Military banners can now be viewed in downtown Washington Court House, and information for more banners is still being accepted.
The banners are courtesy of the local chapter, “Hearts Hands Home,” of the national organization, “Blue Star Mothers of America.”
The local chapter, Hearts Hands Home, began in July of last year. According to the president of the chapter, Mindy Wilson, there have been two fundraisers so far and private donations from local businesses that have assisted in providing the banners.
Those fundraisers were the chapter’s chicken noodle dinner held at last year’s Scarecrow Festival and their “Menus for the Military” event held in March.
Hearts Hands Home, according to Wilson, covers the cost of the banners as well as the cost of cleaning and storing them. The banners are planned to be hung in downtown from April to November each year.
There is no cost to the city except for “their time that they donated to help put them up and to take them down,” according to Wilson. After gaining proper permissions to hang the banners, Wilson explained that the city service department director, Ron Sockman, enlisted service department employees, Dana Brigner and Wayne Stillings, to assist with hanging them up.
When asked what she believes the banners provide the community, Wilson explained, “a sense of pride, patriotism — especially in the times we’re going through right now. When we started this project last July it was just because our community did not have them, and we wanted a way to honor our service members here in Washington Court House. Many smaller towns have them, but then as things came to light, when we were finally going to get them… the world is just crazy right now. So, this is a very positive thing that’s going on.”
“It’s just honoring those who have been there to stand up for our country, for our freedoms,” said Wilson.
Anyone in Fayette County can submit information for banners. Submissions can be sent by email to [email protected], or by mail to PO Box 712, Washington Court House, OH 43160.
Information needed for the military banners includes the photo, the name, branch in military, years in service, and who the banners are from.
According to Wilson, examples from two of the hanging banners showing who the banners are from, include “from mom and dad” and “from a grateful community.”
Currently, the chapter has 28 completed banners and approximately four more that were recently submitted. According to Wilson, they have enough funds to cover approximately 20 more banners.
While there’s no cost to have a banner placed, donations are always appreciated to continue providing the service, and to increase the number of submissions that can be accepted.
Hearts Hands Home also sends care packages across seas. Community members with loved ones they wish to have packages sent to are encouraged to send names and addresses to the chapter. Donations for care packages can also be accepted.
Blue Star Mothers of America is a non-profit, and according to its website, www.bluestarmothers.org, the organization consists of “mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers, foster mothers and female legal guardians who have children serving in the military, guard or reserves, or children who are veterans. We support each other and our children while promoting patriotism.”
Hearts Hands Home (the local chapter) services Fayette County and the surrounding area. According to Wilson, sisters, brothers and fathers of military members are welcome to join the local chapter as associate members.
“We are still very small,” said Wilson. “Our hope is the more that people realize we are in Fayette County, the more ladies that will want to join our chapter. The bigger that we are, the bigger things that we can accomplish.”
Dues for members are $30 upon joining, then once every June.
Donations, care package information and/or donation proposals, banner information, and membership requests can all be emailed to Wilson at [email protected] The chapter’s Facebook page, “Hearts Hands Home Blue Star Mothers,” can be followed for updates.
“I want to thank not only our veterans and our active service members, but our community for their support and helping us reach our goal so we can provide the banners for the downtown area,” said Wilson.
Wilson also recognized Teresa Fraley, Angie Crooks, Lorie Adams, Mary Cockerill, Carrie Johnson, and Amy and Kris Fout for their assistance with the military banners project.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.