While you’re getting your fill of corndogs, carnival rides and live music , you can also help give returning soldiers a warm welcome.
Members of the American Legion Post 52 Auxiliary will have banners for festgoers to sign for returning servicemen and women.
Auxiliary member Fran Benson said the group is hoping to fill as many banners as possible with well-wishes from residents and military supporters.
“We’ll do [spare banners] for the next time somebody comes home,” Benson said.
At least two of the banners are already spoken for, however.
One of them will be given to Army Reserves Spc. Joshua Cruz during a homecoming event later this month.
Cruz’ wife, Amanda, said the 27-year-old Romeoville resident has been deployed to Afghanistan since last August. Plans are in the works for a home homecoming, tentatively scheduled for Aug. 20.
“Unfortunately, I won’t know the exact date until it gets a little closer,” Amanda Cruz said. “It’s the military, so I’m trying not to get ahead of myself.”
Cruz will come home to his wife and two sons, ages 5 and 2.
A second banner will be signed for Benson’s son, Army Sgt. Andrew Kaufman, 31. Kaufman is scheduled to be discharged next March after eight years in the military, Benson said.
“I’m preparing ahead,” she added, saying auxiliary members hope to fill as many banners as possible. The effort is part of the auxiliary’s mission to support active servicemen and women, Benson said.
“We’ll keep bringing them out until they get filled up,” she said.
Spreading the word
The auxiliary is planning other ways residents can show their support for the troops during the fest.
“We’re also going to have greeting cards people can sign for military members and veterans,” Benson said. The cards will be sent to troops stationed overseas, as well as veterans at the Illinois VFW Manteno Veterans Home.
Even kids can get in on the act by coloring pictures to be sent to veterans, Benson said.
“We’ll also have ornaments that kids can make for the military members,” she added.
Group members will also be on the lookout for potential American Legion and auxiliary members, Benson said.
“Nobody has records of who’s a veteran in our town,” she noted, adding organizers hope to raise the profile of the three-year-old American Legion post during RomeoFest. Representatives of the American Legion and auxiliary will be on site throughout the fest, scheduled for Aug. 4 through 7.
“It’s a good opportunity to spread the word in town [about the American Legion],” Benson said.
For more on American Legion Post 52 and the auxiliary, visit the organization's website.