BLAIRSTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey community is showing support for those overseas in Afghanistan in a special way.
Imagine if yellow ribbons could pave a safe path home for every single military hero in harm’s way; that’s the prayer of Marinelle Blanchette, of Blairstown.READ MORE: New Musical 'Six' Back On Stage After Pandemic Forced Broadway's Closure On Opening Night
The longtime staff member at North Warren Regional School District has seen countless students go into service. She says some were in Afghanistan as recently as this summer and aren’t home yet.
“I just wanted to show my appreciation to the kids I know who were deployed,” Blanchette told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
A few ribbons tied to trees on the school grounds turned into a passion project for the whole area. Even 9-year-old Grace Bockbrader chipped in.
“I felt good … because I like honoring soldiers,” Grace said.
The sight of solidarity brings comfort to the many military families who are such a rich part of the tight-knit community.
“My oldest son, he served two tours in Afghanistan in the Army,” military mom Shannon Drylie said. “I have another son who’s currently in the Marines.”
Drylie is a Blue Star mother and says the ribbons remind her of her own children who’ve made it back safely while reflecting on the families who aren’t as lucky, specifically loved ones of the 13 who were killed in Kabul last week.READ MORE: A Closer Look At This Year's Best Musical Nominees: 'Moulin Rouge', 'Tina' And 'Jagged Little Pill'
“It hurts, and your heart bleeds for all the other parents,” Drylie said.
The women hope this project inspires other communities to find ways to let their own hometown heroes know they stand behind them.
Now in Blairstown, the demand for the bows is overwhelming.
You’ll see them not only at the school but on signs, fences businesses and homes.
“I’m sure that when these kids see the ribbons when they come home, they’re gonna get choked up, just like all their parents did,” Drylie said.
“We’re praying for them day in and day out,” Blanchette said.
And admiring their sacrifices every step of the way.MORE NEWS: New Video Shows Suspects Wanted For East Harlem Slashing
CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.