OCEAN CITY – Ocean City will be honoring its local home town heroes this summer through a military banner program that will recognize active duty personnel along the Boardwalk.

On Tuesday afternoon, Pat Riordan of the OC Elks Lodge Veteran’s Committee came before the Mayor and City Council to request permission to implement an Ocean City Hometown Heroes Military Banner Program to honor active duty personnel who reside in Worcester County.

According to Riordan, the program was created for the community of Ocean City to honor and recognize active duty military personnel that reside in Worcester County. Banners will display the official military photo of the service person, as well as his or her name, rank and branch of the Unites States Armed Forces. There will be no cost to the honoree for this program.

“It basically started with a trip to California last spring when my wife and I were there on our anniversary trip. We were visiting the town of Temecula, Calif., and they had a similar program that really made you feel good walking around seeing these banners. It touched us, so we came to the Elks who were looking for projects for the Veterans Committee, and they instructed me to go forward with it, which I have been working on the past six months. Hopefully, I am bringing this to you and we can get your blessing to move forward,” Riordan said.

He explained the banner would be similar to those posted in Temecula, obviously changing it to represent Ocean City, but is working with a graphic artist to come up with a final product.

Riordan has met with the Department of Public Works, and 16 locations were chosen to hang banners on light pole locations on the concrete Boardwalk easterly bump outs from the pier to 4th Street from Springfest to Sunfest each year to avoid having the banners destroyed by winter weather.

“I couldn’t have asked for better locations if I handpicked the poles myself. They will be in the area of the Fireman’s Memorial,” he said. “After we take them down after Sunfest, we are hoping to present them to the service member or their family for a keepsake.”

The program will be no cost to the Town of Ocean City. Funds will be raised through local fraternal organizations, charities and businesses to sponsor active duty military from Worcester County.

“It is a great idea and I don’t think we could do too much to honor our veterans,” Councilman Brent Ashley said as he made a motion to approve the military banner program.

Councilman Doug Cymek seconded the motion. It had been several months since he first talked to Riordan about the program and was happy to see him before the council for approval.

The council voted unanimously to approve the program.

“I want to thank you for bringing this program forward and to the Elks and their Veteran’s Committee in working together with different organizations,” Mayor Rick Meehan said. “You are going to find this to be a very special type of display on our Boardwalk, and certainly something that is important to all of is no matter where you are from. Our residents, visitors, and families of service members will see those banners and it will really resonate with them. It is a patriotic feeling and a real tribute to those who are serving us.”