Barre puts up 84 banners of veterans to celebrate ‘Hometown Heroes’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 April 2022 at 11:30 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: This photo shows the banners on Route 98 near the Barre fire hall of James Gaylard, who served with the Army in World War II, and his grandson, Peter Gaylard, who was in the Air Force and deployed to Kuwait.

BARRE – There are 84 banners of veterans from Barre now proudly displayed on utility poles along Route 98.

The Town Highway Department installed the banners last week. They stretch from West Barre Road north, just past the town park.

The Barre Betterment Committee coordinated the effort and raised funding for the project. The veterans and their families didn’t need to pay for the banner.

The committee sought names of veterans from Barre, reaching out to the West Barre United Methodist Church, Barre Presbyterian Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and other word of mouth, said Cyndy VanLieshout.

The committee welcomes more names of local veterans, going back to the Civil War. To submit a name or for more information, send a message through the Barre Betterment Committee’s Facebook page.

VanLieshout said she is impressed with the effort so far, with nearly 100 veterans recognized in a town of about 700 homes. There is room on utility poles to include more banners, going all the way to Route 31A.

She said there were some veterans who didn’t want to be highlighted on a banner.

The portraits are expected to be displayed until just after Veterans’ Day in November.

VanLieshout said she was moved hearing about how so many Barre residents have sacrificed and served the country in the military.

“It felt good listening to peoples’ stories,” she said. “It tears at your heart. It was uplifting.”

She welcomes more people to be a part of the Barre Betterment Committee.

“We have a great town,” she said about Barre. “It’s a small-knit family.”