26 minutes ago
Leechburg is joining other Alle-Kiski Valley communities in honoring their veterans and active military service members with banners.
A three-person committee that includes Mayor Wayne Dobos has been working on the “Hometown Hero” banner program since last year. The other community members are Doreen Smeal and Debbie Canzano.
The banners will be put on telephone poles throughout the borough. They will be available to people living in Leechburg and Gilpin.
Dobos, who is a Vietnam veteran, said the community is proud to recognize veterans, particularly those who have died.
“A lot of other communities have them and we wanted to honor our veterans around here,” Dobos said. “They look so nice with those banners up in all these other towns – Vandergrift, for example.”
The borough isn’t involved with the project, Dobos said. The banners will be paid for by the people who order them, he said.
“We’re doing this on our own, and our rule is that it will only be military veterans and that can be somebody that’s still serving at this present time,” Dobos said.
Gray Sign Advertising in Tarentum is making the banners.
The heavy vinyl, red, white and blue banners will be 30-by-60 inches and contain a 22-by-27-inch picture of the veteran, which will be surrounded by a gold border. There will be an American flag behind the veteran’s picture. Under the picture will be the veteran’s branch of service and their name.
A space below the veteran’s name will be left open for medals or accolades the veteran has received, such as a Purple Heart, or where the veteran served.
If people choose to put medals on the banners, they have to prove the veteran received them, Dobos said.
“There is some customizing they can do to the banners as far as down below the name,” Dobos said. “We haven’t got into the exact how much we can do, how much we can’t do. We’re still working with Gray Sign to get the basic idea going.”
Orders aren’t being accepted yet, and it’s too early to determine how many banners the committee will put up initially, Dobos said.
He declined to give a price estimate Tuesday.
“We got a ballpark figure, but I’m not going to give it out now in case it changes,” Dobos said. “In another couple weeks, we should be ready to start doing something as far as ordering or whatever. We’ll have a definitive price and go from there.”
Dobos said the banners already have received positive feedback from the community. The goal is to get them up by this Veterans Day.
Doreen Smeal of Leechburg said the banners are a way to unify the borough and honor veterans.
Her father Sylvan Israel was a Navy veteran who served in the Korean War. He died in 2000. He lived in Leechburg for his entire life.
She plans on getting a banner for him.
“It’s another great way for me to honor him,” she said. “I’m involved with a lot of different organizations in town and I get to see a lot of people and talk to them. I think everybody’s going to really like this.”