38 banners of Hometown Heroes will be up in Medina for Memorial Day

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mary Woodruff, coordinator of the Hometown Heroes effort, is pictured with banners of showing the late Vincent Cardone and Mitchell Mason, who is currently serving in the Navy.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2019 at 12:54 pm

MEDINA – Mary Woodruff saw the banners for the first time on Monday. She cried.

She has worked the past four months for a display of “Hometown Heroes,” large banners of soldiers who have served in the U.S. military from Medina.

She has 38 banners of soldiers, from World War II vets to current enlistees. The vinyl banners are double-sided and 5 feet tall by 2 ½ feet wide.

“I was extremely pleased,” she said when she saw them on Monday. “I had goosebumps.”

The banners will be publicly unveiled on May 19 during a reception at the former Medina Armory, where many of the soldiers trained. That facility on Pearl Street is now the Orleans County YMCA. The banners will all be displayed during that reception from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

They will be on utility poles and street lights in time for Memorial Day on May 27. There will be 32 banners placed on Main Street between Starr Street through the downtown to Glenwood Avenue near the American Legion Butts-Clark Post. Another six banners will be on East Center Street.

They will stay up until just after Veterans Day in November. Woodruff expects they will last about three years.

She would like to add more next year, and will be going before the Village Board to seek its approval for additional banners in 2020.

“I want people to feel patriotism and restore pride in the USA,” she said today at the Village Clerk’s Office in Medina. “When you see a vet, say thank you.”

Mary Woodruff shows the banners of Sgt. Todd Draper who served in US Army 2004-05, including time in Iraq; and of World War II vet Sandino Stornelli Sr. Draper currently works as a lieutenant with the Medina Police Department.

Woodruff, a retired social studies and math teacher at Roy-Hart, pushed to start the Hometown Heroes effort in Medina after seeing a similar one in Alfred, where her late father-in-law Willis Burr Woodruff is featured on a banner. He served in World War II. He later ran the local Agway plants in Knowlesville and Batavia.

She was given permission by the Medina Village Board to pursue the project in January. She had 38 families step forward by a Feb. 15 deadline and pay the $200 cost for the banner and hardware to go on the poles. The Medina DPW agreed to install the banners. The Village Clerk’s Office handled the money for the project.

The banners have red and blue borders with a portrait of the featured veteran, as well as the vet’s name, time of service, branch of military, and honors. It also states who sponsored the banner.

Woodruff has a file for each of the 38 soldiers featured in banners.

“I feel like I know all of these soldiers,” she said today. “I’ve read about them and talked with their families.”

The debut of the banners comes at a time when Medina is celebrating the restoration of the World War I cannon at State Street Park and also has welcomed a new bronze statue of a soldier as part of a memorial at the former Armory.

“The timing is perfect,” Woodruff said.

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