Medina approves more banners of Hometown Heroes for 2021

Photos by Tom Rivers: This banner is on Main Street in Medina in honor of George M. Underdown, a sergeant in the Army. He was killed in action at Vietnam on April 1, 1970.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 August 2020 at 7:35 am

MEDINA – More banners of soldiers from the Medina community will be put up in 2021. The Village Board on Saturday approved allowing up to 150 banners total.

There are currently 107 on display. That includes 38 from the debut year in 2019, plus 69 more this year.

With the cap at 150, Medina can add 43 more in 2021. The banners will be up for three years typically from near Memorial Day to just after Veterans Day. After the three years the banners will be given to the featured soldier’s family. And then a new group of banners can follow.

Mary Woodruff, coordinator of the Hometown Heroes effort, is pictured in June 2019 with banners of showing Mitchell Mason and the late Vincent Cardone. They were among 38 included in the first group of banners. This year 69 more were added.

Mary Woodruff, a Ridgeway town councilwoman, has spearheaded the effort. She asked the Village Board for permission to add more banners next year. They are $200 each. She said there has been strong interest in the community.

She told the board she expects there would be demand for another “50 easily” next year.

The first year, the banners were mainly in the downtown area, on Main Street and on East and West Center streets. This year many were added on South Main Street, West Avenue and Park Avenue.

Woodruff sees the banners going farther on those streets next year and she wants banner on Pearl Street near the Orleans County YMCA, which was originally the Medina Armory and used as a training site for soldiers.

Medina Mayor Mike Sidari thanked Woodruff for leading the effort with the banners. He said they look “amazing.”

Village Trustee Owen Toale, a veteran, also said he appreciates having the portraits of soldiers on display prominently in the village.

The 150 limit could be expanded if National Grid approves locations on the utility poles. The Medina DPW sets the banners on the poles. Joe Perry, DPW superintendent, said the workers are now used to putting the hardware on the poles and setting the banners in place and the process went faster this year.

Woodruff also said she is working to establish a website that would provide a database of the banners each year. That website would include an application for people who want to buy a banner.

She also would like there to be a fund where people could donate to buy banners for families who may not have the $200. The fund would also cover the costs for the website.

Woodruff also has plans to print a yearbook of the banners that go up each year.

Last year there was a banner unveiling inside the Orleans County YMCA, the former Medina Armory. A reception was planned for May 16 but was cancelled due what was then a 10-person limit on social gatherings due to Covid-19.

Woodruff said next year’s reception at the Y will include the new banners for 2021 and the 69 from this year.

(Editor’s Note: Mary Woodruff was one of the Orleans Hub’s “Outstanding Citizens” for 2019 for her work with the banners. The Orleans Hub was planning a recognition program on March 18 but that was cancelled due to Covid-19. Woodruff was presented with her award on Saturday during the Village Board meeting.)

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