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Franklin business making ‘A Hero Lives Here’ signs to thank front-line workers

FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) — Hundreds of workers on the front lines in Johnson County are getting a big thank you from their neighbors and friends.

Many don’t even know who it’s coming from. It’s almost like a secret Santa: You can order a thank you sign to deliver to someone on the front lines of this pandemic, whether it’s a doctor or a cashier at the grocery store.

It’s the way one small business in Franklin is paying it forward, even as they’ve had to lay off some of their own employees during this hard time.

The signs are heading for the yards of people like Elisha Hart, a physician’s assistant.

“It’s call after call after call,” she said about her work during the pandemic.

She woke up Tuesday morning a sign in her front yard reading, “A Hero Lives Here: Thank You.”

Her girls spotted it first.

“Nice surprise for a Tuesday,” Hart said.

She shared it with her co-workers and it kept her smiling all day at work.

While some of these signs have the sender’s name attached, hers is one of many that was left anonymous.

“It’s humbling in itself. I think it’s very thoughtful,” she said.

There are dozens more thoughtful gestures ready to go at Spotlight Strategies.

The idea started with owner Erin Smith. It was unveiled Friday afternoon and has exploded ever since, with phone calls and online orders just pouring in.

“People want to be able to say thank you,” said Smith. “They want to do it in a meaningful way.”

When the usual gestures like hugs and handshakes aren’t really allowed, a big sign will do.

Even the sign itself — bright yellow with streaming rays — evokes the sun, showing a row of blue-and-white portrayals of workers on the front lines.

“We’re hoping we’re spreading some sunshine across the county,” Smith said. “In a time when things can seem so depressing, it’s great to be able to offer a little bit of sunshine to make the day a little brighter for somebody.”

They are doing just that for hundreds of people, even as Spotlight Strategies is not immune to what’s going on.

Smith has had to lay off five of her 11 employees for now as business for nonessential customers has dried up.

Still, Spotlight Strategies is making the first 1,000 signs for free.

After that, people or companies can buy their own at cost for $2 a sign, a pretty reasonable cost to tell your personal hero thank you, the way someone thanked Hart.

And while they will appreciate the gesture, don’t expect them to recognize the title on the sign.

“I’m not really sure I’m a hero. I’m just doing what I went to school for and what I love to do,” Hart said. “I think I’m a boring mom P.A. That’s it.”

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Spotlight Strategies took its final free order for a sign, but the signs are still available for the cost of the materials.

While many of the free signs were delivered by the company, those who buy one will need to pick them up at Spotlight Strategies, 170 Commerce Drive, in Franklin.