Deadline to order Hometown Hero Banners draws closer

LOCK HAVEN — A chance to show pride in a loved one who serves or served in the military or who is an emergency responder.

That’s what Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is offering with another round of Hometown Hero Banner sales this year.

This is the seventh year the nonprofit is offering the program to the community.

It began in 2008 and this year the number of banners that will have graced the streets and levee in Lock Haven will exceed 2,200.

The replacement or rehang of banners has taken place every other year, with the exception of sales taking place in 2009 as well.

Funds from the sale are what help keep Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. sustainable, Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. Board President Bob Rolley said.

“Downtown Lock Haven, Inc. is heading to home plate to sell Hometown and emergency first-responders banners,” Rolley said.

These banners offer an opportunity to honor and recognize all military veterans and active personnel, plus emergency first-responders. There also is a sports banner program underway, said Samantha Eisenhart, downtown manager.

Among the new banners already purchased is one for Richard Kunes, as purchased by his son, DuWayne Kunes, and other children.

DuWayne is well known for his long-time volunteer work with the Lock Haven Area Jaycees.

DuWayne’s father is a Beech Creek native.

Richard served in the Army during the Cold War from 1954 to 1958, DuWayne said.

DuWayne and his siblings are sponsoring the banner to honor their father, he said.

In more recent years, Downtown Lock Haven opened the banner program to emergency first-responders – police, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and others.

This year’s banner sales goal is 200.

The deadline to order is not far away.

It’s June 29, the day of the Best of Clinton County festival and parade.

“We’re trying to get have every streetlight downtown and on the levee with banners,” Eisenhart said.

New bannerrs cost $200.

Rehangs are just $50.

Reprints are $100.

Those purchasing a banner can choose where their banner will be placed, though such requests are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hometown Hero Banners can be placed on both sides of East Main, Grove and Vesper streets and Bellefonte Avenue; the northern side of Water Street; some poles along Commerce, Canal and Mill streets; and along the levee walkway.

As the deadline for orders draws closer, the chances of receiving placement requested are getting slimmer, Eisenhart said.

Order forms for banners, which must include a high resolution photo of the honorees, are due by June 29. Forms can be picked up at Downtown’s office, 205 E. Main St., Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Each banner will be printed by local business SpeedPro Imaging of Lock Haven.

A Saturday, Aug. 3 ceremony is planned.

A committee consisting of veterans and volunteers is planning the event.

The approximately hour-long ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the Coreman Amphitheatre at the corner of Jay and Water streets and include singing of the National Anthem by Elaine Barth, a welcome speech and the return of five banners — one from each branch of the military — to family members by Bill Bechdel, director of the Clinton County Veterans Affairs Office.

The keynote speaker this year will be retired Navy Seal Massa James of Bellefonte.

Current plans are tentative at this time and will be finalized at a later date, she said.