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Capturing the Spirit

Jefferson County, Ind., Veterans Council launches banner contest

Winner will be announced at Veterans Day event

(October 2017) – The Jefferson County (Ind.) Veterans Council had just finished dedicating the new memorial at the Jefferson County Courthouse when they were approached about a new project.
“We were actually ready to take a break, but the idea was so good we couldn’t turn it down,” said Veterans Council member Robin Henderson.
Members of the council teamed with and the Clifty Creek Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution to pursue the project.
Although the new project is called the Jefferson County Veterans Banner Project, Henderson says the name is a little misleading since the project will also honor people actively serving in the military. It will involve hanging at least 60 banners in downtown Madison, Ind. Each of the banners will have a similar design and honor an individual from Jefferson County who served or is serving in one of the five branches of the U.S. military.
The project is sponsoring a “call for designs” for area artists and graphic designers to come up with a design for the banners. The contest is free to enter, and the winning design will be awarded $250. 

Additionally, the winning design artist will be given credit at the awards ceremony and in print and social media. Designs must be submitted in PDF form (less than 10 MB) and must have as a first line “Our Community Honors.” Below that text, there will be a photograph of the veteran in uniform, his name, rank, service branch, service seal, birth date, death date if applicable and conflict area. The winning design should convey patriotism, respect and dignity.
For their sample design, applicants will use a photo of Maj. Samuel Woodfill, one of the most decorated and celebrated soldiers of World War I and II and a Jefferson County native.  Members of Woodfill’s family are scheduled to attend the dedication of the banners on Armed Forces Day 2018, the third Saturday in May, and will hang the first banner, which will honor Woodfill. The ceremony will be at Madison Bicentennial Park, and the banners hung there will honor each of the five branches of the armed forces.
“We had originally talked about hanging the banners along Main Street, but there are other more contemplative and quiet places that will lend themselves better to honoring our veterans,” said Happy Smith, who is involved with the project. In addition to the area around Bicentennial Park, banners will be hung along the riverfront and other scenic areas of downtown, she said.
There will be a small fee for families to offset the cost of the banners, but the project is not for profit. All money will go toward producing and maintaining the banners, and any extra money will be donated. The banners have a projected life of two years. Once they are decommissioned, they will be given to the family.
The banners will be up from Memorial Day through Veterans Day every year.  They will be secured with brackets designed and produced by Cub Manufacturing, the work-based learning program at Madison Consolidated High School.
The deadline to submit a banner design is Nov. 1. A panel of three judges, including both veterans and a non-veteran, will evaluate the entries, and the winner will be announced on Nov. 11.
Shortly after a design has been selected, residents will be able to submit their family members’ names and photographs to be honored on the banner. Although the first phase of the project will include 60 banners, there are plans to expand the project to honor more local veterans and active military.
“There are over 3,000 veterans in Jefferson County,” Henderson said. “Well over half of the residents have either served in the armed forces or have a family member who has served. This project is great because it will beautify the city while bringing families and the community together. It will help individuals become more patriotic and honor the flag and the Constitution.”
In addition to all those benefits, the banners may also add to Madison’s already strong attraction to tourists.
“It’s wonderful PR from a tourism perspective and adds one more thing to promote and market about Madison,” said Tawana Thomas, executive director of VisitMadison Inc., the county’s tourism office.
VisitMadison Inc. is one of the many community partners that are working to make the project a reality.
“It’s been a pleasure because everyone worked together,” Henderson said.
In addition to the Jefferson County Veterans Council and Clifty Creek Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, assistance in planning and implementing the project was provided by members of the American Legion Post 9, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Madison Main Street Program, VisitMadison Inc., the Madison Elks, Veterans Service Officer, city of Madison, and the Madison Riverfront Development Committee. The Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County contributed initial funding.
“When you all work together, you get things done very quickly,” Henderson said.

• For more information, contact Happy Smith at (847) 800-7175 or Robin Henderson at (812) 493-9578.

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