Hometown Heroes banners

The “Hometown Heroes” banner design will include an image of the military service personnel, branch and service.

A new banner program in downtown Walla Walla will pay tribute to those with military service.

The Hometown Heroes banner program will highlight locals who have served in the military or are currently enlisted through the banners that hang on downtown light poles.

The new initiative from the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation comes when traditional events to honor veterans, including the annual Veterans Day Parade in November, are modified or canceled under pandemic restrictions.

“In a year where we couldn’t safely honor our veterans with a parade, we wanted to make sure we are still honoring their service,” said found Executive Director Kathryn Witherington.

The banners have a purchase price of $130, but Witherington emphasized help may be available for those unable to pay.

“While there is a cost for the banners, it could be waived for those who need it,” Witherington said.

“The banners are a way to truly thank our Valley’s veterans. Regardless of ability to pay, our goal is to get as many banners as possible.”

The project has been developed by foundation Events & Public Relations Manager Cindy Frost, Witherington said. The nonprofit membership organization has partnered with AMVETS Post 1111 on the gesture of gratitude for veterans, intended to promote civic pride.

About 100 banner posts are currently available, but if demand exceeds that, the foundation will find another way to display them, Witherington said.

The banners will be up mid-October through mid-November this year and next year. At the end of the second display year, the banners will be presented to the purchasers as a keepsake. They could also continue to be hung for another year for an additional fee.

The application deadline to participate is Oct. 7.

The banner honorees must either reside in the Walla Walla Valley, or have lived here in the past. They must have been honorably discharged, retired or serve as an active duty member of any branch, National Guard or Reserve.

A high-resolution digital image will be needed or a 5-by-7-inch photo of the honoree in official uniform.

The banners will be printed by Integrity Design. Applications are available at downtownww.com.

Witherington said the banner campaign is one way to honor veterans in November. The foundation is exploring other options. Those with ideas can submit them to Witherington at Kathryn@downtownwallawalla.com.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.