WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Downtown West Orange Alliance is launching a new project and appealing to veterans and their families to participate. The program, called “Hometown Heroes,” will place banners along the downtown corridor to pay tribute to veterans in an effort to create a living memorial to all former and current service men and women from West Orange.

Any township resident who has served or is serving in any branch of the military is eligible to participate. Family members of deceased veterans can sign up their loved ones.

Each banner will be presented in the same patriotic style, featuring a photo of a specific individual as well as the person’s name, branch of service and era of service. The name of the families purchasing the banner will be shown on the bottom as well.

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All banners will be installed on existing utility poles along the downtown corridor.

“The many sacrifices of our veterans are most deserving to be remembered in a meaningful way,” said Mayor Robert Parisi. “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.”

Executive Director Megan Brill of the Downtown West Orange Alliance spoke with excitement as she further described its intent.

“It will serve the dual purpose of encouraging people to visit the downtown while it honors our veterans. It will do so by transforming the area into a highly visible corridor of heroes,” she said. “Hometown Heroes has been well-received in other towns, and we anticipate the same success here.”

The size of each banner is 30 inches by 60 inches, and the $200 tax-deductible cost can be charged to a credit card. The banner will be displayed for a period of at least one year and returned to the family when it is taken down. Financial subsidization will be considered for veteran's families who cannot afford the cost of the banner and want one.

For more information, contact the DWOA at (973) 325-4109. All inquiries will be kept confidential. 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 West Orange Public Information Officer Joseph Fagan at (973) 666-2061 or jfagan@westorange.org.

The DWOA, a nonprofit 501©3 organization formed in August 1998, was created for the purpose of managing the township's Special Improvement District (SID) to assist in economic revitalization. It spans the neighborhoods known as Tory Corner, Eagle Rock, St. Mark's and the Valley.