Visitors to Melissa’s City Hall might look up and notice there’s been a change in decoration recently. Banners adorning the black light posts around the City Hall concourse have been changed from the Melissa “M” to reflect the faces of Melissa’s men and women in uniform currently serving the country.
It’s a change that started with a Melissa military mother. Gay Ranallo is a resident of Melissa and has two sons in the military; one is a deployed Marine and the other is in the Army. She knows there are other parents in Melissa with children who are enlisted. Ranallo said she wanted to do something amazing for the residents of Melissa who serve in the military.
“I wanted to do something extraordinary to honor the military men and women who come from Melissa,” Ranallo said.
Ranallo said she came up with the idea for the banners from other cities across the country.
“I thought it would be a great idea for Melissa,” Ranallo said.
Through the assistance of a couple of other members of the Melissa Mom’s of Military group, Ranallo said they were able to raise enough funds through donations from local businesses and individuals.
When the project started, Ranallo and others decided to establish a name for the project, and came up with “Melissa Honors Military.” Ranallo said this program is to honor Melissa High School alumni who are service members currently on active duty.
At first, Ranallo met with Melissa Mayor Reed Greer to obtain permission to begin the project.
“The city of Melissa was responsible for installing the banners and storing them for future installations,” Ranallo said.
Ranallo said that even though the organization did their best to find service members who were MHS alumni, she knows they may have missed a few.
“We tried our best to locate all active duty service members who are MHS alumni,” Ranallo said. “Also, to find sponsors to help fund the cost of producing the banners and the light pole hardware to install them.”
Ranallo said she hopes the project does not end here.
“This was the first inaugural ‘Melissa Honors Military’ banner program,” Ranallo said. “I hope to see more service members included in the future.”
Paula Shandelmeier will be taking over the reins and has volunteered to continue overseeing the program. To learn more about the program, visit www.melisshonorsmilitary.com.
“This impressive collaborative project represents the heart of our community, so come and take a stroll to see all those that have been honored for their service,” Melissa city staff said in a released statement.
The names on the current banners are as follows: Kristov George — Air Force; Faith Balzen — Marines; Michael Ellis — Marines; Parker Hahn — Army; Ally Terry — Air force; Colton Spurgin — Air Force; Brad Williams — Marines; Marshall Williams — Coast Guard; Cole Ranallo — Army; Kyle Ranallo — Marines; Chad Shandelmeir — Army; Kaleb Kaetterhenry — Marines; Charles Anderson — Marines; Hunter Hale — Air Force; Harry Perdomo — Navy; Chance Dority — Army; Brad Bush — Marines; Aaron Bush — Army; Kalenn Price — Air Force; and Charles Hollingsworth — Air Force.