Lindsay to honor military service members with unique banners

Lindsay military banner committee finalizes prototype banner to honor military servicemen and women in Lindsay for the first time

LINDSAY– Lindsay plans to honor those who have served in the military by hanging commemorative banners around downtown for the first time. The Lindsay City Council got a preview of the final design of the banners that will be hung up around town.

After months of discussion, a prototype for the banners honoring those who have served in the military, was presented to council at the July 26 meeting. Lindsay will unveil 77 banners honoring local military members during a ceremony at City Hall on November 1.  

The banners will be personalized with a photo of the honoree and include the logo for the branch in which they served as well as years served. Of the 77 honorees, four soldiers were killed in action and will have a gold star added to their banner.

Each applicant paid a $125 fee to cover the cost of printing the banners. Those who submitted an application to honor someone killed in action did not have to pay a fee and the costs of printing the four banners for servicemen killed in action were absorbed by the city.

Director of Public Safety Rick Carillo took over heading the project after receiving permission from the city council. He established a committee to oversee the program and quickly sent out an application form for residents to fill out if they wanted a family member honored with a banner.

“We were hoping for 20 applications in the first round,” Carillo said. “Then it took off on Facebook and we ended up with 77 applications.”

The prototype that was unveiled at the July 26 city council meeting features honoree Jared Verbeek, a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps. Jared Verbeek was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. The photo of him on the banner is a selfie he sent to his mom while he was in training, something he would do every day to let her know he was okay. The photo featured is one of the last photos he sent before he was deployed.

“That picture shows everything about who he is,” Jared’s mom, Rosie Verbeek said. “You can see the kindness in his eyes, I love that picture.”

The idea to create banners to honor military service members in Lindsay came from Councilman Ramiro Serna. Local veterans approached him and asked if Lindsay could start a military banner program similar to those in surrounding communities like Porterville.

“I think people getting to participate in a program they requested is phenomenal,” Councilman Serna said.

Carillo emphasized that the program was a collective effort. Roxanne Serna, president of the Lindsay Chamber of Commerce, helped organize the application process with Carillo and Loya. The city services department is ordering the hardware and constructing the poles for the banners. Matt Salinas, owner of Awake Skate Shop, is printing the banners on behalf of the committee.

Vanessa Duran, the administrative supervisor for public safety, designed the banners. She went through several designs before settling on the prototype revealed to the city council and the Verbeeks..

After the reveal, the prototype banner was gifted to the Verbeeks to hang in their home, to thank them for their help in creating the design of the banner. A new banner featuring Jared Verbeek will be made to hang alongside the other honorees.

“It means so much to me to see my son somewhere where people will know who he is and know a little bit of his story,” Rosie Verbeek said.

For many family members of the honorees, the banners are to thank and honor military personnel for their service to the country. For those with family members who were killed in action, it is a way of ensuring that their loved ones live on.

“I thoroughly believe that if we remember them and we keep honoring them, they’ll never be forgotten,” Jared Verbeek’s father, Travis Verbeek said.

After the unveiling ceremony on November 1, residents will be able to walk around and see the banners of all those who served while enjoying hors d’oeuvres provided by the Chamber of Commerce. Virginia Loya, who runs the Friday night farmers’ market, has even promised to bring her taco truck to the event.

The banners will fly every year from Memorial Day to Veterans Day. Once the banners are too worn to fly, which usually happens after six to eight years, they will be given to the family of the honoree. The family will then have the opportunity to apply for a new banner.

This year, the banners will stay up through the month of November until Christmas decorations are put up. They will be hung again on Memorial Day in 2023 and stay up until Veterans Day. Applications for new banners will open every year in January and close in March.

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