Editor's note: Since press time, the deadline for applications has been extended to April 15.
The Franklin Square Civic Association is celebrating local veterans and heroes for a fifth year with its special banner initiative.
Adrienne McKenna, project coordinator, said the program originally launched with the idea of honoring military personnel from Franklin Square only. When the Covid-19 pandemic first happened, the program expanded to shine the spotlight on health care workers and first responders.
“We felt we could expand it to honor and recognize those heroes,” McKenna said. “We also had always gotten questions from people who live in Franklin Square, but their parent might not have, so technically, they were not eligible — the committee met and we decided to expand it again a little bit.”
Applications for the 2023 Hometown Heroes Banner Program are due by Wednesday, March 15 and there are two offerings: the Franklin Square Hometown Hero banner and the Franklin Square Honored Hero.
The Hometown Heroes are reserved for the contributions of Franklin Square residents, while the Honored Hero banners are available to current Franklin Square residents who would like to give recognition to a military or first responder hero who is not from the town.
For example, Frank Culmone, president of the Franklin Square Civic Association, has lived in Franklin Square for over 50 years now, but his father and father-in-law who were in the service did not, McKenna said. When the program expanded last year, Culmone was able to honor his relatives with the Honored Heroes banner.
The plan is to place the banners at the VFW Post 2718 on Lincoln Road or at Rath Park from Memorial Day on May 29 through Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11. Each banner costs $135 and must be paid by the banner sponsor.
Once they are taken down after Veteran’s Day, the banners will be returned to the sponsors in the late fall, as a keepsake. McKenna said there are over 20 banners from last year’s event the civic association plans on rehanging with the new submissions.
Those who do not have a specific hero to sponsor, but are still interested in contributing to the program, can do so by filling out an application and selecting “Sponsor Only.”
McKenna said the civic association is appreciative to the VFW Post 2718 for allowing the organization to display the banners around the building and in the park.
“We felt it was only fair that we should honor the people who live in Franklin Square that have contributed to our freedoms, our world, our safety and our health,” McKenna said. “It’s just a project near and dear to the whole civic association’s heart and it’s something we’re very proud of.”
For any additional questions or information about how to apply for a banner, email the FSCA Hometown Heroes Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Adrienne McKenna at (516) 592-3405.