STEPHEN HEMELT — Nederland want honoring city’s Veterans, military service; get involved today

Published 12:34 am Friday, March 10, 2023

Angela Fanette remembers driving home from work one day down Boston Avenue in Nederland when she saw a family with their Veteran standing under his banner taking a family picture.

“That is what it is all about,” said the City of Nederland Parks & Recreation director.

For three years now, Fanette has helped lead the city’s Military and Veteran Banner Program. The effort prominently displays the photos of 50 Veterans for approximately four months in the heart of Nederland up and down Boston Avenue.

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To qualify for the program, the honoree must be an active duty member of, have been honorably discharged from or died in the line of duty in the United States Armed Forces, which includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, as well as the Reserves and National Guard.

The honoree must have been born or lived in Nederland. Participation is granted on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Those interested can submit their applications through March 20.

“It definitely individualizes service in our area and recognizes individuals who have given up quite a bit for us, our community and our country,” Fanette said. “We can actually identify those individuals and honor them specifically and their family.”

She said most of the featured Veterans are not looking for any type of credit, but their families are so proud when they come in submitting the application, pictures and military histories.

“The other side is many families come in and they have lost a loved one, not always necessarily during service, and this is a way to honor them and keep them close to their family and our community,” Fanette said.

Organizers want to make sure the program is something people continue to participate in because of how many Veterans and service members have ties to the area.

The city asks anyone providing proof of service to do so in person at the recreation center.

“Those records, even for individuals that are deceased, are sensitive and we do not want to retain that sensitive information (electronically),” Fanette said. “We do not house or store it to protect those individuals. We do ask they come by the recreation center to do that. The rest of the stuff can be sent by email.”

Anyone having problems uploading pictures can also stop by the center and receive assistance.

There are 25 total banners in the project with photos on both sides.

“We have learned quite a bit though doing this,” Fanette said. “The biggest part is verifying military service. For example, an active duty individual is not going to have a DD214. As a civilian, I was not entirely aware of that.”

Potential participants having a tough time locating military records could also check the county’s record, because it was something recorded by the county, Fanette added.

“We learned a lot about how to verify service,” she said. “If there is anybody out there who wants to participate with ties to Nederland, has these qualifications and is not sure if what they have is an acceptable form of service, we encourage them to stop by and let us look. We’ll try to dig and see what we can find.”

If someone has no records, Fanette and her team try to get them to the right resources.

“Those are important documents to retain for future generations,” she said. “We want to encourage folks to keep them in a safe spot to hand down to future generations to learn what their family has done.”

There is also a growing database at the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library in Nederland that collects local military records.

Those who participated in years past are eligible; however, the city tries to fill as many spaces as possible with new participants.

“We don’t necessarily just fill in with previous year’s information,” Fanette said. “If someone would like to submit again, they just have to go through that same process and stop by. If space is available we are going to make sure that is posted, as well.”

Applications and instructions are the Facebook pages for the city and recreation department. For more information, call 409-724-0773.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes, The Port Arthur News and Greater Port Arthur The Magazine. He can be reached at or 409-721-2445.