Masons retire six military banners in Fortuna

Mary Bullwinkel

Beacon Correspondent

Six Eel River Valley veterans who have been discharged from the military were honored last weekend by the Eel River Empire Masonic Lodge # 147. The veterans and their families were treated to dinner, hosted by the Masons, and in a special ceremony, were presented with banners that had been displayed on light poles in the city of Fortuna.

The banners are a personalized tribute to each military service member and are removed from public display and presented to each person upon discharge from active service.

Banners were presented to Christopher Lee Bierniek, James Caleb Bierniek, and Ian R. Fletcher Flores, who served in the Marine Corps,; Stephanie Demson Hopkins, who served in the Navy; and Houston Town and Tyler J. Fraser, who served in the Army.

Since the Honor Street banner program began in 2011, this was the first presentation to the veterans leaving active military service.

"The banners serve as a reminder to the community of the men and women who serve, and allows the lodge to recognize and show its pride for members of the military," Masonic Lodge member Phil Grunert said.

So far, more than 40 banners have been produced, and eight more are in production, according to Lodge representatives, recognizing military service members from Loleta to Garberville. The banners are produced by Fortuna businesses Precision Intermedia and Gorilla Graphics and are paid for by the Masonic Lodge.

If you know of someone who is active in military service and would like them to be honored, contact Grunert at 725-3637.

Photo by Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer/Beacon

Pictured, left to right are banners presented to six veterans and their families during a ceremony at the Eel River Empire Masonic Lodge # 147 on Jan. 11: banners for Christopher Lee Bierniek, Stephanie Demson Hopkins, James Caleb Bierniek, Houston Town, Ian R. Fletcher Flores, and Tyler J. Fraser.

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