Hometown Heroes ceremony is Aug. 12

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LOCK HAVEN — Think of a perfect summer morning. Picture yourself enjoying a breeze from the river, the sun on the water, and a patriotic song from the floating stage at the Corman Amphitheatre.

Anyone who has attended a past Hometown Hero Banner Ceremony knows how powerful and moving these programs can be. You may be surprised to find a lump in your throat as you think of how the county always turns out to remember veterans, honor our troops, and celebrate the new round of Hometown Heroes banners.

This is a “Banner Year” for Downtown Lock Haven, and this year’s banner ceremony is planned for Saturday, Aug. 12 at 10 a.m. at the amphitheatre. Mark the date and plan to attend and show your support for our veterans, our troops, our first-responders, our town.

The Hometown Heroes banners are being changed now, to start the next two-year round. The current banners are being removed this week, and the new ones will start going up soon.

It is not too late to participate in the 2017-19 program, if you haven’t decided to do so already.

Take your banner off the wall of your family room and bring it to the Downtown Lock Haven Inc. office at 205 E. Main St., across from The Texas Restaurant. The fee is only $50 to have your banner re-hung on a downtown streetlight pole for another two years. Do this by Friday, and your banner will be in the official printed program!

You may also wish to order a reprint of a previous banner, or buy a new banner, to be printed in the latest patriotic design. These orders will still be taken over the next several weeks.

New banners are available for $200. Reprints of past banners are only $100.

Each round of banners has its personal supporters, many of them family members of the Hometown Heroes whose faces are displayed on the banners.

Others will want to attend the ceremony to recognize their friends or loved ones who have served in the military or in their community, whether they are on a banner or not.

And there are those who will attend because they themselves have served and understand how important it is to recognize their fellow veterans, soldiers, or first-responders.

The greater Lock Haven area stands straight and tall with pride for its veterans and active military members. Of that there is absolutely no doubt. A walk through the central business district takes you underneath many banners dedicated to them.

The community is also very proud of its emergency responders and is pleased to call these friends, relatives and neighbors Hometown Heroes as well. The streetlight banner program includes this special type of life-saving hero.

The ceremony Aug. 12 will celebrate all of them. It will inaugurate the 200 or so new banners to be displayed (182 at the beginning of this week, with more coming in).

The ceremony also will retire with honor the banners that have been on view for the past two years.

The day of Aug. 12 will begin with a veterans breakfast given by the Bland J. Rossman Post 1630 Veterans of Foreign Wars at its new facility at 1110 E. Water St. The breakfast is at 8 a.m. and is free for veterans.

The ceremony at the floating stage will follow, at 10 a.m.

This year, it features two veterans from the Lock Haven area. Col. Thomas Motel (retired) is the main speaker. The master of ceremonies is Sean MacMillen, also a former officer who is perhaps best known for being the founding captain of the local Team Red, White and Blue chapter.

Autumn Dauberman and Elaine Barth are the featured vocalists who have confirmed their participation so far. Other musicians are expected to join in the program, too.

The 82nd Airborne Division Honor Guard, Harrisburg, will present and retire the colors.

Local Boy Scouts will lead the pledge of allegiance. They also will help people in wheelchairs get to and from the amphitheatre safely and surely, and will guide people to their seats who may need an arm to lean on.

Welcoming remarks will be given by local officials. U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard, also has been invited to give remarks.

Select representatives of the 2015 Hometown Heroes program — emergency responders, veterans from each branch of service, and-or their families — will be called forward and solemnly presented with their newly retired banners.

Following that, representatives in this new round will stand on the levee as their banners are unveiled.

MacMillen will give closing remarks, and a musical tribute will conclude the ceremony.

Newly retired banners may be picked up after the ceremony at the Downtown Lock Haven Inc. office.

The Rotary Club of Downtown Lock Haven will sell Hometown Heroes shirts at the amphitheatre and at the Downtown Inc. office, both before and after the ceremony.

Ten years have passed since the Hometown Hero Banner Program began in the minds and hearts of community volunteers. More than 1,800 heroes have been honored since then.

For more information or to participate in the banner program, call Downtown Lock Haven Inc. at 570-748-1576 or visit the website: lockhaven.org.

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