SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria is paying tribute to local veterans in a high profile way that's unique to the Central Coast.
The Hometown Heroes Banner Program honors veterans who served in the military, both those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who came home.
"We got this idea from a small community in Arizona", says Dennis Smitherman with the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department which supervises the program, "earlier this week I got a call from Colorado, a small little town in Colorado that's interested in doing it so we were able to provide them with information, word is getting out and we hope that we can do this nationwide at some point."
The banner program runs twice a year with the Summer-Fall class of 2017 now on display on College Drive between Betteravia Road and McCoy Lane.
"Honorees are recognized by the City Council, presented with certificates and the banner would go up for six months", Smitherman says.
The high-quality banners are produced by the City of Santa Maria with the $250 cost paid for by family members or other sponsors including many local civic organizations.
Honorees must have served in the U.S. military and have, or had, roots in the area.
"We ask that the candidates being honored are from the Central Coast area, specifically the Santa Maria area", Smitherman says, "we understand we serve a wide population so we're a little bit flexible with the exact location of residency."
After the six month period banners are either returned to family members or donated to the city for future use.
The City of Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department is now accepting submissions and registration for the Hometown Heroes Banner Program Winter-Spring Class of 2018 that begins in February.
For more information about the banner program contact the Santa Maria VFW, American Legion or the city Recreation and Parks Dept. either in person or through its Facebook page and the city's website.