DOWNEY - Since the city of Downey began recognizing local, active military service members with street banners in 2009, the program has blossomed into an enthusiastic form of civic pride and patriotism.But donations for the popular program have dried up, halting the installation of additional banners until more funding can be secured. "Our focus right now is on emphasizing donations," said city employee Juddy Ceniceros, who works out of the city manager's office and manages the banner program. "We have military members that we would like to honor but we lack the funds to do so." Each banner costs about $115, paid for by donations, Ceniceros said. The banners, which list the service member's name and branch of service, last about two years before they need replacing. The first banners went up Veterans Day 2009. Today, 89 banners line Firestone Boulevard and parts of Downey Avenue. Ceniceros said she currently has about six banner applications on her desk, all put on hold until more donations come in. "I wish to sincerely thank those who have donated towards Downey's military banner program," Mayor Pro Tem Roger Brossmer, who pushed for the program two years ago, said in a press release. "This is a great way to honor the brave men and women who serve our country and I encourage others [to] help recognize our military heroes by participating in this program." So far, the city has received donations from about a dozen Downey residents and a few local businesses. The Downey Elks Lodge and Veterans of Foreign Affairs also have made contributions. The city inserted fliers into a monthly mailer prepared by the Downey Chamber of Commerce in an attempt to drum up donations. Notices were also posted on the city's website. "The purchase of the banners would not be possible without the support from generous sponsors, which include local businesses, organizations, residents and family members of those individuals honored," said Mayor Luis Marquez. Applications for future military banners continue to be accepted, as the city remains hopeful donations will keep the program going. "Our city is proud to honor Downey residents that are serving our country," Marquez said. To make a donation, call the city manager's office at (562) 904-1895 or go online to www.downeyca.org and click "Military Banner Program" located under the "Most Popular" heading.
********** Published: March 3, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 46