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Banners feature active military
City of Turlock employees Mike Murphy and Ray Garcia hang one of 18 banners installed on light poles along Countryside Drive on Monday to honor local service members. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

Turlock’s Countryside Drive is a little more patriotic this week as the Active Military Banner program was implemented, creating a visible tribute to local service members.

On Monday, City of Turlock crews installed 18 banners on light poles along Countryside Drive, between Tuolumne Road and Monte Vista Avenue. Each of the 8-foot tall banners feature the name and photo of a local service member. Two more banners will be installed this week for a total of 20.

Golden State Farmers Market Association through the Downtown Central Park Evening Market donated $5,000 to help launch the banner program. According to Parks, Recreation and Facilities Supervisor Karen Packwood, the Central Park Market donation covered the cost of the banners and hardware, with American Legion Rex Ish Post 88 sponsoring two of the banners.

The City is hoping that other local service clubs, businesses and organizations will follow the Legion and market’s lead in the future so that military families won’t have to pay the $225 cost of each banner.

The idea for the program was brought to the City by Turlock by military mom, Trish Panos, whose son will mark his 20th year of service in the U.S. Navy in September.

“The Active Banner Program is a reminder to those families of active military members that Turlock, our community, is proud; not only with the community support of them, but it will support their families here at home. With the 1,000 Flags Initiate and now the Active Banner Program, all who visit our community will see how proud we are of those who have chosen to serve, before, now and in the future,” said Panos during a City Council meeting in September.

Turlock residents who have an immediate family member currently serving in the military can apply to have their loved one recognized through the banner program. The City is currently taking applications for the 2018-19 banner program year. For more information about the Active Military Banner Program, call the City of Turlock at 668-5594.