A project decorating St. Clair’s Main Street with yellow ribbons and benefiting the local VFW Post will return this summer.
Last year, Franklin County Administrative Assistant Nicole Zielke saw an opportunity on Main Street. She imagined lining trees along the main drag of St. Clair with yellow ribbons to visualize the city’s support for past and present members of the armed forces.
For each donation of $1, donors can buy a ribbon and put the name of a loved one who has, or is, serving on a ribbon to hang on one of the several trees that line Main Street from the railroad tracks to the north end of the parking lot just past East North Street.
Last year, Zielke said the response was tremendous. She said she collected more than 800 ribbons.
All of the funds raised from the ribbons will be donated to St. Clair’s VFW Post 2482.
“It is amazing to me the amount of support I received from the citizens of St. Clair. A lot of people who donated had specific soldiers or veterans in mind, but there were also a lot of people who seemed to just care about making sure that they showed appreciation to all veterans,” Zielke told The Missourian in 2016.
Zielke said she came up with the idea for the project last summer when she decided she wanted to do something to honor veterans for Veterans Day, which is Nov. 11.
“I was thinking that this would be something that a lot of communities would do, but I just couldn’t find anything (online about a similar project),” Zielke said.
Zielke will sell ribbons at community events and visit local businesses seeking donations. She said she will be at many events this summer selling the ribbons.
Zielke plans to continue the program each year and hopes the idea will spread to neighboring communities. Last year, she said she hopes to have at least 100 ribbons on each of the 12 trees on Main Street.
“My son was part of ROTC and all of those kids were really impressed because they didn’t realize that there was so many local people who spent time in the military who are active, retired or deceased,” said alderman Greg Talleur.
For more information on the program, visit www.facebook.com/RibbonsforVeterans.