WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange Public Information Officer Joseph Fagan recently reminded residents that the Downtown West Orange Alliance (DWOA) has officially launched a new program celebrating the township’s “Hometown Heroes.”

As part of this initiative, banners featuring photos of local veterans will be hung from utility poles along the downtown corridor of West Orange. Interested families are encouraged to purchase a 30-by-60-inch banner and submit a photo of the veteran—preferably in uniform—along with his or her branch of service and years served.

“West Orange has become New Jersey’s most decorated community, with approximately 330 West Orange veterans receiving the New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal since 1999,” said Fagan. “The DWOA’s ‘hometown hero’ program is intended to honor them along with all West Orange veterans past and present along the downtown corridor with banners bearing their photo.”

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All veterans must be former or current West Orange residents to participate. Any individual who has served or is serving in any branch of the military is eligible, and family members of deceased veterans are invited sign up in honor of their loved ones.

“The many sacrifices of our veterans are most deserving to be remembered in a meaningful way,” Mayor Robert Parisi said when the program launched. “In a certain sense, our treatment of their memory will be a telling verdict upon our generation. West Orange has been cited as New Jersey’s most decorated community and this program will help showcase one reason why.”

Fagan added that the banner will cost $200, but financial consideration will be given to families who cannot afford it. Noting that all requests will be kept confidential, Fagan urged residents to contact the DWOA at (973) 325-4109 for more information about financial assistance.

Anyone wishing to participate in the program can sign up by visiting www.downtownwo.com.

For questions concerning a West Orange veteran's service or assistance in scanning photographs, contact Fagan at (973) 666-2061 or jfagan@westorange.org.