Schenectady’s military heroes will be recognized throughout the city starting this spring, in the Hometown Heroes Banner Program.
City lampposts will display the nearly 6-foot-high vinyl banners emblazoned with photos of local veterans and active duty service people. In addition to a photo, the double-sided banners will include the service person’s name and branch of service.
The Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp. and the City of Schenectady are partners in the project. Corporate sponsors are providing donations to cover the cost of the banners.
“We have had a phenomenal corporate response. Over half of our [banner] locations are currently being sponsored,” said Colleen Merays, assistant director of DSIC.
Banners will fly from every other light pole on State Street, from Nott Terrace to South Church Street, and also from poles around City Hall.
“They’ll go up mid-May, in time for Armed Forces Day, and then they’ll be up through Veterans Day in November,” Merays said. A second wave of banners will be added by July 4th, she noted.
Nominations for service people to be pictured on the banners are being accepted through April 10. Honorees are chosen on a first come, first served basis, Merays noted.
To qualify, the service person may be living or deceased. He or she must have been born in Schenectady, have graduated from Schenectady City School District or be a current resident of the city. Veterans or active duty service people in the Armed Forces or National Guard can be nominated.
Anyone can nominate a service person to appear on one of the banners. It is not necessary to become a sponsor to do so. Corporate sponsors are still being sought, however.
The cost to sponsor a banner is $300. Sponsors will receive the banner once it is taken down, as well as an 8-by-10 photo of the banner.
“This is an extremely important project to honor these wonderful service people who stood up for us and are willing to serve in a capacity that a lot of us haven’t been able to serve in, and we want to thank them,” Merays said.