FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) If you drive down Jefferson Boulevard, you’ll soon see a wave of red, white and blue. The city announced a new initiative Wednesday afternoon to honor our military men and women.
“As a country, it’s certainly imperative that we recognize as often as possible all of the military personnel who have been deployed,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.
The newest opportunity is the Blue Star Banner Program.
Banners will recognize our local military members who are currently deployed overseas.
Banners will be placed on Jefferson Boulevard near Swinney Park, go west toward Covington, then return east on Washington Boulevard toward downtown.
“The idea is to keep these individuals on our minds as they serve our country, our state and our city,” said Mayor Henry.
The city is replicating a similar program in Lawrence, Indiana.
The first banner will honor Command Sergeant Major Brian Kiess, who is helping to build schools and a medical facility in the Dominican Republic.
“I”m going to be very proud,” said Elly Kiess, daughter.
Wife, Gina admitted hearing the news was a surprise for the whole family.
“I didn’t really know what was going on, I didn’t know there was going to a big flag,”
One person is still out of the loop.
“He doesn’t know,” said Kiess.
However, the Kiess family said their dad and husband will be excited.
“We’ll DVR it or something, he’s humble but he’ll be pleased.”
Gina said these banners will also recognize the family and friends at home.
“Thanks to everybody who’s helping out on the effort.”
When soldiers return home, the banners will be taken down and given to them as a sign of appreciation.
“I’m particularly excited about giving them the banner once they get home,” said Mayor Henry.
If a soldier loses his or her life, the blue star banner will be taken down and replaced with a gold star banner flown for another year.
It can also be taken down early at the family’s request.
The city will hang the first banner right before Memorial Day. The next wave of banners will be put out the week of the 4th of July.
The city’s budget will help pay for the banners.
However, if you’re interested in donating toward future banners, you can call the Mayor’s Office at (260) 427-2146.
Banners will be hung by application only. Names must be submitted by family or friends. The city has to confirm the soldier’s name, rank, location and branch of service. For more information about the application process, click here.