Baldwin Borough Military Banner Program honors active military, veterans
Banner days are coming up for Baldwin Borough's veterans and residents who are serving in the military.
About 25 banners, completed as part of the Baldwin Borough Military Banner Program, soon will be attached to light posts in the community, said Ryan Rectenwald, junior vice commander of the Sons of the American Legion group affiliated with Nix-Vogel American Legion Post 935 in the borough.
The Sons group and the post's ladies auxiliary are organizing the project in association with the post, he said.
Applications still are being accepted, and any U.S. veteran, living or deceased, or any current U.S. service member may be honored with a banner, said Harold Barrowman, commander of the Sons group. He said he hopes that someday, Baldwin will have 200 banners.
“Once they get up, we'll have a flood of people trying to honor their family's veterans,” he said.
Barrowman, 60, of Baldwin, said he tends bar at the post, and a patron suggested that Baldwin should have banners similar to those in other communities.
There are banner programs in Jefferson Hills, Whitehall, West Mifflin, Bridgeville, Bethel Park and Carnegie.
“Got me thinking,” Barrowman said.
He and Rectenwald said it is important to honor the men and women who have been in the military.
“Some of the wars weren't always popular,” said Rectenwald, 36, of Baldwin. “We need to honor these guys.”
Borough manager John Barrett said the banners, which he called “visually attractive,” will be installed leading up to the Fourth of July. They will go up annually, he said, for a period from before Memorial Day until sometime in the fall, such as Veterans Day.
“It's a great way to pay tribute to those Baldwin residents who've served their country,” he said.
Barrett said streets that would be good places for the initial banners include Churchview Avenue and Streets Run and McAnnulty roads.
The banners are created by members of the Munson family who work at HTM Designs and Computer Services in Castle Shannon.
The program developed as a result of a banner the company provided for the funeral of Marine Corps Sgt. Ryan Lane of Castle Shannon, who died in Afghanistan in 2009, said Harry Munson, owner of HTM.
“We never thought this would become what it became,” he said.
About 50 communities in five states now have programs using banners from the company, he said.
Most of the communities are in Western Pennsylvania, including Whitehall, Jefferson Hills, Scott, Bethel Park, West Mifflin and South Park.
“The response everywhere has been extraordinary,” said Munson, 61, of Castle Shannon.
Barrowman said he hopes for the same enthusiasm in Baldwin.
“I think this will take off pretty good,” he said.
Madelyn Dinnerstein is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.