Kathleen Gonzales knows nearly all the banners that have hung around Glendora in honor of the men and women currently serving. Gonzales calls each banner by the military man or woman’s first name, as if they were the individuals themselves.
To Gonzales, the banners each represent a son or daughter making heroic, yet often times tragic sacrifices – sacrifices Gonzales knows all too well as a daughter and mother of a soldier herself.
But when a destructive wind storm swept through Glendora in the early morning hours of Dec. 1, almost 50 of the banners were severely damaged, left hanging in shreds or completely swept away by the massive force of the hurricane-like winds.
It’s an image that continues to bring tears to Gonzales’ eyes.
Gonzales and the members of Project Glendora Yellow Ribbon, are trying to replace or fix as many of the banners as they can, but the effort is proving to be a costly one.
They estimate the total damage to cost more than $6,000, money the nonprofit organization with just seven active members doesn’t have.
The group has reached out to local organizations and sent letters to businesses for support, and donations have slowly trickled in.
“I think we’ll be okay, and the community is generous,” said Yellow Ribbon Member Debbie Neal. “But it’s not like we have the money in the bank right now.”
As a 501 (c ) 3 organization, year –end donations to Project Glendora Yellow Ribbon is tax deductible.
Started in 2003, Glendora Yellow Ribbon members have placed 400 banners with the service man or woman’s name and branch of service on street lights and poles throughout the city. Banners are usually presented to the individual during one of the city’s quarterly presentations.
Although they receive some support from the city, Glendora Yellow Ribbon takes on the sole responsibility of raising money for the banners, said Gonzales.
“We don’t want taxpayers to pay for this because not everyone is behind what we do,” said Gonzales. “We want the money to come from people who really believe in this and support our troops.”
But to these service men and women’s loved ones, the banners are more than just names.
“I look at these names and I know what they may be going through and what they’re families are going through,” said Gonzales. “I know the sacrifices they’re making, and continue to make long after their service. Looking up and seeing their banner, it’s like a part of them is here while they’re away.”
The members of Glendora Yellow Ribbon say they’re optimistic that they will soon raise enough money to replace the damaged or missing banners.
“We’ll get them back,” said Gonzales. “Just like our troops, we’ll get them back.”
For inquiries or to make a donation, contact Glendora Yellow Ribbon Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-914-300. Visit www.ProjectGlendoraYellowRibbon.com for more information.