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Gov. Lujan Grisham debuts Santa Fe “Hometown Heroes” veterans banners on St. Francis Drive

SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced that the state will re-establish the Santa Fe “Hometown Heroes” banner program, honoring local veterans by installing banners on St. Francis Drive, which is owned and overseen by the state.

On Thursday the governor debuted the first of 131 banners that will be installed, launching the re-establishment of the program with a banner honoring 101-year-old World War II Army veteran Stella Lavadie.

“New Mexico is deeply proud to be home to over 135,000 veterans,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “Every one of them has a story to tell, and every one of them deserves to be honored. I’m grateful to be part of bringing this beloved local program back to Santa Fe and continuing to honor the city’s Hometown Heroes for their sacrifices, their courage and their commitment to defending our country.”

The City of Santa Fe was the first city in New Mexico to participate in the “Hometown Heroes” initiative, beginning with just 20 banners installed on city roads. After a safety hazard required the banners to be taken down, the governor stepped in to ensure the continuation of the valued local program by offering to have the banners installed on a state road, with safety measures addressed. The banners will be installed on St. Francis Drive beginning at the I-25 exit and extending through the city up to the Santa Fe National Cemetery, as well as along Guadalupe Street alongside the cemetery.

Army veteran Stella Lavadie was one of 150,000 women who enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. She worked at several different bases around the country and is a lifetime member of VFW Post 2951 in Santa Fe.