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Know a local veteran? Recognize them with a banner
Siskiyou Daily News - 12/27/2019
Dec. 26--Anyone who's driven on Yreka'sFairlane Road in recent years has certainly seen the long lines of banners recognizing local veterans that are affixed to the light poles lining the road. Marine CorpsLeague Siskiyou Detachment Senior Vice Commandant Bob Singleton now oversees the effort and hopes to honor more veterans with the banners. He encourages family and friends of local veterans to reach out to him so their loved ones can be publicly recognized for their service.
The banners can be seen from the intersection of Fairlane and East Oberlin Road south to Moonlit Oaks Avenue. The project was started by Robert Ballesteros, former commandant of the Marine CorpsLeague Siskiyou Detachment.
Ballesteros got the idea after driving through Susanville, where banners ware flown representing military servicemen and women who are currently serving.
Ballesteros noted in a 2013 interview with the Siskiyou Daily News that he always appreciated towns that supported their veterans in such a fashion and would be more likely to stop there when passing through.
The project gained traction in Yreka in 2013. To go a step further, it was decided that the banners on Fairlane Road would honor veterans and current members of the United States armed forces alike.
Each banner is 26-by-60 inches and has top-notch construction: heavy-duty vinyl, double-sided and double-stitched. They are made by a company in Sparks, Nevada and each take six weeks to complete, Singleton noted. The banners include the service member's name, branch of service and years served, in addition to the words "American Hero" across the top.
Singleton has since taken over the banner responsibility and has seven new banners that will soon be put up. Keeping the banners in good shape is not an easy job. Many are quite worn from exposure to the elements but staying on top of the project is not easy.
Singleton noted that his goal is to rotate banners out so that they look nice for the viewing public and will be in good enough shape to return to the veteran's family. He'd like to see old banners be returned to the veteran's family within a year.
Local resident Wes White is in charge of hanging the banners. White has a Pacific Power and Light truck equipped with a bucket that the company allows him to use for the volunteer project on his own time.
While the banners currently hanging along Fairlane Road recognize local veterans, Singleton said he'll have a banner made for any veteran a person wants to recognize, whether they have roots in Siskiyou County or not. The only requirement is that the veteran has been honorably discharged. A DD Form 214 -- a certificate of release or discharge from active duty -- must be provided to prove that. A fee of $75 is charged to whomever wants to honor the veteran. That price is at cost; the Marine Corps League does not make a profit from the project.
Many of the veterans currently displayed served during WWII and Korean War, Singleton said."We don't want to forget our veterans who put their life on the line to protect the freedoms we have. This is one small way of recognizing and keeping their names in front of the public, " he noted.
Anyone interested in having a veteran recognized with a banner is encouraged to call Bob Singleton at (530) 598-6042. Banner applications can be picked up at the Siskiyou County Veterans Services Office, located at 105 E. Oberlin Road in Yreka. Singleton said he conducts most all of his business related to the banners from the VSO to make things more convenient for veterans and their loved ones.
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