Last summer, before one of our Thursday concerts, I ran into Don Disantis. Many of you know Don as a longtime Willoughby resident and as a singer/performer at our concerts. He told me of something he had seen while on a college tour with his daughter that he thought was a great idea, and something we might want to consider for Willoughby. He then showed me a picture he had taken of a light pole banner in Lock Haven, PA. The banner was titled Hometown Hero and was a picture of a Navy veteran who had served in the Persian Gulf. The banner was sponsored by his loving family. Don told me that many similar banners lined the downtown area of Lock Haven.
I immediately agreed that this was a great idea. What a wonderful way for the community to honor its veterans. Hence, Willoughby will begin its own Hometown Heroes banner program this summer.
The program will be a living tribute created for the community to recognize and honor Willoughby residents or their immediate family members (spouse, parent, legal guardian, grandparent, grandchild, child, etc.) who are currently serving or are veterans of the Armed Forces. Each banner will be in honor of a specific Willoughby service person and will include their name, era served (from WWI to the present), photo and banner sponsor. Banners will be displayed on street lamps in Downtown Willoughby from May 15 through November 15 (Veteran’s Day)
The Hometown Heroes Banner program will be funded by sponsorship of individual banners. The cost to sponsor a banner is $100. The banner will be available to the sponsor for pick-up at the Parks & Recreation Department after November 15.
To sponsor a banner you can download the application form from our website (willoughbyohio.com) or call the Parks and Recreation Department, 440-953-4200, to have one e-mailed or mailed to you. Once completed, return the application to the Parks and Recreation Department, One Public Square, Willoughby, OH 44094, along with a sponsorship check in the amount of $100 (payable to “the City of Willoughby”) and a high resolution, 5″ X 7″ or larger, portrait-style photo of the serviceperson in dress uniform. All hardcopy photos will be returned. Digital photos in jpeg or png of 600 dpi resolution can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many thanks to Don Disantis for bringing this idea to us. This should really look great this summer as we walk the streets of Downtown Willoughby.
Have a great month.