Tie a red ribbon 'round the ole oak tree.
In an effort to show support for the Willow Fire team, Payson and Pine residents and businesses are encouraged to display red ribbons, signs and banners.
"It doesn't matter if it's homemade," said Tina Bruess, executive director of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Put them out so the firefighters can see them as they're driving back and forth to the fire. It helps the morale -- it's the least we can do."
The idea was brought up Saturday during a fire information meeting.
"This is a caring community that wants to be supportive and wants to be involved," Bruess said. "This will help get the message out to the firefighters."
Payson Mayor Barbara Brewer said the red ribbons were used during the Rodeo-Chediski Fire to symbolize a "thank-you" to the firefighters.
Most ribbons were found on lapels and car antennas, but some people started wearing red hats as well, she said.
Recently on a drive with firefighters down Main Street, Brewer said the firefighters appreciated the signs of support.
"They were very pleased and elated," she said. "They said, ‘Aw, that is so nice.'"
As with the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, the flower company Finishing Touch will be handing out free red ribbons.
Ribbon campaigns have been popular for decades. The most prominent campaign is the yellow ribbon, which is associated with supporting the war effort and the armed forces. The 1972 song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree" is said to have started the trend.
Pick up a copy of the Tuesday, July 6 Payson Roundup for a poster thanking firefighters. The Roundup and the chamber are encouraging residents to display these posters and wear red ribbons in gratitude for the fire crews' efforts in saving our community.
Watch payson.com for regular updates.