San Dimas program honors war heroes
Posted May 19, 2006

Kevin Davies
Staff Writer

The city of San Dimas has recently stared a program called San Dimas HEROES, or Helping to Establish a Remembrance of Every Serviceperson, which is designed to honor San Dimas residents, who have served in the military or are currently serving.

The less than 1-year-old program was started by San Dimas residents Gary Enderle and Janie Graef in July 2005.

“I was in Sierra Madre and saw their memorial for their soldiers,” Graef said. “I thought our city should have something like that. Janie had a similar vision and there was already interest in the banner program that allowed us to take off with this project.”

The program coordinators received permission from the city council to hang banners, sold for $85, with the  name of those who have served or are currently serving in the military.

 New banners are hung every first week of the month on Foothill Boulevard and San Dimas Avenue and Via Verde Street.

“We try and get families as involved as possible when the banners are hung,” Graef said.

Currently, about 30 service people are being honored by the city through these banners including two soldiers who died in the current “war on terrorism.”

The San Dimas HEROES is also planning a permanent memorial for those area residents who lost their lives serving in the military. A proposed location for the memorial is on the southeast corner of San Dimas Highway and Bonita Avenue in downtown San Dimas.

Graef and Enderle said they want to create a place for people to come and recognize the efforts of the soldiers in a peaceful environment. The two also hope to have quarterly ceremonies and presentations to families of service people.

“As a resident of San Dimas, I am very happy that the HEROES program has decided to honor the people that were brave enough to serve our country,” said Ryan Rose, a sophomore criminology major at the University of La Verne and a San Dimas resident. “I believe banners and a memorial are just the beginning of what our city can do for these amazing men and women.”

The HEROES coordinators are holding coming from community fund-raisers and soliciting donations from residents and corporate contributors to raise money to construct the memorial. Among the contributors are Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the city of San Dimas, Quality Instant Printers, Better Home Financial Inc., San Dimas Community News and San Dimas/La Verne Soroptimists.

“We hope to have the memorial up within the year,” Graef said. “We currently have several artists designing plans for it, honoring each branch of the military.” 

“Sometimes it can be hard to be affiliated with the military because of the amount of negativity thrown at us, but seeing programs like the HEROES. popping up in local cities makes me know that being able to serve my country honorably is the best decision I have ever made,” said Bradley Fong, a freshman computer science major and Army ROTC member.

Kevin Davies can be reached at

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