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Farmington woman's project will recognize local ‘heroes’

Lamp posts in downtown Farmington might soon start to pay tribute to the community’s military men and women.

Farmington resident Chelsey Nieland is leading an effort to install banners that honor what she calls the city’s hometown heroes, men and women, both living and dead, who are serving or have served in the United States military. The two-foot by four-foot banners will feature a photo of the individual as well as their name, their branch of the military and any wars in which they served.

The idea for the banners came from Mansfield, Penn., where Nieland’s family is from. Her family, which has a military background, played a role in getting the banners installed there.

Nieland liked the feeling of community the banners created in Mansfield, and since Memorial Day of 2013 she has been working to bring them to Farmington. She met with city staff to get permission, and has talked with several community groups to get support.

“I thought it would be totally awesome to bring that to Farmington,” Nieland said. “Everybody seemed super supportive, so I kept going with contacting other groups.”

The process hasn’t always moved quickly. Nieland is a one-woman show, and she’s had to squeeze her work in between two part-time jobs and school commitments.

To qualify for a banner an individual must be either currently-serving military personnel or a veteran. He or she has to live in Farmington or have graduated from Farmington High School.

The people who request the banner are responsible for the cost of having it made, but Nieland has talked with businesses and community groups about providing sponsorships. There will be room on the banners to include a sponsor’s logo if she finds them.

Now that she’s got permission from the city, Nieland just needs people to step forward with individuals to recognize. She would like to have the first banners up by the Fourth of July. She said the city wants to start installing the banners on the bridge near Rambling River Park, where a veterans’ memorial is currently taking shape.

“I’m sure as soon as I get the first couple up, it’s going to be an easy thing. People are going to want to do them,” Nieland said. “I’m really anxious. I would love to see some go on soon.”

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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