Group sponsors billboards to show military support
ELKHORN--Billboards with messages encouraging drivers to support military personnel are popping up across Walworth County.
The billboards, sponsored by the Support Our Troops committee of the Walworth County Council of the American Legion, have spread the message for three years and are a way for Robert Webster and his fellow veterans to ensure history isn't repeated.
“Some of us older vets remember all too well that during the Vietnam War we didn't support our troops as well as we should have, and we're determined to not repeat that mistake,” Webster, committee chairman, said.
There are two types of billboards, Webster said.
One with dog tags with the message, “Our heroes don't wear capes. They wear dog tags!”. The other has an image of a soldier and the words “Freedom is not free. Never forget the fallen. Remember those serving.”
Regardless of the message, the mission is the same: support and honor, said Chris Jordan, an American Legion member involved in Support Our Troops.
“Having this exposure throughout the county reinforces to the public the sacrifices of our present generation of veterans and all those who have served in the past,” Jordan said.
“This is a visual way to remind the public that there are vets throughout the county that deserve their support and respect.”
Lamar Advertising, the company providing the billboard space, waives the installation fee for the 12-billboard contract, and the committee pays the printing cost, said Brad Yarmark, vice president and general manager of Lamar Advertising.
The printing cost was paid for through garage sales, bake sales, the sale of Packer tickets and other fundraising events, Webster said.
Webster does not know when or where the billboards will go up. It depends on space availability.
The billboards started going up before Veterans Day, and two billboards per month will continue to go up for the next five months, Yarmark said. Each billboard is up for four weeks.
One billboard is located at highways 12 and 67 north of Elkhorn. The other is on County M north of highways 11 and 14.
The goal is to have a billboard, at some point in time, on each main artery of the county.
“During the time they're up, every driver in Walworth County has gone by at least one of those billboards,” Webster said.