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Wallenpaupack Hometown Heroes honors local servicemembers

Updated: Mar 13


A banner honoring Sergeant Paul Sweeney. Contributed.

By Katie Collins lifesnews51@gmail.com Follow Katie @Lifestyles51


A banner honoring Lance Corporal Jacob Beisel. Contributed.

HAWLEY - Honoring and thanking veterans is the mission of the Wallenpaupack Hometown Heroes project.


Now, the community too, can recognize their friends and family who have or are serving in any branch of the US Armed Forces by displaying a banner that shares the soldier’s name, photo, branch of service and rank.






Come Memorial Day, as many as 300 telephone poles may display the local men and women who have chosen to put themselves before all others, said project co-organizer and an Art Teacher at Wallenpaupack North Intermediate School Jana Kilduff. That choice, is a “tremendous gift to give to anybody,” since the selflessness is so immense, she believes.


LOCATIONS OF BANNERS


Dependent on how many banners have been registered, the banners will hang within the nine municipalities in the Wallenpaupack School District, where the service member must’ve resided for at least two years of their life. The banners will show from Rt. 6 by the dike and travel down through Hawley Borough. Additional locations within the municipalities will be determined after registration, to figure how many banners will be in each township.


The Hometown Hero banner project has become a nation-wide display of admiration, with banners hanging locally near the Delaware Valley High School, more are planned to hang in Honesdale and others have been seen throughout Pennsylvania. Students have told Kilduff that they’ve seen the banners in Kansas too. The hope, Kilduff said is to have a continuum of the flags because simply, “it’s about honoring and recognizing our veterans.”


PROJECT WILL GROW


With time, Kilduff believes the Wallenpaupack Hometown Heroes will grow, and she’d like to see them go along Rt. 6 in the Lake Region to Milford and beyond. She does feel that will happen, because there are many unknown members of the military from the region who are humble and don’t always share their military history. To that, Kilduff said simply, “we’re grateful.”


As the humble servicemembers become known, Kilduff said she would like it to be an opportunity for others to thank them for their service. But as of yet, more will only become known following the registrations on March 14 or March 21 with a snow day of March 28.


Vetstock has given a $10,000 donation to the Wallenpaupack Hometown Heroes to help with costs. A founding member of Vetstock, Tom Ryan, 1st Calvary Army said supporting this project is a chance to take part in a tribute to those “who went before us and those who serve now,” because they “must be remembered.”


CHILDREN LEARN TOO


Children have connected with the banners too, when the fourth-grade class from the North Intermediate School created their own banners of someone they know who served, for an exhibit at the annual Veterans Day program. From that, fifth grade teacher and co-organizer Tanya Cunningham said the young artists were very proud to recognize their family members who’ve served. Students throughout the district were involved too, when they created a patriotic design that was chosen for a t-shirt to raise funds too.


Colin Smith of Remark Printing will print the banners with a different design than those near DV. Kilduff and Cunningham expressed appreciation to the many people who have helped with the project thus far.


The banners will be 24 by 48 inches, made of a heavy vinyl that will have a two-year turnaround. Cunningham said this project is important because, “we need to thank those who volunteer to make the ultimate sacrifice.”


If a family wants to honor more than one person, they can request that the persons be hung near each other. Cunningham said they would try to accommodate the request. But, Kilduff said logistics with the poles has to be considered first. The banners though, “will be out of your mind.” To which, Cunningham added that, they’re “incredible.”


MORE THAN A THANK YOU


Honoring those who protect America, “deserves more than a thank you” said Kilduff. Because of that, Cunningham said the banners will offer a great visual as to those who have chosen to serve, which will allow others in the community to recognize them and “keep them in the forefront of our minds.”


Registration for the $125 banner has to be in person, but the initial registrations dates had to be postponed to further notice. At registration though, the servicemember’s 7 by 7or 8 by 10 picture is needed to be scanned and the application submitted then and there. The servicemember should be in full uniform. Before the banner is hung, the family will approve it.


There is work to be done before the banners are hung in May, and so, volunteers are needed to help with various tasks. For more information visit the Wallenpaupack Hometown Heroes Facebook page or email Wallenpaupackhometownheroes@gmail.com.

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