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Panama City News Herald

'Backbone of this country': Panama City Beach launches another Veteran Hero Banner Program

By Nathan Cobb, The News Herald,


PANAMA CITY BEACH − In an effort to "never forget" the sacrifices made by veterans, Panama City Beach is in the second year of its popular Veteran Hero Banner Program.

The program allows people to purchase banners dedicated to family members or friends who have served in the military.

This year's banners, which cost $100, will be hung from light poles within the Front Beach Road Community Redevelopment Area Plan. They were displayed last year along Powell Adams Road.

"The program was extremely popular last year when we launched it," Mayor Mark Sheldon said in an email. "We have seen many communities across the country with similar programs and thought it would be a great fit here, with such a strong military presence with Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard facilities nearby.

"Veterans are the backbone of this country, (and) our freedoms would not exist without them. ... We are happy to see that patriotism is so strong in our community."

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According to Debbie Ingram, spokesperson for Panama City Beach, the banners in this year's program went on sale in May. More than 30 have been sold so far, and about 115 still are available. Only 28 banners were available last year.

Ingram said she expects for new banners to be on display before Independence Day. They will be hung along Front Beach Road, South Thomas Drive, Richard Jackson Boulevard and Churchwell Drive − all of which she said are "high profile areas" where they will be seen by many motorists.

"We actually had a few people on the waiting list from last year who were anxious to purchase one for a family member," Ingram wrote in an email. "The program will run until we are sold out, and that could happen in July."

The money paid to purchase the banners is used by the city to cover their costs. They are then returned to buyers after Veterans Day. The banners can be bought to honor both active and past military members, and they do not have to be a local resident.

"We know people end up in Panama City Beach from all over the country," Ingram wrote. "We are happy to honor their veteran friend or family member. Many of the banners purchased are honoring veterans who have passed away.

"It is a great way to posthumously pay homage to them, and then the banner becomes a keepsake for the family."

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