Hometown Heroes banner project officially starts | News, sports, jobs
The program began with the Pledge of Allegiance conducted by Eagle Scout Kyle Wood and the Star Spangled Banner sung by Olivia Hanifan. Gloversville City Mayor Vincent DeSantis spoke about the city’s ongoing history of honoring veterans and Memorial Day. DeSantis gave a firsthand account of his stay in France when they recognized their liberation from Germany by American troops in the 1940s.
“The American Stars and Stripes are a beacon of freedom all over the world” said DeSantis. “It is a symbol of liberation that they commemorate with parades and celebrations.”
Dan Engel of the Fulton County Veterans Service Agency confirmed that the banners are recognized year-round and “Honor the memory of the hometown heroes and keep them alive in our hearts.”
State Sen. James Tedisco noted the community spirit of Gloversville and the support of so many who were once again able to gather publicly for such a momentous event.
The keynote speaker for the event was NYS Assemblyman Col. Robert Smullen. Smullen spoke about veterans returning home from WWII and his great-uncle Paul “Packed up” Rowley, a local hometown hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Rowley was a husband, father of three, who attended high school, worked in the leather industry, and was a Golden Gloves boxer. In 1944 he volunteered to fight the Nazis in Europe. After seeing his eight-month service in combat, he was wounded three times and finally succumbed to his injuries on April 2, 1945 in Germany, one month before the end of the war. Rowley never came home. He is buried in the Dutch Cemetery of the American Battle Monuments Commission in Margraten, the Netherlands.
“With these hometown banners, you can now see these stories all over Gloversville.”
said Smullen. “America is a proud, grateful, and strong nation, and I am confident that our young Americans will continue to protect our peace and serenity today.”
Smullen, who is a banner among local hometown heroes, went on to say that he is so proud to represent the people in the 118 Assembly that he is almost even more proud to be a Marine and serve all Americans to the blessings of Freedom.
John Quackenbush of the American Legion was honored to unveil the banner after addressing the crowd in poignant words and reading In Flanders Field.
Fulton Center for Regional Growth Downtown Gloversville development specialist James Hannahs led the project with the intent of honoring combat veterans while seamlessly complementing the historic aesthetic of the existing downtown architecture.
The banners are hung on the decorative lampposts in downtown on North and South Main Streets and East and West Fulton Streets all year round. The 79 lampposts in the city center each carry two banners, so that up to 158 banners can be set up.
The banner design was developed by Janene Bouck of Silent Jane Photography and follows the colors and design of the American flag, with the service member’s photo prominently displayed in the center below the person’s name on a fake brass plate.
A portion of every banner purchase is donated to the Veterans & Community Housing Coalition of New York. At the ceremony, VCHYNY presented Blue Star Mom April Montanye with a check.