Honor our military every day

Randy Riley - Contributing columnist

Let me borrow a phrase from our friends in the postal services. The original saying was, “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these courageous couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

This was not written for our postal workers, but was written about 2,500 years ago by the Greek historian, Herodotus. He wrote it during the war between the Greeks and Persians to honor the Persian postal couriers who defied death to deliver messages.

The same words could be used to honor any number of people who work daily to serve others. When I hear this phrase, I often think about the many veterans who have served this country under the most horrible of conditions. They served to secure and maintain the freedoms we enjoy every day.

Recently, my thoughts of appreciation for our local veterans have been triggered whenever I drive past the Clinton County Veterans Memorial at Courthouse Square. Also, I feel deep appreciation for our veterans whenever I drive past the many veterans’ banners proudly displayed in the city.

We are honored to have their images looking down at us as we drive through Wilmington. I often find myself looking up at them in appreciation for their service.

As I drive past their banners, I even talk to my wife’s father, Vaughn, my sons, Josh and Danny, and my granddaughter, Amanda.

I see many familiar faces of veterans who are displayed around Wilmington. I love seeing those fresh, young faces.

Just before Thanksgiving, I received a phone call from my son about one of the banners. It had fallen off the bracket that had held it to the utility pole and it was on the sidewalk.

He dropped it off at the house. I cleaned it and rolled it up. I wasn’t exactly sure who to contact about it. So, I sent a message to Jennifer Woodland. Jennifer was a member of the Clinton County Leadership class of 2012. She has always had a passion for honoring our military veterans. Her Leadership Clinton project was designed to do just that.

As part of her project, she developed a program called HOME – Honoring Our Military Everyday. The project started as a one-day program of celebration – honoring our veterans. That project has grown and changed. It now includes the Clinton County Veterans Banner project.

Jennifer has worked with the Veterans Service Commission to recognize our veterans at the Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. She has worked with the Honor Flight program. She is tireless when it comes to honoring those who served in all branches of the military.

Now, we need some help. Our street department, headed by Jerry Runk, has done a great job of placing and caring for the banners. Their goal is to have all the banners on display by Memorial Day and to have them removed and stored away by Veterans Day.

However, as you know, they have been extremely busy lately. Several banners have been removed on Rombach Avenue, but due to traffic and road construction, some of them could not be reached.

The brackets that hold the banners onto the utility poles are starting to sag allowing the banners to start slipping off the brackets. Banners will soon start to fall. Strong winds have torn many of the banners.

We can’t allow this to happen. If you see a banner that requires special attention, contact Jerry at the city street department at 937-382-3669 or call the mayor’s office at 938-382-5458.

If you find a banner that has fallen from its bracket, please take the banner to Swindler and Sons Florist. They have graciously agreed to be the drop-off location for banners that need to be re-hung or replaced. They will contact Jennifer Woodland.

We are fortunate that the Clinton County Foundation is helping to maintain the finances that support the veterans banner program. Donations to replace banners and/or brackets should be sent to the foundation at 233 Rombach Ave., PO Box 831, Wilmington, OH 45177. Mark the donation for the HOME project. All donations will be accepted and available for maintaining the banner project.

Any other questions or concerned may be addressed directly to Jennifer Woodland at 1004 River Forest Drive, Maineville, OH 46039, or by telephone at 937-623-0952. After 10 years of maintaining this wonderful tribute to our veterans, Jennifer is still anxious to add more veterans’ banners to the display and to assure they are honorably maintained.

The rain, snow, sleet, and wind that occasionally batter our city streets have severely damaged several veteran banners. We encourage the community to help maintain our banner display by making donations to the HOME Project. With your help, we can do this.

Our veterans have worked and sacrificed for us. It’s the least we can do for them.

Randy Riley is a former Mayor of Wilmington and former Clinton County Commissioner.


Randy Riley

Contributing columnist