CATSKILL – Banners honoring Catskill military heroes will begin lining roads and streets next spring with the launch of the Catskill Hometown Heroes Veterans Banner.
Tom Andreessen, who co-chairs the National Catskill Committee with his wife Joyce, said the banners will be installed from mid-May 2023 around Armed Forces Day and removed around Veterans Day. The committee consists of 13 members, including five veterans.
Current or former Catskill military heroes will be honored on placards that include honorees’ names, photos, branch of service, and military conflicts in which they served.
The banner program is the brainchild of Andreessen, the captain of the American Legion Honeyford Post 110.
“I led that two and a half years ago, then the epidemic spread and we shut it down,” he said Thursday. “Now we’ve picked it up again and we’ll be ready to go.”
The commission installed the first officially approved sign in Catskill. The sign depicts Sgt. Anthony Pavlac, brother of former Greene County Sheriff Joseph Pavlac.
“That sign was put up that day in the city,” Andreessen said. “We’ve now installed it so people can see what the banners will look like and what information will be printed on them.”
Families or survivors of Catskill veterans can apply for signs by picking up application forms at the Green County Tourism Office near Catskill Exit 23 of New York State Thruway on Catskill Route 23 or visiting the Catskill website at www.townofcatskillny. gov
The Hero Banner programs began in Muscat through American Legion publications in Cairo and Hudson, and it was time for the town and village of Catskill to honor its veterans in the same way.
“The last Memorial Day parade in the Catskill was in 2014? Since then, Memorial Day celebrations have dwindled to the point where all we do is lay a wreath in the courtroom,” Andreessen said. “I think Catskill is losing its patriotism, so I wanted to start it and get it back.”
Andreessen said Green County legislator Matthew Lovera, R. Catskill, is overseeing the commission.
Sign requests will be reviewed by the commission and, if approved, sent to Gettysburg Flag Works in East Greenbush. Gettysburg will send a response to the committee, which will send the final approval to Gettysburg to proceed with the design and printing.
“We don’t know how many banners we’ll get,” Andreessen said. “We have 10 orders right now and will be sending them to Gettysburg Flag Works. We encourage people to get their orders now because creating a banner takes four to six weeks.”
Andreessen said applicants will have the option to change the look and content of their banners three times. The banners measure 2.5 feet by 5 feet and cost $195.
The entire project is funded by the people who buy the signs, the American Legion and the Green County Department of Veterans Services.
Each applicant must submit a photo of the respected veteran. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2023.
Andreessen said that veterans of all US military services are eligible to be depicted on the signs. The only restriction is that they must be from a Catskill town or village.
The committee’s co-chair, Joyce Andresen, said the National Catskill Committee was formed in part in response to the long absence of the Catskill Memorial Day rally.
“Because of that we decided that once our signage program was underway and successful, our next goal was to hold a Memorial Day parade in Catskill in 2023,” she said.
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