Take a walk along Main Street downtown, and you’ll see lots of smiling faces on banners – maybe the face of someone you know – who has served in our nation’s armed forces or served the community as a first responder.
These 27 faces, which can be seen on banners hung from light poles on Main Street between Churchville Road and where North Main and Bond Streets meet, are the latest to grace the Bel Air Downtown Alliance’s Hometown Heroes banners.
Hometown Heroes is an initiative started in 2011 to honor local residents who are veterans, serve in the active-duty military/reserves/National Guard, or are first responders. Fallen service members and first responders also are honored with banners.
In 2016, the late Bel Air Police Chief Leo Matrangola appeared on a banner, as well as Harford County Sheriff’s Office Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon. Dailey, who was a veteran of the Marine Corps, and Logsdon, an Army veteran, were murdered in the line of duty on Feb. 10, 2016, in Abingdon. Chief Matrangola passed away from cancer in 2015.
The current honorees include men and women who have served in the military during World War II, the Korean War era, the Vietnam War era, the Cold War, Persian Gulf War and the Global War on Terror. Their banners will be up for the next three years, after which a new group of people will be honored.
Each banner has a sponsor, who pays a fee to cover its cost, and the Alliance covers the cost of the design work, according to Executive Director Jenny Falcone. Many of the banners bear the names of families as sponsors, and some have local businesses listed as sponsors.
The banners are hung by workers from the Bel Air Department of Public Works, which provides the work as an in-kind service, according to Falcone.
DPW staffers Freddy Murillo, a crew chief, and Noah Dodson, a laborer, were hanging the banners along Main Street about a week prior to Memorial Day. Dodson held a ladder while Murillo put the banner on the light poles – many were put next to flower baskets that DPW staffers put up the day before.
The banners come with a QR code on the lower left-hand side. The code can be scanned with a smartphone camera, and a link to an Alliance web page on the Hometown Heroes program will come up. There is a link to another page with information on each 2023 honoree, a page that is still in development.
“As a community, we take pride in recognizing and celebrating their dedication to our country,” Falcone said.
Contact Media and Public Relations Specialist David Anderson at 410-688-3020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.