"There has always been great level of community support for us here, and (as a unit) we support this community as well," 1st Sgt. Neil Stough said of the symbiotic relationship between the unit and the community.
Stough was asked to help create the patriotic design for the weatherproof street banners that can withstand the elements for up to three years. At this time, a little more than 30 local businesses have sponsored at least one side of the two-sided banners at a cost of $75.
Only waiting on verification from Duke Energy about how many light poles are available within Brazil, project organizers hope to place more banners on light poles along State Road 59 and other roads throughout the city.
"We definitely support this project and encourage others to do so, too," Stough said, hoping the public will be able to get involved in the future. "The more the merrier I say. There is always the potential for the unit to be deployed at anytime, but whether the unit deploys or not, this project is a great way to show support of military personnel."
The idea originated with Mayor Thom Arthur in 2005, who wanted to have banners created with individual soldiers' names placed along main street, but security issues stopped the military from releasing a list of enlisted personnel and the cost was too high, so the project fell to the wayside.
"At that time, we didn't have the equipment to do the job. Now we do, and not one person who has seen the banners has said they didn't want one," Clover Signs Owner Andy Allander said, adding that he is proud his business is a part of the group effort "to pick up the project and run with it. This isn't about me, or my business. This is about honoring the military. They are risking their lives for us and this is the least that we can do to show our support of their sacrifice."
While Clover Signs creates the banners, Allander said many other people deserve credit for making sure the banners will be proudly displayed in Brazil.
"Center Point Hardware donated the couplings for the hangers and Lyman Lints is welding the posts that will be hung on the light poles to display the banners," Allander said, adding that Clay County Chamber of Commerce Secretary Lisa Watler volunteered to take the banner orders from interested businesses to free up his time. "This is a real community effort."
To learn more about the program or purchase a banner, contact Watler by stopping by the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, 535 E. National Ave., or calling 448-8457.