Forty two veteran banners will soon be flying high above downtown Tamaqua as part of the Chamber of Commerce's "Our Hometown Heroes" program.

Members of the chamber made the announcement to the public following a Memorial Day service held recently in front of the American Legion post.

"We'll put one on every pole," said Linda Yulanavage, executive director for the chamber. "This is just a start. In addition to Broad Street, we hope to fill other main streets throughout Tamaqua - with room for many more."

"Our chamber started the program Veteran's Day of last year, and since then has become a great success," said Eileen Barron, assistant director for the chamber. "The program provides a new opportunity for families, friends and community organizations to honor their hometown heroes."

During the announcement, chamber members and veterans Gar Thomas and Rich Shupp presented a donation in the amount of $1,025 to the Tamaqua post.

Barron said that $25 of every banner purchased will be donated to the American Legion to be used for various veteran programs.

"We are very proud of our veterans and our new 'Hometown Hero Banner Program' will bring that pride to the streets of downtown Tamaqua," said Yulanavage. "Tamaqua has several different banners that have been displayed throughout the downtown area for many events; but these banners will display the gratitude and pride of the entire community for the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom throughout the years by each and every one of our veterans."

Yulanavage brought the idea for this program home following a Pennsylvania Downtown Center conference that she attended last year. "There are only a few communities across the state that are honoring their veterans with this program and we are all excited to be able to offer this opportunity to Tamaqua," said Yulananage. "The banners include a photo of the veteran, their service information and the sponsor's name(s)."

In the next week or so, the chamber, with the help of the borough, plans to place the banners on existing light pole locations located throughout the downtown area.

Barron added that the banners are constructed of heavy duty, outdoor-weight vinyl and will be slit to allow airflow, which should prevent any wind damage.

Currently, the chamber plans to keep the banners on display for a period of about one year, possibly rotating those on display.

Chamber members added that banner sponsorships are always being taken. She also stressed that they cannot guarantee a specific location for each banner, pointing out that each one will be displayed prominently as locations allow.

"We (Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce) wants to not only honor our veterans, but also to provide some funding to the community organization that provides services to them throughout the year."

"The chamber has always been very supportive of our post's goal to help local veterans," said Larry Kabana, commander, American Legion.

Information on sponsoring a Hometown Hero banner is available by calling the chamber office, Monday through Friday at (570) 668-1880.