GRAND BLANC — The City of Grand Blanc, in conjunction with a Sault Ste. Marie-based organization, will honor some of its service veterans and add another visual element to the downtown streetscape.
Abby Baker, president of History of Hometown Heroes, and her team will visit Grand Blanc in June to explain the group’s veteran recognition program and sell banners that will be affixed to lampposts.
The 2-foot by 4-foot vinyl banners sell for $500. Grand Blanc has space for 220 banners along Saginaw Street, Grand Boulevard and at Physician’s Park.
The park banners will cost more because they will remain in place year-round. Per city guidelines, the banners downtown will be removed for a couple of months in the summer, Baker said.
The lifecycle of the banners is two years, after which the veterans or their families may retrieve them from the city, Baker said.
Baker said the banners will not only honor veterans but also beautify and create a walking tour in downtown and raise money for veterans’ programs.
“We’re dedicated to honoring veterans,” Baker said. “We’ve raised more than $50,000 for veterans’ programs. We give 10 percent back from everything we sell.”
The banners are available to City of Grand Blanc residents or their families. Banners will include photos, names, branch and time of service and commendations.
Veterans or their families will have to provide certain documentation, such as copies of the veteran’s DD214. Additional information is available on the website, www.historyofhometownheroes.com/.
“We also ask for an audio biography,” Baker said. “We ask that the biography be mostly military-related. But it’s really whatever story the family wants to tell. It’s about how the families want to memorialize their loved ones.”
The biographies will be available on the company’s app, which will cost 99 cents for Android and Apple. The histories will be accessible via bar codes on the lampposts.
“The stories we’ve heard about our veterans in Sault Ste. Marie supersedes anything I’ve read in any history book,” Baker said. “We look at it as a history lesson.”
The program in the Soo began with the sale of 150 banners, which sold out in six weeks. Once the banners started going up, “the phone would not quit ringing,” Baker said.
“In the second round, we sold 150 in five days,” she said. “We will have 420 after the final round.”