Westerville has launched a new program to honor those who are currently serving in the military or who are veterans.

Called the military banner program, the banners will feature photos of current Westerville residents, former residents, relatives or those who live in the Westerville City School District, said Christa Dickey, director of community affairs, who is in charge of the project for the city.

She said it was decided to include members of the school district because it is larger in comparison to the city.

"We're trying to be thoughtful about both of those," she said.

Dickey said about 70 poles would display the double-sided banners on State Street between Home and Walnut streets in Uptown Westerville.

She said the banners would be on display in May for Memorial Day and again in November for Veterans Day. The banners will be given to those who purchased them after their display period.

Dickey said city leaders wanted to introduce the program after seeing its success in other communities and the value the Westerville community places on those who serve.

"We decided now would be a good time to offer this," she said.

Cathy Noskowiak, a Westerville-area resident, said she is incredibly excited about the program and actually had brought the idea to the city's attention several times.

"It's taken a few years," she said of getting the program in motion.

She already has purchased a banner for her son, Gary Noskowiak, who is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a graduate of Westerville South High School.

For the purposes of the program, "armed forces" are defined as meaning the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, per section 101(a)(4) of title 10, U.S. Code.

Interested applicants may purchase a banner for $130. All applicants must submit a digital scan or high-resolution image. The applicant must be an immediate family member of the veteran or service member.

First priority for the program will be given to Westerville residents. Proof of residency will be required, such as a copy of a utility bill, driver's license.

Second priority will extend to residents of the Westerville school district.

Dickey said the program still has plenty of spots available.

The program is only accepting check payments, which must be made out to the Westerville Parks Foundation and must be received by 5 p.m. March 1.

Those who are interested should fill out an application at westerville.org/about-westerville/community-resources/westerville-military-banner-program/military-banner-program-application.

The application may be submitted online or dropped off in the first floor of City Hall, 21 S. State St.

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