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Cal U unfurls banner project to honor veterans

| Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

This year, the campus of California University will be awash in tributes to those brave men and women who have served their county, as the Office of Veterans Affairs at the university launches a new banner program that will honor past and current service members.

The organization is offering anyone with ties to the university who has a veteran in their family the opportunity to purchase a banner that will feature that veteran.

The banners will have a photograph of the veteran, branch of service, era and other information of their service time.

“California University of Pennsylvania and the Office of Veterans Affairs felt it is important to honor veterans, those who made the ultimate sacrifice and those currently serving,” said Capt. Robert Prah, director of the Veterans Affairs at California University. “What better way to remember the men and women who served our country and those who are currently serving? The banners will be installed during the first week of November and proudly displayed prior to the 40th annual Veterans Day luncheon.”

The organization is accepting applications for the banners, that will then be sent off and prepared in time for the veterans' holiday in November.

The group is suggesting a 50/50 split on the cost with area businesses, groups or organizations, who will then also be recognized on the banners when they are hung in the streets of the university and surrounding community.

“Having a business sponsor the banner for a veteran is a great way to get the community involved in this project,” veteran and Veteran Affairs work study program participant Lee Means said. “It's really a good opportunity for them to help show support.”

Each banner will honor a current student, Cal U alumnus or university employee who is either a military veteran or serving currently with the active-duty military, Reserve or National Guard. Family members with connections to Cal U, such as a faculty member's son or daughter or a staff member's parent, also are eligible, along with recipients of the Cal U President's Patriotic Service Medallion.

“The Veterans Affairs Office is dedicated to promoting the sacrifice and service of our troops, past and present, as well as instilling pride and fostering a sense of community within Cal U,” Prah said. “This project puts a very human face on military service. It will introduce our campus community to individual veterans and service members as we walk past these banners every day. The project is not only a tribute to these men and women, but also to the local sponsors who contribute their support.”

Photographs that are submitted can be of the veteran in uniform or casual dress.

The banners will be hung throughout the month of November, then taken down and stored to be used again next year, showing the strong support that the campus has continued to show our veterans for decades.

“Dating back to the 1970s with the university's first Director of Veterans Affairs Col. Arthur Bakewell, Cal U always takes good care our military and veterans students,” Prah said. “With our nation at war for more than 11 years, I'm sure Col. Bakewell would be proud to see these banners on our beautiful campus.”

Cost for each banner will be $70 and applications will be accepted until Wednesday.

For information contact the Office of the Veterans Affairs at or 724-938-4076.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.