Chesapeake Check Funds Hometown Heroes Banners
“Thanks to their generosity we were able to place three times the number of banners than we could have without their support,” Wyalusing’s Kelly Bradley said of a $25,000 check from Chesapeake Energy. The check covered the cost of placing 193 banners with photos of Bradford County veterans along the streets of Towanda.
It was Bradley, a retired Wyalusing Valley High School English teacher, who brought the Hometown Heroes program to Bradford County in 2009 after seeing veterans’ photos featured on banners lining the streets of Lock Haven, PA. Her efforts proved so successful that last fall Bradley announced that she would be doing it again.
The banners were originally dedicated at a special program at the Towanda American Legion Post on May 16, 2009, and plans are for a similar program early next month to dedicate the new banners. Most of the old banners will or already have been removed and will be made available to family members in the future. But 15 of the veterans’ photos that were on banners installed in 2009 are included on the new banners. These photos are of veterans who were killed in action or listed as missing and Bradley said she did not want them to be forgotten.
Jane Clements, Corporate Development Coordinator for Chesapeake, said Bradley wrote to Chesapeake in January inquiring about the company supporting the banner program. “Chesapeake offers a lot of support to veterans, but this is the first banner program we’ve funded,” Clements said.
When Bradley learned that Chesapeake would be funding the entire effort, she returned money to those who had already paid $200 to have a banner produced. The 18x36-inch banners, which were designed by Wyalusing’s Marvin Meteer, feature photos of Bradford County veterans dating from the Civil War to those currently on active duty.
Set for June 4
The new banners that are currently on display along the streets of Towanda will be dedicated at a ceremony at Towanda American Legion Post 42 on June 4 beginning at 10 a.m.
The program will feature pre-ceremony entertainment by Andy Boardman, opening remarks by Kelly Bradley, and a welcome from Daniel Rungo, Commander of Towanda Post 42.
Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith will serve as Master of Ceremonies. The Reverend Doctor Karen Ballard of Wyalusing, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, will sing the National Anthem and later in the program will sing a selection of patriotic songs with her daughter, Kirstyn. An invocation will be presented by Mrs. Ballard’s husband, The Reverend Doctor Barry Ballard, Pastor of Wyalusing’s Presbyterian Church.
Featured speakers include: Towanda Mayor Garrett Miller, Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko, State Representative Tina Pickett and U.S. Representative Tom Marino.
Gene Osmun, Director of Veterans’ Affairs, will formally dedicate the banners.
Closing remarks will be offered by Captain Chris McLaud, PA Army National Guard.
The program will conclude with a benediction by The Reverend Doctor Karen Ballard, and the retiring of the colors by a Post 42 color guard and the playing of Taps.
Light refreshments will follow the ceremony. Those attending should bring a lawn chair or blanket.
The Hometown Heroes banner program is endorsed by the Friends of the Bradford County Library, the Bradford County Bureau of Veterans’ Affairs and Towanda Borough.