American Legion post works toward city Veterans Honor Walk
By Kris Leonhardt
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – American Legion Post 9 is working toward a city honor walk to line the streets of downtown Wisconsin Rapids in 2022.
“I know when Marshfield started it, but it never clicked with me that it would be something for our community too, until Rich Cournoyer from Rudolph started talking to me about it,” recalled Legion Commander Jerry Krofta.
“I’ve been work with the mayor for probably about two months, working out some of the details on it.”
The honor walk would feature photos and service information of local veterans, featured on banners.
The pair discussed location and banner size, trying to decide on the 45 or 70-inch banners.
“We got a buy in from the street department on the 70 inch. They were concerned on what it would do to the poles – the 70 inch – because that is a fairly sturdy banner,” he explained.
“The mayor was talking 22, if we go every other pole, but I am pushing for 40. There are the side streets, like on Second Avenue that we could maybe put a couple there.
“We could eventually do more than 40, because they are doing some work on Jackson Street, and we might be able to expand the route down Jackson Street.
“I’m shooting for 40, at least for the first year.”
Those recognized on the banners can be active duty, have previously served, or may be a deceased veteran from any branch of service.
Krofta added that banner photos will need to come in as hard copy.
“Heinzen Printing will blow it up and colorize it, if it is a black and white, to make it stand out a little more on the banners,” he said.
“Digital, if you try to blow it up, the pixels get too far apart.”
The banners will be installed for the inaugural year in 2022, from Memorial Day to Veterans Day.
“Whoever is the sponsor will get the 8×10 – the original photo – and the banner back after Veterans Day,” he said.
Booklets with maps and banner images will be placed at locations along the route, including: the McMillan Memorial Library, City Hall, Hotel Mead, and the Wisconsin Rapids City Times office.
While the target is 40 banners, Krofta said that the project will move forward no matter what number they hit, and that he feels a strong sense of community with the project.
“The community is pretty supportive of veterans anyhow, but there are people in town who are not aware of veterans and why they feel the way they do. We were standing for the National Anthem at Witter Field for the last Legion game here this year. As we were standing with our hands on our hearts, this lady walks by with two little kids, it’s like ‘doesn’t she know,’” he said.
For more information, contact Krofta at 715-424-6260 or [email protected]
An application is available here: https://www.wirapids.org/uploads/1/0/3/3/103347874/2022_veterans_honor_walk_application_final_-_fillable.pdf.