The borough of Olyphant (along with several other municipalities in the Valley) has been involved in a endevour that is both patriotic and personal: taking orders for “Hometown Heroes” banners and hanging them from street light poles around the borough. The banners honor service men and women from the area, living and departed, who served their country.
The first phase of the banner sales has ended (nearly 100 were ordered, and there will be future chances to purchase banners) and they have been hung. The next step is some sort of dedication.
Olyphant will dedicate its first set of Hometown Heroes banners on Monday, Sept. 11, Patriots Day, with a parade. The parade will form up beginning at 5:30 p.m. on North Valley Avenue next to Brick City. The parade will step off at 6 p.m., rain or shine.
“One of our goals is to bring the veteran families, as well as veterans, together and give them the welcome home and thank you that they never received,” said Kim Atkinson, the coordinator of the event who, with her husband, George, got the ball rolling on the whole banner project. “We also want to teach the next generation honor, dignity and respect for all our veterans and that their sacrifice will never be forgotten. We chose Patriots Day, 9/11, as the most appropriate day to honor our patriots; our Hometown Heroes.”
Atkinson has been busily inviting every organization in the surrounding area to take part in the parade, and she expects hundreds of children from the baseball and football teams, along with Boy Scouts and others, marching in uniform and carrying flags.
“There will be a large group of motorcycle escorts, including the Legion Riders, Rolling Thunder and more. The Mid Valley Steel Drum band will be the entertainment at the borough block party, the Valley View Band will be marching, along with the Dickson City Honor Guard. The Tobyhanna Army Depot will send vehicles as well as the 55th Brigade with Humvees, the Olyphant Lions Club, Olyphant’s firefighters and EMS personnel, as well as residents and businesses, and veterans organizations throughout the Valley.”
At the end of the parade a service will be held at the Veterans Memorial on Willow Avenue. The speakers for the dedication will be Thomas Munley, the president judge of Lackawanna County, and state Sen. John Blake.
The public will then be invited to a block party alongside the borough building, where light refreshments will be served and the families can visit and share their memories.
“They are invited to bring photos and memorabilia of their loved ones and share their stories of bravery and service,” Atkinson said. There will also be a sculpture on display by Olyphant artist Mark Zinskie, who has sculpted a lifesize solder from Desert Storm entitled “Freedom Fighter.” Zinskie created this statue to honor his father, Sgt. Harry Zinskie, who was a World War II and Korean War veteran. The artist will be on hand as well.
If you have a group that would like to participate, call 570-383-9552 to register. For those who would like to take part in the parade but cannot walk, the Lackawanna County trolley-bus will be on hand. (Seating will be on a first-come-first-served basis.) The parade will proceed from Line Street and South Valley Avenue, through Main Street to Willow Avenue.