‘Hometown Heroes’ Banner Project Signup Launched in Redbank Valley Area

dsc_0584-glenn-neiswonger-ray-ishman-pete-barrettNEW BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Since the early days in the nation’s history, the region now known as the Redbank Valley has seen its sons and daughters answer the “Call to Arms.” It was announced last week that those who have responded may be remembered and honored with street banners starting next year.

(Pictured above: Ray Ishman, standing, assists two of his fellow veterans, Glenn Neiswonger, left, and Pete Barrett in completing their enrollment forms for the “Hometown Heroes” project.)

The project will provide an opportunity for family and friends of military veterans to have colored banners placed on utility poles along streets in South Bethlehem and New Bethlehem boroughs. The banner will include a picture of designated active duty members of the armed services or those previously serving, according to Ray Ishman, who is spearheading the program.

Veterans being considered for recognition in the local program, Ishman emphasized, must be present or former residents of the Redbank Valley School District.

The full-color 24×36-inch banners will be displayed on utility poles along the length of Broad Street from its western end in South Bethlehem to the Redbank Valley High School, and along Wood Street from the Broad and Wood intersection to the borough limit along Route 66.

Approval to use the involved utility poles has been received from West Penn Power Company as well as from New Bethlehem Borough Council for poles it owns.

The featured veterans will have their photos on both sides of the banner, including their branch of service, era of military service, and rank attained. The banners will be displayed prior to Memorial Day until after Veterans Day in November. The banners will then be removed and returned to the purchaser. Banners in good condition may be rehung during future years upon payment of a fee of $10.00 for that year’s display.

Ishman said eligible veterans qualifying for the program include those on active duty, honorably discharged, retired, or those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country dating from the Civil War until the current time.

In addition to the large banner, a 12×18-inch yard banner will be presented to the purchaser for individual home display if required. In addition to the two banners pictures of recognized veterans, it will be featured on the Military Tribute website (www.TroopBanners.com/RedbankValley).

Included in the package is the mounting hardware to be returned to the purchaser after Veterans Day.

The Military Banner package, including the two referenced banners, the mounting brackets and website listing will cost $130.00, which is payable in cash or personal check at the time the veteran is registered. Checks are to be made payable to the American Legion Flag Fund. There is not an option for credit or charge cards.

Applications are being accepted from November 15 through April 1, 2017, and will be processed in the order received, said Ishman, who is the service officer for the local Walter W. Craig Post of the American Legion. The application must be filled out with the appropriate information. A photo of the veteran being registered is requested, with preference of the honored person to be of him or her in service uniform, if possible. Submitted photos will be returned.

Application forms for the program are available at the New Bethlehem Post Office or from local offices of S&T Bank, Clarion County Community Bank, Northwest Bank, or the First United National Bank, or at the Jewelry Shop, the Redbank Valley Public Library, or the Veterans of Foreign Wars Russell J. Hilliard Post.

Enrollment forms and payment can be delivered to the Redbank Valley Public Library only from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The forms and payment may be mailed to:

The Walter W. Craig American Legion Post
Attention: Redbank Valley Hometown Hero Project
PO Box 244
New Bethlehem, Pa. 16242

The banners will include not only information about the veteran’s period and branch of service, as well as rank, etc., but also any medal for valor, provided there is official military documentation verifying recognition, he added. Ishman recommended that those who present their completed participation forms for themselves or another veteran bring the standard DD-214 record of the veteran being registered for a Hometown Heroes banner.

Individuals who are seeking information about a veteran they are considering honoring through the Hometown Heroes project be aware that Veterans Affairs offices are not permitted by regulation to provide information to the veteran himself or herself, or anyone other than a close family member. The relationship of the information seeker to the veteran must be documented, according to Ishman.

Ishman, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant, said that once the photograph and information have been processed into the computerized format, the purchaser will have an opportunity to give final approval before the banners are printed.

“No banner will be processed without confirmation of the veterans’ information,” he emphasized. “What we are launching with the project is patterned after what we have seen in many communities over the past couple of years, with the success of the Hometown Heroes project in neighboring Rimersburg being a model we are following. We have received valuable assistance developing our program from Rosalee Bliss, who played such a vital role in shaping the successful program that debuted in Rimersburg this year,” Ishman concluded.

(Photo by Denny Morgan)

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