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The Pueblo Chieftain OnlineJuly 28, 2000
Home of Heroes Web site unveils fresh look
By DENNIS DARROW
The Pueblo Chieftain
Working day and night the past two years, an industrious Doug Sterner filled his Home of Heroes Internet site with more information than anyone - including him - ever imagined.
As it turns out, he was just getting started.
On Thursday morning, the nation's leading Web site for information about patriotism, the Medal of Honor and military history took another major step forward.
Sterner, now teamed with Medal of Honor recipient Pete Lemon of Colorado Springs, unveiled a fresh new look and a commercial appeal to a site that now spans 12,000 pages.
Visitors to the site at www.HomeOfHeroes.com will find new features, including:
- An "online coloring book," enabling schoolchildren to use a computer painting program to color action scenes of favorite military heroes. Soon, a coloring book for grade schools will become available.
- A tribute to everyday veterans from across the United States.
- "Bulletin boards" where teachers, students and the public can go to get answers or voice opinions about history education, the military and a variety of other topics.
Less attention is given to a proposed Home of Heroes museum for Pueblo, a long-term dream of Sterner and other founding members' of the local Home of Heroes advisory group.
Formerly developed under the free Geocities network of Web pages, the new Home Of Heroes site is a commercial venture that will seek sponsors to help underwrite the cost of the site, Sterner said.
The goal isn't to post big profits but rather boost readership, Sterner said.
The addition of Lemon adds major marketing muscle, Sterner said.
Lemon, a well-traveled public speaker who authored the book "Beyond the Medal," will take part in the day-to-day development and promotion of the site and also offer a monthly article.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Lemon said the new company will start by promoting the Web site to every school and college in the nation, similar to how "Beyond the Medal" was distributed.
As an information resource "there isn't anything that is close" to the site, Lemon said.
"Whether it be the Department of Defense . . . or any of the veterans' organizations or schools, they all go to HomeofHeroes.com as their resource. Even other Web sites will use Home of Heroes as their source. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society uses it as their source. DreamWorks uses it as a source."
DreamWorks produced the popular movie, "Saving Private Ryan."
Already the site had been well visited, Lemon noted.
Geocities, a subsidiary of Yahoo!, reported that the site accounted for about 350,000 hits a month, or about 12 percent of the traffic to the more than 1 million Geocities Web sites, Lemon said.
The new goal is 1 million hits a month, Lemon said.
"We have to look at the masses. If you look at the guest book, we have teachers, parents, students, veterans, corporate leaders, the Joint Chiefs of Staff office . . . all those folks coming to this Web site to either get information or be inspired by our nation's heroes," Lemon said.
Sterner started the Web site two years ago this month as part of Pueblo's Home of Heroes campaign. Sterner, a co-founder of the campaign, uses the site to relay historical information as well as his own timely articles on patriotism.
For instance, the current home page displays a detail-rich tribute to the Japanese-American veterans from World War II who were recently awarded the Medal, the nation's highest military honor. The first installment appeared the day the veterans received their awards.
Pueblo is the childhood hometown of four Medal of Honor recipients, the most of any city its size. Until this year, all four were living, the most of any city.
In the 1990s, Congress proclaimed Pueblo "the Home of Heroes" and the city began hosting special Fourth of July celebrations and large delegations of Medal recipients and other military personnel. The city also began honoring non-military heroes, such as the Oklahoma City bombing rescue team.
Pueblo will host the 2000 national Medal of Honor convention in September.
Publish Date Friday July 28, 2000
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