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Hometown Heroes Honored in Lackawanna County’s Mid-Valley

OLYPHANT -- Friendly and familiar faces now greet passersby on Lackawanna Avenue in Olyphant. 85 banners will be displayed throughout the borough. They're the faces of veterans who called the Queen City home.

"When I opened them up, I got them in hand yesterday, when I opened them up I cried because they`re just so beautiful," said Kim Onda Atkinson of Olyphant.

Onda Atkinson spearheaded the Hometown Heroes project for Olyphant. It's personal for her. She bought a banner for her husband George who served in the Army during Vietnam.

"I`ll probably get teary eyed when I see it because I`m 70 now and that`s when I was 19," George Atkinson said.

Newswatch 16 was there as the Olyphant DPW displayed Atkinson's 19-year-old face on Lackawanna Avenue. He considers himself in good company.

"Some of these banners, I went to school with these guys, I served with these guys, you know, to me we`re all brothers," he added.

Neighboring Throop is putting up its banners as well. The mayor tells Newswatch 16 they received more requests than they had available brackets for, more brackets will installed on telephone poles this week. More than 100 veterans will displayed in Throop.

Both boroughs consider it an effort to show appreciation, hoping folks in town stop and look at the heroes who grew up here.

"I think it`s nice they`re doing that to pay homage to the veterans for the great sacrifice they made to leave their families and go serve for their country, it shows that they`re appreciated for that," said Bob Hall of Olyphant.

Signs of appreciation that organizers said works both ways.

"The country needs this right now, they need a boost in morale, we wanted to teach the next generation honor, dignity, and respect for all of our veterans," added Onda Atkinson.

Olyphant plans to put all the banners up in time for 9/11 when they will be dedicated after a parade to honor veterans. Throop borough is hosting a reception this Friday for all the veterans and their families.