EDITORIAL: Honor a Hometown Hero with a banner

Five hometown Heroes banners of local veterans

Sgt. Francis J. Mauriello joined the Air Force in 1942 at the age of 17. Based in the South Pacific, his unit worked undercover monitoring the radio waves of Japanese communications. Mauriello also flew B24s/25s during his four years in the service and worked on the first team of specialists to develop guided missiles, which later turned into the Manhattan Project.

He returned to Schenectady and served for many years as a police detective, developing and training police on Identi-Kit – a tool using facial composites to identify criminals.

PN2 Louise E. Casscles joined the Navy in October 1944.

She was part of the World War II effort, under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that enabled women to enlist and be classified as a WAVE – Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Services.

Affectionately known as “Pinky,” she stayed in the Navy for 10 years, with rank of Personnel Man, Second Class.

She later lived in the Goose Hill area of Schenectady for over 34 years. In 2014, she was buried with full military honors Saratoga National Cemetery.

Cyril E.R. Harris grew up in Schenectady, joined the Navy and served during the Korean and the Vietnam wars. During his 21 years of honorable active military service and 10 years of inactive reserve recall service after retirement, he received an Expeditionary Service Ribbon, a National Defense Ribbon and Fire Arms Certification Ribbon.

These are just three heroes from Schenectady County whose service is honored with a banner as part of the Hometown Heroes Banner Program.

The program, now in its ninth year, is sponsored by the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation (DSIC) and city of Schenectady. Major sponsorship support is provided for the ninth consecutive year by Broadview Federal Credit Union. Individuals and businesses also sponsor banners.

Each banner includes the honoree’s name, branch of service and photo.

Banners are displayed on light poles around downtown Schenectady from late May until mid-November.

Through March 15, the program is seeking honorees to recognize.

To be eligible, a soldier must be serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard, or be a military veteran living or deceased who has been honorably discharged.

Honorees also must either be a current Schenectady County resident; have been born and raised in Schenectady County; or have graduated from a Schenectady County school district.

There is no cost to nominate a service member.

A Hometown Heroes Nomination Form must be completed and submitted to the DSIC by Wednesday, March 15.

All qualified nominees will go on a list to be selected for an available banner on a first come, first served basis.

If you know someone who deserves recognition, download the nomination form by visiting https://downtownschenectady.org/ and clicking on the banners.

This is a great way to honor our local military heroes in a very special, public way.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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