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Banner effort in the works

Group will host a fundraiser Saturday in hopes of honoring U.S. troops.

July 22, 2010|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com

Volunteers are pushing for more submissions for public recognition banners to better reflect the number of those serving abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Saturday, volunteers leading the city's military recognition effort will host a fundraising concert and conversation with relatives of troops in harm's way. The money will help fund the program that honors Glendale residents in combat zones by placing red, white and blue banners bearing their names along Glendale Avenue near Colorado Street.

The city wants the names to come in bunches to economize on the costs of printing and hoisting the banners.

Mirna Stanley, a board member of the Verdugo Woodlands Homeowners Assn. and host of Saturday's fundraiser, said people always are moved when they hear about their neighbors in combat zones.

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"The part that hits home with people is when you hear the parents talk about how proud they are of their adult children and their valor and what they — both the service person and the families — have given up," Stanley said.

Relatives of several Glendale service members — including U.S. Marines Lance Cpl. Pedro Barbozaflores, who was killed in Afghanistan in July 2009 — are scheduled to speak Saturday.

A trio imitating the Andrews Sisters, the singing siblings who serenaded U.S. troops in Europe during World War II with songs including "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," will perform.

Glendale's program started in 2007 and today boasts 43 banners honoring Glendale service members, said city Community Relations Coordinator Zizette Mullins.

Eight other banners honor Bravo Company 1st Battalion 160th Infantry Division, which is based at the Glendale National Guard Armory.

Don Biggs, a retired city firefighter who serves on the Glendale Chamber of Commerce's Citizenship and Patriotism Committee, said he believes there are far more servicemen and women with Glendale ties who are in combat zones.

"I'm sure more people in Glendale could be honoring their loved ones. Families may not know about the program or haven't applied," Biggs said. "We have a lot more capacity. We'd like to put more up."

Should more names come in, the city would like to unveil their banners in clusters of about five. The cost of printing and installing the banners runs $454 when they come in one at a time, Mullins said. It is far less expensive when the city can call crews out to handle several at once, as was the case when the program began.

"While I understand the reasoning behind that," Stanley said, "it is difficult because we may not get five requests in a year."

Despite the efforts to keep downward pressure on costs, Mullins said the city remains committed to honoring its local heroes.

"As long as we have military overseas, we'll continue the program," she said.

To RSVP for the fundraiser, call Stanley at (818) 241-1856. To apply for a banner, visit http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us.

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