The City of Portland is now participating in the Hometown Heroes Banner program, a national initiative conceived to facilitate a local community’s ability to honor its fallen service members, as well as veterans and active-duty members of the United States military through publicly-displayed banners.
Mayor Mike Callis brought focus to the new banners from the main stage of the Strawberry Festival on Friday, May 12th, and welcomed the families of the honored military members. Callis pointed out the banners hanging along the square and thanked Alderman Brian Woodall for initiating the Hometown Heroes project in Portland.
At the city council meeting on Monday, May 15th, Woodall expressed his appreciation for the support the mayor and council members had given to the new program.
He later explained that Portland’s Hometown Heroes Banner program is in the pilot stage. “We want to see how the banners fare through weather conditions, and also how the community responds.”
He said the city council would determine whether to continue the program in July or August of this year, as well as decide how many banners might be added per year.
The original Hometown Heroes Banners were hung in Harrisburg, Penn. in 2006. It is a nationwide program that has been adopted by many cities across the country, including Cadiz, Kentucky.
Four individuals have been chosen thus far to be honored in Portland:
Douglas Edward Brown graduated from Gallatin High School in 1961 and joined the United States Air Force the following year. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, after which he attended tech school at Sheppard Air Force Base before being stationed at Brookley Air Force Base. Over the next few years, Brown served at Kadena, Hickam, Goose Bay, Labrador, Osan, and Travis Air Force Bases. He was honorably discharged in 1966 as an Airman 2nd Class, receiving the National Defense Service Medal and Air Force Good Conduct Medal. During his time in the Air Force, Doug gained experience in the engineering and installation of fixed electronics systems, which led to a career with Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation (CEMC).
Dillon Case Smalling attended Portland High School and graduated in 2015. Smalling had always wanted to be a Marine, and after graduation, he departed for boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, graduating from the Third Battalion in 2016. While in the Marine Corps, he was trained as a mechanic in boats and heavy machinery. Smalling passed away on Oct. 15th, 2018.
George L. Martin was born in 1936 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the oldest of 8 children, and was inducted into the U.S. Army on Nov. 22, 1957, in Montgomery, Alabama. His first commission was to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and he loved to relate that he was there at the same time as Elvis Presley. He was transferred in 1959 to the U.S. Army Headquarters at Fort Campbell, Ky., to serve as clerk to the Adjutant General. During this time, he met and married Tennessee resident, Sue Pearson. They were married for 61 years and had two sons, Kendall and Kerry. He served in the Army Reserves out of Atlanta, Georgia until he was honorably discharged in November of 1963.
PFC James D. Hunter (Jimmie) was born on Feb. 20th, 1949, in Portland, and was immediately adopted by Lee Moore and Maggie Hunter. He has one brother, Thomas Leeroy Hunter. After being in combat on the front line in South Vietnam, near the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone, he disappeared while on Rest and Recuperation (R&R), when his raft capsized in the South China Sea. His body was never recovered. He is commemorated with a stone at Maple Hill Cemetery. Hunter was seventeen years old when he volunteered for service and nineteen when he was lost. His designation was Rifleman Company A, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division.
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