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Honoring Our Heroes

909 Magazine

Driving down the main streets of Rancho Cucamonga, it’s hard not to notice the parade of red, white and blue banners hanging from streetlight standards honoring hometown men and women serving in the military.

Look a little closer however, and it’s hard not to notice the worn and weathered condition of some of those banners. 

Thanks to efforts of the city’s Gold Star families, whose sons and daughters made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, those aging banners are gradually being replaced.

Kim and Rick Creed, whose son, Corporal Matthew Creed, was killed in Iraq in 2006 are one of those families. The Creeds first got involved in the banner replacement program after noticing that many of the banners had become discolored and tattered.  Rick Creed initially offered to rent a boom truck to clean them up but liability issues prevented the city from accepting his offer.  The cost of hiring a contractor to do the work was about the same as replacing them. 

So, the Creeds and other Gold Star families partnered with the Rancho Cucamonga Community and Arts Foundation to raise funds to assist the city with the cost of replacing old and damaged banners.  The group sponsors the replacement of 12 to 18 banners every year.  

Since the Armed Forces Banner Program of Rancho Cucamonga was established in November 2005, there are over 400 military banners proudly displayed on Haven and Milliken Avenues, Base Line Road, and 4th Street including 15 bearing a gold star for those who have been killed or died while on active duty.

Image result for rancho cucamonga armed forces bannerFrancie Palmer, Communications Manager for the city of Rancho Cucamonga, said the city provides the banners at no cost to the families and will replace those that fall including 88 that were toppled by a recent wind storm.  However, the city must rely on donations to replace those ravaged by weather and time.              

Every Christmas, the Creeds put on a display at their Tioga Peak Court home featuring a slide show of all the military banners projected on their garage and lights coordinated with alternating Christmas and patriotic music.  They leave a donation box out front and typically collect $200 to $400 a season, enough to replace one or two banners.

“They have definitely been champions and strong supporters of our military banner program as well as other Gold Star families,” Palmer said. 

Creed’s own son’s banner hangs on Haven Avenue south of Foothill Boulevard in front of City Hall. Matt Creed enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2003 and was killed by a sniper while on patrol in Iraq in 2006, four months after his family moved from Covina to Rancho Cucamonga.

“I go out of my way to drive up Haven to ask him how he’s doing,” Creed said. “It’s a point of connection for us and for the other families.”

Anyone interested in donating to the banner replacement fund can go to www.cityofrc.us and click on Armed Forces Banner Program under City Services.

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