Twenty-three of Topeka’s Military Hometown Heroes will be recognized on downtown banners beginning on Patriot Day, Sept. 11. To honor them and their families, the Military Veteran Project, Topeka Chamber Military Relations Council and other sponsors will host a short program beginning at 9 a.m. at Westar Energy.

Topeka’s Military Hometown Heroes banner program connects the Capital City with other communities in Kansas and across the nation in creating a vibrant tribute for our neighbors who are serving, or have served in the armed forces of the United States.

Spearheaded by the Military Veteran Project, the banner program also is made possible with support from the Military Relations Council, the City of Topeka, Visit Topeka and Downtown Topeka, Inc.

"This event is reminder of the unity in our community and the examples of selfless service and sacrifice that have been made to preserve our freedom," said Melissa Jarboe, founder of the Military Veteran Project, a volunteer-driven nonprofit focused on prevention of military suicide through research and treatment. MVP is based in Topeka.

MVP received enough applications to recognize a veteran to fill next year’s 40 banner positions as well.

On Friday morning, beginning at 9 a.m. at Westar Energy headquarters, Hometown Heroes featured on banners and the family members of those who have memorial banners will be able to view the banners prior to the brief presentation. Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast will speak, as will Jenalea Randall, whose husband, Lt Col Anthony Randall, is remembered on a banner. The names of every Hometown Hero recognized with a banner will be read aloud. The families are then invited to share a private meal provided by Aboud’s Catering and Million Air Topeka. Special thanks to Westar Energy and Absolute Designs by Brenda for their support as well.

The Hometown Heroes banners will be on public display in the Westar Energy pocket park from approximately 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and will be displayed beginning Monday on downtown light posts. The banners will remain on display downtown through Veterans Day.