Faces in the Crowd: Bill Casper
A retired teacher and Air Force veteran has a mission to uplift all veterans with the Veterans Honor Banner Project
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Veterans, both living and deceased, are being remembered through the Veterans Honor Banner Project. Those who have served in any branch and any conflict will be displayed on banners in Rapid City.
One man has been a driving force behind it all. Bill Casper is this week’s Face in the Crowd.
The idea for the Veterans Honor Banner Project was inspired by a similar project in Kansas, envisioning a way for the community to recognize the people that served our country and have their service and sacrifice remembered.
Casper says, “I’m really passionate. I had an uncle that was killed Christmas Day in the Battle of the Bulge, and so I’ve always been interested in World War II. And I’ve always felt that anybody that serves is a sacrifice … we should really take the time to honor them … we don’t do enough for them, I think.”
Last year, 18 veterans’ banners were hung around Rapid City – this year, 90. Casper’s goal is to have 50-60 more next year, hanging all over town.
Project leaders recently celebrated a ribbon cutting with the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce. Casper says he appreciates the attention they get, with the hope that more sponsors will sign up to purchase banners.
Bill taught science and American history for 41 years and served in the Air Force. His passion for recognizing veterans shines through his actions, as he serves on many levels.
“I’ve worked with World War II veterans, basically since 2009 … this project was just a natural for me to take on. So, it’s an honor for me and a privilege. It’s emotional at times. I had a lady come to pick up her grandfather’s picture yesterday, and she was in tears and so was I.”
The responses from the veterans’ families are overwhelming.
“The pictures that I’ve gotten on Facebook of people that have their families come and stand under the banner is priceless. They are so happy – it’s awesome. I get emotional myself. That gives me pleasure, just to see them have pleasure as a result.”
Apply here to have a veteran showcased. Veterans do not have to be from Rapid City. The committee is looking for more Native American and women veterans to display.
If you would like to nominate someone for our Faces in the Crowd segment, click here.