who have severed our country,” said Rob Peters, township administrator for Prairie Township. “For the program this year, we are asking for guidance on the number or banners you want to have and the cost of each banner.”
In 2018, the township had 15 banners and the cost was $85 per banner for residents.
“This year we have bandwidth to do more banners and the cost needs to be slightly adjusted,” Peters said. “The actual cost to create the banners was $109, so I recommend we adjust the price to reflect the actual cost.”
The board agreed to hang up to 45 banners in 2019, as well as make this price adjustment. However, they did make some exceptions for residents.
“I think if someone participated last year and isn’t making any changes to their banner, we should rehang those banners at no cost to them,” said Steven Kennedy, township trustee.
“I also think we should continue to give participants the banners after we take them down.”
Last year, the township kept the banners up during the warmer summer months and took the banners down when the weather started to change. The township is planning to display the banners from May to August.
The banners will continue to be hung on street lamps on West Broad Street in the township and will include the service member’s name, image, military branch and rank.
“The spots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis,” Kennedy said. “Currently, there are about 14 spots available.”
There are three different types of banners participants can get – an active duty, veteran and memorial banner. An active duty banner is designated with a blue star, the veteran banner has a white star and the memorial banner has a gold star. Memorial banners will be designated for those who have died in the line of duty.
This year, the township also hopes to create a walking tour guide with photos and information about those honored on the banners.
“We would like to have this guide on the township’s website, as well as in the township office,” Peters said.
For those who can’t afford a banner, but want to recognize a service member, the township will be collecting donations to pay for banners for families that cannot afford them. Residents also can sponsor a specific banner if they desire.
Nominations for banner recognitions are due April 1. If you are interested in nominating a service member or learning more about how to submit a banner, visit www.prairietownship.org/294/Military-Hometown-Hero-Banner-Program.