ASHLAND – A new program started this week by the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce allows local residents to honor their family members who served in the military.
The Ashland Heroes Banner program allows Ashlanders the opportunity to purchase a banner with a photograph and the name of a veteran or active duty service member, along with the branch of military in which they served and their era of service.
These banners will be placed on utility poles along both sides of Highway 6 from the Subway sandwich shop to the intersection of Highway 66, said Chamber President Bradley Pfeiffer, who initiated the program.
Pfeiffer said he got the idea from a similar program in Gretna, where he is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Families are encouraged to look back at the generations to honor someone who served in the military.
“If their great-grandfather was in the Civil War, they can put them on there,” Pfeiffer said.
Banners will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The Chamber has given a number of application forms to the Ashland American Legion Post 129 and Ashland VFW Post 9776 and responses have been positive.
“I don’t think we’ll have any problem selling them,” Pfeiffer said.
If the Chamber receives more than 39 applications (the number of banners available per year), they will start a list for the next two-year cycle.
The cost of the banners will be $125. The price was reduced by donations from the Ashland VFW Post 9776 and local businessman Bob Luebbe, who each gave $500 to the program, and the Ashland Chamber, which is paying $25 for each banner, Pfeiffer said.
“That will make it more affordable for those who would like to do it,” he added.
The fee covers the price of maintenance and/or replacement of the banner or the mounting hardware in the event that damage occurs. Pfeiffer said the brackets are heavy-duty and are made to withstand weather conditions. The banners are made of a coated, three-layer material.
City of Ashland employees will install the banners, which will be on display from Memorial Day to Labor Day for two years, which is approximately how long the banners will last. The City of Ashland will store the banners between seasons. After they have been up for two years they will be returned to the family.
The Heroes Banners will be another attraction for Ashland, Pfeiffer said. They will draw organizations like car clubs, which choose picturesque roadways for their tours.
“I think there would be a lot of interest,” he said.
To apply for a Heroes Banner, contact the Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce 402-944-2050 or go online at www.ashland-ne.com/heroes.
Application forms, pictures and payment can be dropped off at the Ashland NAPA store, 1437 Silver Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.