The Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce has announced a new opportunity for families, friends and community organizations to honor their hometown heroes.

"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 Linda Yulanavage, executive director of the Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce. "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."

The Tamaqua Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the first banner, which honors their 2011 Citizenship Award winner and Marine Corps Iraq war veteran, Andrew Leiben -guth.

The banner arrived just in time for Veteran's Day and is currently on display in the Chamber window, 114 W, Broad Street, in downtown Tamaqua.

Yulanavage brought the idea for this program home from a recent Pennsylvania Downtown Center conference that she attended.

"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 will include a photo of the veteran, their service information and the sponsor's name(s)."

The Chamber plans to place the banners on existing light pole locations located throughout the downtown Tamaqua area. 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, if not enough locations are available.

"Banner sponsorships will be accepted from now through May 1, 2013, and plans are to have the banners in place and formally dedicated on Memorial Day 2013," added Yulanavage.

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.

In addition to honoring the veterans with these banners, the Chamber will make a $25 donation to Tamaqua American Legion Post 173 for each banner that is purchased. "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 Joel Perry, Commander, Tamaqua American Legion.

"I can't wait to see them all on display next May," exclaimed Yulanavage.

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