Yellow ribbons will adorn trees along Douglas Boulevard in Granite Bay over the holidays to honor men and women serving the U.S. military in war zones overseas.
The ribbons also will pay tribute to American soldiers who lost their lives serving their country, and are part of a nationwide campaign to thank all men and women who serve in the U.S. military and to welcome them when they return home.
About 150 ribbons will be hung in trees in the Douglas median from Cavitt Stallman Road to Auburn Folsom Road. They will go up Sunday and remain through New Year’s Day.
The project is the handiwork of Mark and Teresa Soto, a local couple who have two sons and a son-in-law serving in the U.S. armed forces. Son Joshua Soto is a corporal in the Marines, son Benjamin Soto is a sergeant in the Army and son-in-law Nick Brown is a gunnery sergeant in the Marines.
“We know that the holidays can be tough, but it is so much harder for those so far away from home and fighting,” the couple explained in their application to Placer County for an encroachment permit.
“We have three boys currently serving and they all, at one time or another, have been away from home during the holidays. They and the men and women with them have told us how much knowing we support them has helped them during their deployments.”
This is the third year the couple and a team of helpers have placed yellow ribbons in trees along Douglas during the holidays. This year, Placer County is helping publicize the campaign.
“This is a great project, and Placer County is pleased to support it,” said Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler, Granite Bay’s representative on the Placer County Board of Supervisors. “The holiday spirit will burn a little more brightly in all of us as we travel along Douglas over the holidays thanks to the hard work of the Sotos. As we enjoy our families and friends during the holidays, I think it is important to remember that there are many young men and women, including my nephew, Jake, who won’t have that opportunity because of their service to our country and to our communities.”
Mark Soto is executive director of Battle at the Capital, a nonprofit organization that helps severely wounded veterans make the transition to civilian life. For the last two years, the organization has sponsored Battle Week, a weeklong series of sporting events that gets under way with a golf tournament and includes several football games over the Labor Day weekend. This year’s football lineup included several key high school contests, USA Football games and a competition pitting teams from the Placer and Nevada County Sheriff’s departments against each other.
Proceeds from the week benefit wounded veterans.