BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ — The Bernards Township Hometown Hero Committee is expanding their efforts to honor veterans and serving members of the military by continuing to create and hang banners honoring both veterans and those currently serving along main streets in the township. The committee is seeking help from the public to nominate and sponsor banners for the Spring 2021 display.
The Bernards Township Hometown Heroes Banner Program was presented to the Township Committee last spring and received overwhelming support. Bernards Township Administrator Pat Monaco, Director of Parks and Recreation Jennifer Gander and Department of Public Works Supervisor Ryan Wallace are also active supporters in this community initiative. The committee is led by community volunteers Jen Donohoe and Mona Shaw, mother of Ford Shaw, a Ridge graduate and Marine Captain who was killed in 2015 during a training exercise with six other marines.
The program features a banner with a photograph of the veteran, the branch of the service in which he or she served, their rank, and the conflict they served in or the years they served. Each side of the banner features a different person.
The first set of banners were hung around Town Hall in Spring of 2020. Donohoe said, “15 more banners are currently in production,” the committee hopes that they will be hung in time for this coming Veterans Day. Eventually, banners will also be hung by Mountain Park and War Memorial Field. Donohoe explained that their goal is to have the banners on display throughout each November for Veterans Day and during the month of May for Memorial Day. Brackets for the banners are being installed on poles as needed along the designated areas, Donohoe said. The work will be done by the DPW.
To be eligible, a person has to have been a current or former resident of Bernards Township, Donohoe shared. “We would love anyone interested in nominating a veteran to gather information for the next available opportunity which will open in early April 2021. We need a picture, and a copy of their DD form 214 (Certificate of Release of Discharge from active duty) or other proof of service with details regarding time served and relevant details. Do not send originals as they will not be returned,” said Donohoe.
The committee is currently seeking sponsorship for each veteran submission in the amount of $75. “No veteran will be denied participation and funds are in place to support anyone interested,” Donohoe explained. The sponsorship funds raised will strictly support the program and its operating costs. Checks can be made out to “Bernards Township” and mailed or hand delivered to Bernards Township Town Hall 1 Collyer Lane Bernards Township, NJ 07920.
The program is looking for those who would like to take part in the program, or to recommend someone for inclusion for the Spring 2021 display. Fill out the application here.
Volunteers have put together similar programs in other local towns including, Berkeley Heights, Summit, New Providence, Bernardsville, Clark, Scotch Plains and Fanwood.