All banners from 2022 and 2023 are now hanging along Routes 53 and 102 in Wilmington. We want to extend a special thank you to this year’s sponsors who help make this program possible:
APPLICATIONS CLOSED FOR 2023
It is now too late to apply for a Hometown Hero banner for the 2023-24 display period. The guidelines on this page will remain available for informational purposes only for those who want to prepare for next year. We expect to open applications for 2024-25 in January 2024. Some details may change. Please do not submit a 2023 or older form for a 2024 banner.
2023 Hometown Hero Banner Program Guidelines
Nominees must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a current or former resident of Wilmington
- Served in the United States Armed Forces
- Meets one of the following: 1) Currently on active duty. 2) Received an honorable discharge. 3) Died in the line of duty.
The following information must be provided with your application. No exceptions can be made.
- An original photograph of the veteran in uniform.
- A signed photo release. If living, the veteran must sign. Banners may not be applied for as a surprise.
- Submitted copy of an official military verification document, such as DD-214 or a current military ID card
Banner Design and Display
Banners are 24” x 48” double-sided vinyl. Banners include a singular Veteran’s name, branch of service, years active, and photograph. Banners will be displayed on poles along Route 53 (Historic 66) and Route 102 in Wilmington for a two-year period, between approximately Memorial Day through Veteran’s Day. If all available spots fill there, banners may be placed along other roads. Requests for specific display locations cannot be honored, and banners are likely to appear in different locations in each display year.
This program requires an original photograph of the veteran in uniform. We can accept original prints, 35mm slides, or film strips. Original prints are those made from film negatives or a digital photograph.
We cannot accept the following: Copies made on a home printer, copies made at a photo service, digital photos of a printed photo, newspaper clippings, or your own digital scan of the photograph.
It is important to the Chamber that the banner photographs maintain a level of image quality that is respectful of all our veterans. If you are unable to provide a suitable photo, determined at our discretion, your money will be returned. We understand this may prevent some people from being able to participate, but there are some photos we simply cannot print.
You must submit an original photograph. We will scan the photo to the necessary specifications for the banner. You will have to leave the photo with us. If you are unwilling to do so, you will not be able to purchase a banner. No photo has been damaged or lost in the production of these banners. Your photo will be available for pickup after we have scanned it for your banner.
Photos need to be at least 3″x5″. Larger is better as the photo on the banner will be enlarged to nearly two feet tall. Photos will be cleaned up digitally as much as possible to remove scratches, rips, and dirt. In some cases, photos will be too damaged to clean up enough to print on a banner. If this is the case you will be asked to provide an alternate photo. If no suitable photo can be provided, we will be unable to print the banner and your money will be refunded.
The cost per banner is $150 for display in 2023 and 2024.
The application period for 2023 banners begins January 31, and ends on March 31, 2023, when all spots are full. If you are reading this after March 31, it is too late to get a banner made for this year.
Where to Apply
All applications, supporting documentation, and photos are to be submitted exclusively at Spins & Needles, 614 Davy Lane in Wilmington. If you are not local you may mail in your application.
- The number of banners available is limited. Spaces are given to complete qualifying applications on a first-come, first-served basis. Do not bring in your applications early, the application period opens for everybody at the same time.
- Please do not submit an application without the accompanying photograph, service verification, and signatures. Your application is not considered complete until all accompanying documentation is received.
- At the end of the two-year display period, applicants may choose to keep their banners. You will be contacted at the email or phone number provided on the application with pickup details. Banners not picked up will become property of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. Any damage sustained to an installed banner will be handled at the discretion of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
- One veteran per banner and one banner per veteran.
- Applying for a banner as a surprise to a living veteran is not permitted under any circumstance.
Purchased a banner in 2020 or 2021?
You can pick up your banner from Spins & Needles at 614 Davy Ln during their normal business hours. Call Spins & Needles at (815) 592-1183 for any questions about banner pickup.
You do not need to do anything. Banners purchased in 2022 will be displayed for their second year alongside 2023 banners. Your banner will be available for pickup sometime after Veteran’s Day 2023.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I pay to have my banner displayed for a third year?
No. The banners that have been displayed for two years show noticeable signs of wear, and we don’t want them to stick out in a negative way. Any banners you purchased are available to pick up for your own personal use. You may reapply and have a new banner printed to be displayed for another two years. You do not need to resubmit military verification or the photo, unless you want to use a different one.
How can I arrange a surprise banner for my veteran?
You can’t. All living veterans must grant permission to be on a banner. Surprise banners are not allowed.
The only photo I have is damaged, can I still apply?
We do our best to accommodate everybody. Please submit the best quality *original* photo you have access to. We can digitally correct things like small tears and water stains, and remove other people from the photo if necessary. If you do not have a photo of the veteran in uniform, we can accept a photo in formal wear.
Photos are enlarged to nearly two feet tall, so it is important that the photo is not a print done on a home printer or cut out from a newspaper print. We can also accept 35mm slides or film strips.
Please feel free to bring in more than one photo if you are unsure if what you have will work.
Is it too late to apply?
If you are asking this question after March 31, yes it is too late for this year. We intend to continue this program, and you should look for applications to be available in January. Sign up for email updates and follow us on Facebook for future updates, or just check back here next year.