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Evans City pays tribute to its veterans

| Saturday, May 23, 2015, 5:15 p.m.
Evans City Mayor Dean Zinkhann stands near one of the veteran banners on display along Main Street in Evans City on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.
Justin Merriman | Trib Total Media
Evans City Mayor Dean Zinkhann stands near one of the veteran banners on display along Main Street in Evans City on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Each time Dean McMillen travels Evans City's Main Street, he'll be able to catch sight of a banner showing him in his Navy uniform.

“It's a nice thing that they're doing for veterans, not just one, but for all veterans,” said McMillen, 85, of Evans City, commander of the Bishop-Sharrar American Legion Post 219.

“You like to see people salute their flag, take off their hats and put their hands over their hearts. You watch TV, you don't always see that.”

McMillen, a Navy veteran who was honorably discharged with the rank of first class petty officer in 1955, said he's humbled by the public recognition of military service.

In recent months, the borough has hosted several processions to welcome home troops returning from overseas duty.

“It's nice that people today thank you for serving in the service,” McMillen said. “For a while, we didn't do that, but now, so many step forward and say, ‘Thank you for your time.' ”

The banner program has been a project of Evans City Mayor Dean Zinkhann.

Though the goal has been met to have the banners up by Memorial Day, Zinkhann said people may still order banners.

“It's freedom. It's everybody's freedom,” Zinkhann said. “That's why the banners are up, we're proud of our veterans for our freedom.”

The program is open to living or deceased veterans. One of the banners honors Army Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, who died Aug. 15, 2012, in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, after he encountered an improvised explosive device.

Another honors Army Reserve Sgt. Nicholas Tomko, who died Nov. 9, 2003, in Baghdad.

People can submit applications for the banners online. The cost to purchase a banner is $80, which includes mounting hardware. The banners will be displayed from Memorial Day on Monday to Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

More than 130 of the names listed on the troopbanners.com website honor service members from the Evans City area, from all branches of the military.

For more information about the program, visit troopbanners.com and select Evans City under the list of communities that participate in the program.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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