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SHAWNEE, Kan. —The City of Shawnee is working on a new way to honor veterans living in the community. 

The Hometown Hero project creates banners featuring the names of veterans and active duty service members from the six major branches of the military to be installed on streetlights downtown.

Banners will be available to represent six major branches of the military. Image provided by the City of Shawnee.

Derrick Rolfo is a Shawnee firefighter who came up with the idea for the project and modeled it after a similar program in his hometown of Visalia, California. Rolfo served in the Marines Corps from 2002 to 2006. 

“It was great driving down the road and being able to see the banner with your name on it. Your friends and your family see it. It’s just a great feeling to have the city support you and what you did as a service member in the United States military,” Rolfo said. 

Veterans and military families can purchase a 2’ by 4’ banner for $100. To qualify the veteran or active duty service member must live or work in Shawnee or be a former resident. 

“This program is about honoring our veterans and our active duty service members,”Rolfo said. “Shawnee is such a tight knit city that it’s nice to be able to honor those and spotlight those veterans and active duty service members that are within our city.”

Banners will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Up to 40 banners will be on display along Nieman Road between Shawnee Mission Parkway at 55th Street from September through November. Rolfo said this is a pilot program for the city. If the program is successful, it could be expanded to include more banners next year. 

The deadline to register for a banner is July 23. You can find more information on how to register here.