Home Town Hero street signs honor local veterans

Hometown Hero Signs can now be seen on Route 66. (Loretta Yerian/WGCN)

Hometown Hero Signs can now be seen on Route 66. (Loretta Yerian/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The Matthew James Broehm VFW Auxiliary Post 12128 has completed its Home Town Heroes street sign community project.

“This project was not our original idea,” said Carol Lee McElwain, Auxiliary Senior Vice President, “In the VFW Magazine in March 2018 there was an article about a Navy helicopter pilot and Life VFW Member, Stephen Arends, which came up with a street naming sign for a new housing development in Chula Vista, California. The Auxiliary wanted to do this for the 14 Home Town Heroes that were killed in action.”

McElwain said there are 14 intersecting streets to Route 66, which turned out to be the right number of street signs to honor each hero.

However, steps had to be taken before this project could be initiated, including determining the cost of each sign and hardware and any additional costs of the project. Getting approval from the city of Williams to be able to install the signs was also necessary.

“With the blessing of the mayor and council we started our project,” McElwain said.

After receiving the 14 signs, the VFW Auxiliary arranged the signs so they would be laid out in order of dates of death, with the first sign to be placed on the east end of Route 66. The first veteran hero sign to be placed was that of Pvt. Justo B. Cordova, whom the American Legion Post 13 was named after.

The Auxiliary went through the remaining thirteen and ending with Cpl. Matthew James Broehm on Ninth Street, which the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 12128 was named after. McElwain said the auxiliary had one minor problem, as Eighth Street does not come through to Route 66.

“So we had to have a pole put up on the east end of Monument Park to accommodate our Hero Sign,” she said.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of Arizona donated funds to help complete this project.

“Thanking them and the city crew for installing the signs helped to complete this community project,” McElwain said.

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