Banners go up in Albion for fallen soldiers with others for vets after Strawberry Festival

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 May 2023 at 8:09 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – There are seven “Hometown Hero” banners up for soldiers from Albion who were killed in the line of duty, including William Barnum who was killed on July 14, 1944. (His brother Eugene Barnum also was killed in World War II.)

Albion is placing seven of the banners up before Memorial Day. They are placed on Route 31 near the middle school campus where there is a Vietnam War Memorial and also where the community’s Memorial Day service is held.

Jason Johnston is the last soldier from Albion to be killed in the line of duty. He was 24 and a specialist and paratrooper in the Army when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Dec. 26, 2009.

The banner behind him shows the portrait of Rick Engle, who was killed in Vietnam when he was 19 on Feb. 2, 1968.

The Albion Department of Public Works also set up the banner in the downtown on Tuesday to promote the upcoming Strawberry Festival on June 9-10. Vance VanSkiver and Scott Bradshaw, DPW workers, put up this banner.

After the festival, the other Hometown Hero banners will be displayed and should be up until November. There are about 100 banners of soldiers in all.

Vance VanSkiver (in orange) and Scott Bradshaw work together to put up this banner in front of the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church on Main Street. The upcoming Strawberry Festival will be the 35th time for the festival. For more on the Strawberry Fest, click here.