FINALLY, A BANNER DAY FOR ALL DOWNEY’S MILITARY PERSONNELBy Ben Baeder
Call it no man left behind, civilian style.
When the father of a U.S. Marine learned that 14 military members from Downey were not being honored by banners on city streets because there was no money to pay for them, he hustled up donations of nearly $3,000 in two days.
Manny Rodriguez learned of the 14 people on the waiting list for Downey’s military banner program when he went to City Hall early this week to inquire about getting one for his son, Luis Rodriguez, a South Gate police officer who serves in the Marine reserves. One of the unsung military members had been on the waiting list for nine months.
“I said, ‘What is this about a waiting list?’” Rodriguez recalled. “I said ‘I’ll buy my son a banner and whoever’s next in line, I want to pay for that banner, too.’”
Rodriguez went home, but couldn’t get the other 13 men and women off his mind.
“I said to my wife, there’s 14 kids here, but we can’t absorb all the costs,” he said.
So he and his wife started knocking on doors.
“What happened next,” Rodriguez said, “was unbelievable.”