Hometown Hero banner

Photo courtesy of Main Street Ottumwa

A sample military banner that Main Street Ottumwa plans to hang from light poles between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

OTTUMWA — As part of its 2021 initiatives, Main Street Ottumwa is accepting applications for its new "Hometown Hero" banner program that recognizes and honors those who are currently serving or have served in the U.S. military.

Banners will display a photo of the service person as well as their name, branch and dates of military service, and will be hung on light poles along Main Street from Memorial Day to Veterans Day for both 2021 and 2022, when a new set of banners will be hung.

Main Street Ottumwa Executive Director Fred Zesiger briefly spoke about the program at Tuesday's city council meeting during a discussion about the organization's year in review and 2021 goals.

"We're excited about this," he said. "We think these will add a little touch to downtown."

Main Street Ottumwa began taking applications through a downloadable form on its website that can be dropped off at the office at 217 E. Main St. The deadline is April 1, or until availability runs out.

A maximum of 45 banners will be placed on the poles, and applicants must meet the following criteria:

• The honoree is an active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces.

• The honoree is a retired, deceased, or honorably discharged member of the armed forces who has, or did, reside in Ottumwa.

• The applicant is a current resident or business based in Ottumwa.

The banners are double-sided, measuring 24 inches by 48 inches, and custom-made with an image of the honoree provided by the applicant. Applicants are required to prove a high-quality photo of the honoree in military uniform. Main Street Ottumwa will digitize a photo at its office if a digital copy of the photo isn't available.

The banners cost $150 per banner for the two-year period. The cost covers the purchase of the banner, installation and maintenance, as well as a contribution to the Wapello County Veterans Affairs program "Veterans Casting Away Disabilities." Main Street Ottumwa will also use part of the sales to purchase more banners, Zesiger said.

Neither Main Street Ottumwa nor the city of Ottumwa will be responsible for replacing banners that are stolen, damaged or suffer the effects of weather.

Banners will be sold on a first come, first serve basis as payment is received. Checks should be made payable to Main Street Ottumwa.

For more information, contact Zesiger at director@mainstreetottumwa.com, or by phone at 641-226-1353.

— Chad Drury can be reached at cdrury@ottumwacourier.com, and on Twitter @ChadDrury

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