By Teri L. Hansen
City of McPherson Park Supervisor Lauren Przymus has a vision that not only beautifies McPherson but honors its local heroes.
“I got the idea driving to visit my sister in Garden City. On the way through Lyons, they caught my eye,” she said.
What she saw were banners lining the pathways and not just any banners, but tributes to service men and women and their families, that publicly acknowledge their sacrifices.
“On the way home, I was sure to stop and get pictures of the banners,” Przymus explained. “I thought it was a wonderful way to possibly honor veterans right in our community.”
The Veteran’s Banner Movement began in 2014 in Emporia and has since grown to be a nationwide program dedicated to ensuring that the stories of veterans are never forgotten, and history is preserved.
“It is special to McPherson because we have a lot of veterans in our community and active Legion and VFW,” Przymus said. “We need a way to get veterans appreciation out to the public. Make it visible for people to see the sacrifice. I hope it will give people an avenue to honor a veteran who is special to them.”
The banners come from a company in Emporia. They are 18 by 36 inches and feature a picture of the honored veteran, their military branch, rank and years in service, along with the words “McPherson Honors.” The banner is obtained through an application process along with a $150 fee. The banners would then be put on display at Memorial Park during the weeks before and after Veteran’s Day. If the project takes off, as Przymus hopes, more can be displayed around the adjacent McPherson County Courthouse grounds as well as Wickersham Park. The $150 fee would ensure the banner is on display three years in a row, after which, the banner is returned to the sponsor. The sponsor could keep the banner or sponsor another three years of its display.
“It is important to me because the McPherson Park Department hosts the Veterans Day celebration in our shop annually,” Przymus said. “It is a nice addition to add to the festivities. I also feel compelled to honor both of my late grandfathers for their service. And this is a way I could do that and make it personable.”
Many would agree that this is a worthwhile project that the community would benefit from, however, there is a catch. The startup cost has to be raised. Przymus is asking for help through donations that would go towards the purchase of the mounting equipment needed for the displays. At this time, she estimates a need of approximately $3,000 to get the project up and running.
“We are behind in the times,” Przymus said. “I have seen several smaller communities right here in central Kansas who are successfully running a similar project. We need to get our veterans out there and help people understand their sacrifice.”
McPherson is known for its Veteran’s Day program which entails activities throughout the entire day honoring the sacrifice, comradery, strength and heroism of military members. This is just one more way the community can show pride in local legends.
“The McPherson Park Department is thrilled to host the Veteran’s Day program every year. I would like to see us evolve as a community to add new things to the celebration,” Przymus said. “Our community is proud of our veterans. You can see that when you attend a Memorial Day service at the cemetery or when you attend the Veteran’s Program at the Park Department. This is just another great way for us to show our gratitude to our service men and women.”
For more information on donating to the McPherson Honors Community Banner Project, contact Lauren Przymus at 620-245-2565 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.