PORT ANGELES — Messages of sympathy from city residents for Chattanooga, Tenn., have spilled over onto 16 banners by the end of Sunday, and Tuesday will be the last day to sign one.
The banners will be collected Wednesday to be flown to Chattanooga and presented to the city by Revitalize Port Angeles founder Leslie Robertson, who has spearheaded the effort.
“It’s so gratifying, how much this means to people. I am impressed with our community, as always,” Robertson said.
An anonymous donor provided frequent-flier miles for Robertson to deliver the banners in person to Chattanooga city officials.
Members of Revitalize Port Angeles circulated the sheets at locations around the city during the weekend, collecting signatures from people to express sympathy after the killing of five servicemen in that city July 16.
The banner at Walmart store in Port Angeles received so much attention it became difficult to switch out banners as they ran out of space, Robertson said.
She said that during her Sunday shift at Walmart with the banners, a couple from Chattanooga came to the table, then saw the banner was for their own city.
“The wife was almost crying. You have no idea how much that means to them,” she said.
Robertson said there is no way to estimate how many people signed the banners, which had numbered only 12 as of Saturday.
Some members are considering counting up the signatures on the 16 banners, but it will be a challenge because there is everything from long messages to tiny signatures tucked into corners, she said.
Banners remain available for additional signatures Tuesday at:
■ Port Angeles City Hall, 321 E. Fifth St.
■ Olympic Medical Center, 939 Caroline St.
■ Clallam County Family YMCA, 302 S. Francis St.
■ Port Angeles Senior and Community Center, 328 E. Seventh St.
Four Marines and a sailor were murdered July 16 in Chattanooga by a gunman who later died in a shootout with police.
Marine Staff Sgt. David Wyatt was buried Friday in Chattanooga.
On Saturday, services for Marine Sgt. Carson Holmquist were held in Wisconsin and for Lance Cpl. Squire Wells in Georgia.
A funeral for Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan took place Sunday in Massachusetts.
Services for Navy Petty Officer Randall Smith are planned to be held Tuesday in Georgia.
Chattanooga and Port Angeles were finalists for Outside magazine’s “Best Town Ever” online contest.
Chattanooga won in the final showdown, but not before Port Angeles beat out other cities that included Santa Barbara, Calif.; Bainbridge Island; Glenwood Springs, Colo.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; and Bar Harbor, Maine.
Revitalize Port Angeles members led the “get out the vote” effort, which led to Port Angeles’ 19,000 residents, plus supporters, coming close to beating Chattanooga’s population of 170,000.
In the final vote, Chattanooga gathered 67,432 votes to Port Angeles’ 62,130 (52 percent to 48 percent), but the weeklong final runoff forged a connection between the competing communities.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.