Here's how Eustis is honoring its hometown military heroes

Banners honoring service members to hang through Veterans Day

EUSTIS, Fla. – The city of Eustis is honoring its all-American heroes with banners of veterans and active-duty military members. 

"These are literally the people who walked these streets in Lake County, who have grown up here or live here now, and we want to honor their contribution," said Timothy Totten, a resident of Eustis who also leads the Heroes Hometown banners program.

[RELATED: 12-year-old honored at Orange County Fire Rescue 343 Hero ChallengeOrlando assistant principal reflects on losing father in Sept. 11 terror attacks]

The banners feature photographs of those who gave their lives for the country. 

"The pictures span people who fought in World War I and World War II all the way up to current day active military," Totten said.

He proposed the idea to honor those who had or have a connection to Lake County. 

"What is really striking to me, is that from a simple idea, so many people got on board, and not just the city and Vet Fest, but all of the people who sponsor the banners," Totten said. 

A total of 48 banners are being placed all around downtown Eustis. Each was sold for $200 and a portion of the fee was donated to the upcoming Vet Fest taking place in downtown Eustis.

"I think this is gonna be the first of several years of festivals. I think it's gonna expand throughout greater Lake County," Tony Rufrano, chairman of the Veterans Festival said. "When we came back from Vietnam, we didn't get the same welcome that the folks are getting now and it was important to us that the returning veterans from the 9/11 era receive the respect and dignity that they deserve."

[MORE: Lake County road to be renamed in honor of fallen Army hero]

Penny Jenness is paying tribute with a banner to her grandfather, Pvt. 1st Class Clarence W. McCauslin ,who was injured during the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.

"Some of the stories of the war that he had told us and everything were just amazing. My grandfather was a very kind and loving (man) -- great at story telling," Jenness said. "One of his favorite stories was laying in the snow waiting for someone to come get him."

The banners will be up through Veterans Day in November before they're returned to their owners. 

About the Author: