Members of the Downtown DuBois Revitalization Group unveiled new banners to honor area military and first responders who have served their country and community at Sunday’s Dedication Ceremony in DuBois Memorial Park.
Starting last year, the downtown organization invited the community to purchase banners for its fundraising project which honors DuBois’ Hometown Heroes, including military, police, firefighters and EMTs, past and present.
A total of 63 banners were purchased and include the person’s picture, name, branch of service, medallion logo with branch or service, and the sponsor’s name.
The banners are 18 inches wide and 36 inches high and will be located on street lights throughout the city.
Lisa Gabler, a Downtown DuBois board member who spearheaded the effort, said the banners will hopefully be hung by the Fourth of July and expressed appreciation to the City of DuBois for their help.
Major Matthew M. Gabler, who is also a state representative, was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony. He expressed appreciation to the DDRG for their work on this project. Gabler is also recognized on one of the banners, which was purchased by his parents. He is a medical logistics officer in the Army National Guard 28th Infantry Division Headquarters.
“It will not only beautify and decorate our downtown, but it will also provide us with a tangible reminder of what and who makes our community what it is,” said Matt Gabler. “That sense of community is something that will make all of us stronger.”
In addition to acknowledging the military for their service to the country, Matt Gabler also recognized the area’s first responders.
“The importance of our police, our EMTs, our paramedics and our volunteer firefighters cannot be overstated,” said Matt Gabler. “Quite simply their services make life in our community possible. Without them, our daily lives can and would fall apart in a heartbeat.”
All of these people have something in common, said Matt Gabler.
“When they’re making a difference in the lives of others, they put their own lives on pause,” said Matt Gabler. He thanked the families for “sharing their special person with everyone in the community who needs them ... because your love and support makes them strong, which makes us all strong. And that is what today is truly all about. Let’s celebrate our collective strength. The strength of our community is when we all come together.”
Other speakers included DDRG Board President Julie Stewart, who provided the opening and welcome, DDRG Program Manager Dan Bowman and closing remarks were made by Lisa Gabler. Charlie Nixon sang, “God Bless the USA,” accompanied by Joe Sensor, while Shannon Cooper sang the “National Anthem.”
Tom and Joan Hockman said they purchased a banner for Tom’s father, Eddie Hockman, who served in the U.S. Army.
“I think it’s amazing, I love it. I think it’s a great community project,” said Joan Hockman. “It’s a great honor for our servicemen, we’ve seen it in other towns. I can’t wait to see them on the streetlights.”
Applications for the second banner project are available in the DDRG office at the Parkside Community Center, 120 W. Park Ave., DuBois, or at the Gabler Agency — Farmers Insurance at 21 W. Long Ave., DuBois.
Check out the Facebook page at DuBoisHometownHeroes or www.facebook.com/DuBoisHometownHeroes for an online submission form and additional information.
Applications will be accepted through Aug. 31 and will only be processed with a fully completed form, photo, proof of service and a check or money order made payable to: DuBois Renaissance Inc. Please put “Hometown Heroes” in the memo. Banner placement will be solely at the discretion of the City of DuBois.