By Lyra Bordelon
A new banner program in Ronceverte hopes to highlight the service of veterans and currently serving military members through the town. Produced by a locally owned small business, JCT Vinyl and Printing, the banners are a celebration of service and the community, with any service member eligible to be featured.
“We’re offering the opportunity to honor our service men and women, currently serving or our veterans who have previously service, through the purchase of a military town banner,” said Ronceverte City Councilmember Kathy King.
Coordinated by King and Tammy Rhodes, executive director of the Ronceverte Development Corporation, the program has produced the first displayed banners, which feature an employee of the city, Parker Walls, and O.D. Fink Jr.
“We currently have two on display, one showing a veteran in black and white photo and one who’s currently serving, which is the color photo,” King explained. “… One is my dad. My sister and I made that purchase to honor our father. He served in World War II. It’s a great part of the town legacy because my father was a well known, very involved community minded person.”
In addition to honoring relatives, friends, and residents of Ronceverte, King also underlined that the banners are being produced and designed by a local small business helmed by Crystal and Rusty Byer.
“JCT Vinyl and Printing in Ronceverte are doing our banners,” King said. “We’re proud they’re being designed and produced locally. They’ve got a new machine; it’s unbelievable what it’ll do.”
After receiving a beautification grant from the Angus Peyton Foundation, a portion of the funds were used to purchase banners for the town. Approximately a year ago, a meeting was held to decide how the funds would be used, where the idea of veterans’ banners flourished.
“From that, Ronceverte Development Corporation and Main Street had a meeting about the purchase of other banners as well. That’s where it started. … Of course, everyone’s seen the nice banners in White Sulphur. There’s so many military [members] around here that we just felt we needed to do something like that here as well to promote the veterans.”
King highlighted that the banners would not be displayed throughout the year in town in order to better preserve them for the future, instead being displayed around important times of the year.
“We will pick dates throughout the calendar year they will be displayed,” King explained. “We just don’t want people thinking they’re going to be up year round, that can’t happen. The banners will deteriorate within three years. … [They] will be placed randomly throughout the town, using the existing banner brackets and they’ll be secured and locked in a safe location when not on display.
As the orders come in for the time being, the new banners will be put up in town.
“The orders we’re getting in now, we’ll hang them as they make them and they’ll be up during November, through Veteran’s Day,” King said. “Our goal is to get as many as we can up by Veterans Day.”
In order to order a banner, the cost is $125, and you should complete a military banner order form, describing the rank, branch, and dates of service for the veteran or currently serving member, provide a photo (old photos will not appear as clearly as newer color photos). Checks should be made payable to 1882 Main Street Society. Forms and checks can be dropped off at the Ronceverte Development Corporation office on Tuesdays or City Hall Monday to Friday. For more help, Rhodes invited anyone with questions to call her at 304-661-1361.
“If somebody wants to get one up, you can drop off a banner form or get in touch with me,” said Tammy. “City Hall and I have the forms. [We] can email to people. This is my cell phone, I don’t mind, people call me all the time and that’s fine.”