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Spreading patriotism across the county

Blue Star banner - Photo by Rachel Brant
Blue Star banner
— image credit: Photo by Rachel Brant

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Many people drive past Tyson C. Hicks’ banner at the corner of Silverdale Way and Ridgetop Boulevard in Silverdale everyday and don’t even realize it.

The active duty Marine’s Blue Star Banner is one of many spread throughout Kitsap County.

Lynette George, of Seabeck, founded the Blue Star Banner Program of Kitsap County nearly two years ago. At that time, her two sons, Christopher Weimar, Army, and Wayne George, Marine Corps, were both serving overseas in Iraq.

George traveled to Temple City, Calif. to visit her daughter-in-law and banners honoring military men and women lined the streets.

“We were driving down the street and it was lined with banners,” George said. “It was so awesome and such a great display of patriotism.”

The California city sponsored that display, but George decided to form a non-profit organization in Kitsap County to create and display the patriotic banners.

George has worked for the government for 25 years and was in the Navy for four years. She currently works full-time for the Navy, but said the Blue Star Banner Program keeps her busy in her downtime.

“This is just my free time,” George said. “This has kind of been a blessing for me to stay busy.”

George works with local government officials, politicians, businesses, utilities and other groups to successfully put banners into place.

“I had to do a lot of schmoozing,” George said with a smile.

Blue Star banners are for active duty military members from Kitsap County. The 6-foot banners remain in place as long as the service member is in the Armed Forces. Once they leave the military, they will be presented with their banner to keep.

“If the military member gets out, the banner comes down and they get to keep it,” George said.

Gold Star banners are for those who “have given the ultimate sacrifice” and died while serving their country. These banners will remain in place indefinitely.

Many banners are already in place in Port Orchard, Silverdale, Bremerton and Poulsbo, but some still need sponsorships.

“There’s several more that need to be sponsored,” George said. “It’s been a challenge.”

Banners cost $350. The families or military member can pay for the cost of the banner or George can find a sponsor to foot the bill. All proceeds go back into the Blue Star Banner Program to pay for various expenses.

“No one is paid wages, it’s totally volunteer work,” George said.

George said the location of the banners is up to city and county officials, but she hopes to put more banners along Silverdale Way.

“I hope they stay on Silverdale Way, that’s a good area,” she said.

George loves seeing the Blue Star banners displayed through the county, but hopes to see many more.

“My goal, and I know that this is kind of a tough goal, is to have 1,000 banners in the four communities within a year,” she said.

George’s sons are no longer in the military, but she said the men and women of the Armed Forces cannot be recognized enough for their hard work.

“I just don’t think we thank them enough,” she said.

The Warrior Brotherhood VMC is hosting a benefit for the Blue Star Banner Program Thursday, March 13, at Romeo’s Bar & Grill in Bremerton. The event is from 6 to 9 p.m. and includes free hot wings, $1.75 domestic draft beers, a 50/50 raffle and an additional raffle. Slightly Bent will provide live music.

Blue Star Banner Program of Kitsap County

Lynette George, founder

(360) 440-6497

lynette.george@kitsapbluestar.org

www.kitsapbluestar.org

Wing Ding

Proceeds benefit the Blue Star Banner Program

Romeo’s Bar & Grill

6812 Kitsap Way, Bremerton

Thursday, March 13

6-9 p.m.

Live music from Slightly Bent

Hosted by Warrior Brotherhood VMC

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