The Schellsburg and Old Log Church Historical Society is getting ready for this year’s “Schellsburg Salute.”
The event will be at the Schellsburg Community Park on May 18 at 1 p.m., and will mark the second year of the Hometown Hero Banner Program.
The program started last year with 16 banners that honored 17 area service members or emergency responders. The banners have been have been hanging from selected light poles on Pitt Street in the borough.
Fourteen of those banners have been sponsored for another year and will remain in place. This year, 12 new banners will be hung.
The banners were purchased and sponsored by area individuals, families or groups to pay homage to those men and woman, deceased or living, who have dedicated so much for the community and the country. When the banners are taken down, they will be cleaned and returned to the purchasers.
This year banners will be hung to honor: Andrew Mowry of Schellsburg who is serving in the Air Force; Charles I. Bax (1897-1978) of Schellsburg, who served in the Canadian Corps during WWI; The Diehl Brothers, Robert W. “Bob,” who served in the Navy during WWII, Charles E. “Chap,” who served in the Army during WWII, Paul E. “Beet”, who served in the Army during WWII, James A. “Jim,” who served in the Army during WWII, and Stanley R. “Peewee,” who served in the Army during Korea; Harry Shimer Wayde of New Paris, who served in the Army during WWII; Jamie Boyd Ling, Sr. of Schellsburg, who served in the Marines during Vietnam; Lee E. Ellenberger, “Junior” of Schellsburg, who served in the Army during WWII and Korea; Ronald G. Gilbert of Johnstown who served in the Army during Vietnam; Sgt. Donald Phillip MacGregor from Fishertown, who served in the Marine Corps from 1955 to 1959; First Fire Truck 1955, Honoring Shawnee Valley Volunteer Fire Company and Community Auxiliary; Walter V. Weyant of Cessna, who served in the Army during WWII; William H. Dull, Sr. of Manns Choice, who served in the Army during WW II and Korea; William E. (Bill) Fenstermaker of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, who served in the Army during WWII.
The Hometown Hero Banner Program is a national movement being adopted by many communities. Stephanie Hills, secretary of the Schellsburg & Old Log Church Historical Society and banner program coordinator, said, “I am truly moved by the community involvement, from the sponsoring of the banners themselves, having volunteers to put them up, and generally connecting with excited and hardworking people to accomplish our goals.”
Judy Harrison, who sponsored her father, James Griffith’s, banner said, “I’m so proud of my dad and all his service that I definitely want his banner to continue to hang. I see that banner every day.”
Hills said that benefits of the program have been: “community pride, respect for those who have served and volunteerism and unity.”
“Many people not honoring a hero have assisted in one way or another to make the program and the ceremony successful. It is so hard to name all of the people, but even one person connecting me to another person who can assist or may be interested in speaking, or can play music ... the list goes on and on,” she said.
Hills added that numerous visitors have commented on how much pride the town’s banners display and how the program had brought various organizations that work to promote and benefit Schellsburg and surrounding areas together to support each other’s organizations.
At this year’s ceremony, along with the individual tributes, the Fort Bedford Honor Guard will participate, the Fishertown Community Band will provide patriotic marches, and John Topper will sing some of his favorite patriotic music. Those attending are asked to bring lawn chairs and are also reminded that parking is limited in the lot at the park. Light refreshments will be provided.
In the event of inclement weather, the “Schellsburg Salute” will be held indoors at the Shawnee Valley Fire Hall.