Driving through several small towns in the area, Alex Butler could not help but notice the military banners prominently displayed in many of them. He thought they enhanced the communities and would look good in Hillsboro, too. So he went to work.
What developed was “Honoring Those Who’ve Served,” a joint project of Support our Troops of Highland County, the Highland County Historical Society and the Hillsboro Uptown Renaissance Project (HURP).
By Memorial Day this year, they hope to have the streets of uptown Hillsboro lined with banners featuring local veterans that will replace banners currently in place on light posts in the uptown area.
The new two-sided, 16-inch by 45-inch banners will be the same size as the ones currently in place. Butler said he’s been told there are 46 spots available.
“I first got the idea last year when I was driving through Owensville and saw veteran banners on their light poles,” Butler said. “Soon after, Fayetteville did the same thing. I decided it was time to make this happen in Hillsboro, too. It is a very impressive view to drive through a small town and see local heroes on full display. This is something we all can get behind. It will honor those in our community who have served, promote a sense of community, and bolster our patriotism.”
“My hope is to have enough participation to continue this project for three, four or more years down the road,” Butler added. “The first round of banners will be installed in May in preparation for Memorial Day weekend. A new rotation of banners will be installed next year for the 2019 season.”
He said that if more than 46 banners are ordered, they will be placed on a first-come, first-served basis. The original banners will be removed after the first year, then others that have been ordered will go up.
The new banners will feature a picture, name, and service information (branch and emblem, war/era/years of service, and rank) of a local veteran.
Butler said the Hillsboro banners will cost less than in some other communities. The 16-inch by 45-inch banners that will be placed uptown will cost $50 each. A 12-inch by 18-inch yard/garden banner can be purchased for $25.
“I don’t want anyone not to participate because of the money,” Butler said.
He said he first approached Steph Roland with Support our Troops of Highland County about the idea and that she was encouraging and offered to help. As the project evolved, other organizations including the historical society, HURP and the city of Hillsboro got involved. He said local residents Alice Wilson and Kevin Barreras offered guidance and advice, and that he is grateful for everyone’s help.
“I encourage businesses, churches, or individuals to sponsor a local veteran, living or deceased,” Butler said.
Applications are available at the Highland County Veterans Service Office, 1575 N. High St., Suite 400, Hillsboro; or the Highland County Historical Society, 151 E. Main St., Hillsboro. Completed applications, along with payment and the photo, must be hand-delivered to either the Veterans Service Office or historical society. Make checks payable to HURP, which has agreed to handle that part of the project.
The application deadline for the 2018 season is Friday, April 13.
For more information contact Steph Roland at 937-763-8164 or Vicki Knauff at 937-393-3392.
Some details, like whether the banners will stay up year around, from Memorial Day to Labor Day or some other time frame, still need to be worked out. There is also a possibility that there could be a banner dedication ceremony during this year’s Hillsboro Memorial Day observance, but that’s not yet certain.
“We’re also taking this opportunity to revive a hero of the past.” Butler said.
The veteran shown on the banner accompanying this story is Raymond R. Stout from Hillsboro. Butler said Stout was killed in action in on Sept. 28, 1918 during the Muese-Argonne Offensive in France. He was the first reported resident of Highland County to die in World War I. This year is the 100th anniversary of Stout’s death and the end of World War I. Hillsboro American Legion Post 129 is named in Stout’s honor.
Butler said the new banners will look just like the one that accompanies this story, only with a different photo and information.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]