Downtown Main Street is currently flanked by brand new banners honoring the “Hometown Heroes” of Fremont County.
Each of the 39 banners features a member of the local active service. They hang from First to Ninth Street and on Fifth Street of US 50 to Macon Avenue.
“Every time we send a young man or woman into the military, I am in awe of what they commit to doing,” said Shirley Troutman, board member of Parents / Supporters of Military. – Fremont County. “We wanted to do something that was a symbol of the pride we share for these brave men and women. “
In an attempt to recognize the local active duty men and women, parents / supporters of the Army – Fremont County have dreamed big for Fremont County, and the idea of generating a celebration of the town’s heroes. was born.
But the organizers could not finance it themselves. The Rotary clubs of Cañon City and Florence have contributed to the funding of the project.
Dennis Wied, whose daughter Penny Wied is in the US Navy, spoke about the need for more funds at his Rotary Club meeting. He came back with the suggestion that the organizers seek a matching grant from the Rotary Club of Cañon City. Troutman applied through Rotarian Dr. Linda Carlson and was graciously approved for matching funds of up to $ 5,000.
Through the Parents / Supporters of Military-Fremont County Facebook page, Troutman and Leona Bennett told all local active duty personnel that they would need a good quality photo of them in uniform.
“We also used our mailing list for the Christmas boxes and sent letters to each of them requesting the photos,” Troutman said. “Thanks to these efforts, we were able to acquire 39 photos. “
She hopes more active duty members will submit their photos next year, as Main Street can hold up to 90 banners.
The group has partnered with DARE Design and Print Shop, a local company owned by a former military family, to design and print the banners at a reduced rate.
“While all of this activity was going on with photos, designs and printed banners, in the background we were working with Mayor Ashley Smith and city administrator Ryan Stevens,” Troutman said. “They immediately got on board and supported our efforts with the approval to hang our banners on Main Street from mid-October to Veterans Day. “
The Cañon City Parks Department team finished hanging the banners on Friday.
“We can walk down the main street of Cañon City and look at each banner with gratitude,” Troutman said. “God bless all soldiers – on active duty, retirees and alumni. Please accept our sincere thanks.
Bennett, who is also a board member, said it was a privilege to be able to honor these men and women who give so much of their lives every day.
“These men and women represent the best of our country,” she said. “God bless them and their families. “
Parents / supporters of Military-Fremont County will be hosting a Hometown Heroes Celebration this year on Veterans Day. It will be at 10:30 a.m. on November 11 at Veterans Park.
The program document that day will include the names of active duty members who responded with their photos, and the location of that person’s banner on Main Street. It will also include the Cañon City High School JROTC, a group of singers from CCHS Encore !, and a keynote speaker from the US Army Recruiting Office.
“We plan to keep the ceremony short by ending at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day… at the same time that the very first Veterans Day was observed in 1918,” Troutman said.
Parents / Supporters of Military – County Fremont has also partnered with Daughters of American Revolution to expand the Wreaths Across American program, which places wreaths on veterans’ graves at Christmas.
“Because we are just starting this partnership, we are not able to lay a wreath on the graves of all of the veterans located in Cañon City,” Troutman said. “However, we are planning to place a wreath along the rock face of Lakeside Cemetery on Elm Avenue this year. We are currently in the process of raising funds to make this effort a reality. “
The plan is to hang a wreath every 10 feet for a total of 120 wreaths. Anyone interested in making a donation is encouraged to visit the organization’s Facebook page for contact information about the Wreaths Across America effort.
“None of the above action items could be possible without so many people generating enthusiasm and support for our military,” said Troutman.
For more information, call Bennett at 303-263-7144, Cindy Olson at 620-640-4236 or Troutman at 719-351-2857.