Tribute in Eastern Pike; proposed in Hawley, Honesdale as well

MILFORD -  A group known as “6 Navy Moms” as well as the mayor of Matamoras, Janet Clark, are promoting an armed services banner program in eastern Pike County. The Hometown Heroes Banner Program will display more than 150 flags from utility poles, with photographs of local U.S. veterans and those now serving, to thank them for their service.
The group unfurled a sample banner and talked about the application process at the Pike County Commissioners’ meeting, August 21.
Approval has been granted by each municipality to place banners on certain utility poles, in Matamoras Borough, Westfall Township, Milford Township and Milford Borough- including the Route 6/209 corridor and Broad Street as far as the traffic signal in Milford. Banner applications may be made for veterans and active duty service members of any branch, from anywhere in the Delaware Valley School District area. This includes Dingman Township and Shohola Township as well.

Photo of service member

Full color banners will feature the service member’s photograph, topped with the phrase “Hometown Hero” and the member’s branch of service. Right below the picture is the service member’s name, and at the very bottom, the sentence: “We thank you for your service.”
Most banners are 30 by 60 inches, double-sided, made of vinyl. In Milford Borough, 14 utility poles were identified as useable; seven will be set aside for this banner program, and the borough officials are planning their own tribute using the other seven poles.
The banners for Westfall Township, Milford Borough and Milford Township will be displayed starting on Veterans Day and will stay up for two years unless damaged.
Those going up in Matamaoras Borough are expected to start appearing on poles ahead of September 11, in time for the Borough’s 9/11 ceremony.
Mayor Clark is not one of the “6 Navy Moms” group although she said her two sons were in the Navy. She said she was actually thinking of starting this banner program in her town at the same time the 6 Navy Moms came before Matamaoras Council earlier this year to make a presentation. Now they’re working side by side, with 6 Navy Moms concentrating on the other three municipalities.
Around 17 to 20 banners will be going up in Matamoras, mostly along Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street, the latter which heads to Airport Park and the site of the 9/11 ceremony (which begins at 7 p.m.).
Those in Matamoras are in addition to the 150 which the 6 Navy Moms hopes to put up.

$100 fee

Geri McKinney spoke on behalf of the 6 Navy Moms at the commissioners’ meeting.
She said that the cost to apply for a banner is $100. The group started discussing this program back in March, and has been actively raising funds to keep the costs down for applicants. The group is paying for the brackets that will hold the banners in place.
McKinney stated that the Pike County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with them, and will host an in-person registration at the Chamber offices at the Milford Community House, 201 Broad Street, Suite #2, Saturday, September 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Delaware Valley School District (DVSD) is assisting the 6 Navy Moms with a Facebook Group page that includes applications for the banners an information sheet about the Hometown Hero Banner Program. The application can be printed from Facebook, to bring to the Chamber offices on September 7.
Applicants need to pay a $100 fee and share a photograph of the honoree in military uniform. The picture will be scanned and returned the same day the application is made.
McKinney noted, “This is first come, first served.”
Mayor Clark said that they already have five applications made in Matamoras, all for World War II vets.
School Superintendent John Bell has also provide the DV 2000 Educational Foundation to act as the recipient for the banner payments as well as general donations.
“The Hometown Heroes program is about honoring our military for all they do for our country,” the 6 Navy Moms state on the Facebook Group. “We wanted the kids traveling to school to see on what real heroes look like. We wanted them to look up and see the Veterans that have lived here before their time, or living amongst us today as well as the students who attended Delaware Valley and are serving now who at one time took the same ride to school as they are taking now.”
McKinney said that 6 Navy Moms is an informal group of mothers who each have a son who graduated from DV High School in 2018 and now serves in the U.S Navy. The others are Louise Simpson, Tammy Savarese, Kathy Stager, Dawn Yencik and Missy  Susney.

Donations made

6 Navy Moms needed to partner with a nonprofit organization to help with some fundraising and purchasing flags. Fundraising was needed for the brackets and poles to hand the banners, at a starting cost of $15,000.
DV School Superintendent John Bell, and Chris Lordi, Director of Administrative Services, offered the help of the DV 2000 Educational Foundation to act as the recipient for the banner payments as well as collect general donations.
At the meeting, Tom Ryan, representing Vetstock, presented the 6 Navy Moms with a donation of $5,000 for the banner program.
The Dimmick Inn, Key Foods and Primetime have also made donations. Colin Smith from ReMarx printing has helped with managing the design and ordering banners.
To find out what utility poles the could use, the 6 Navy Moms group split up and took sections, walking 6/208 from Milford to Matamoras, writing down pole numbers for every pole they hoped to use.
Matamoras, Westfall and Milford Townships graciously supplied the insurance coverage for the banners. The group needed their own insurance in Milford Borough, but Pike County Chamber stepped up and provided the coverage.

Hawley & Honesdale

Ryan stated that an individual from Hawley has pledged a donation of $10,000, to start  a banner tribute in Hawley. Ryan said that they also want to bring the banner program to Honesdale.
Details have yet to be worked out about the proposed Hawley program, including borough approval to put up the banners and who will manage the program. Ryan also has a contact person willing to work on bring banners to Honesdale.
He told The News Eagle that he could think of no more fitting tribute than to display these banners, which serve as a continual reminder to the pubic of the sacrifice armed service personnel have given for our freedoms.

For more information

Mayor Clark said that anyone interested in applying for a banner in Matamoras Borough may call her at 570-491-2271 or Kay Lemon at 570-491-4903.
Applications for banners through for display in Westfall Township, Milford Township and Milford Borough may be made through Facebook at DVSD Area Hometown Hero Banner Program.
For more information about applying for a banners for display in Westfall Township, Milford Township and Milford Borough through the DVSD Area Hometown Hero Banner Program, email 6navymoms@gmail.com or contact them through their Facebook Group hosted by DVSD.