After a huge success in its first year, a program designed to pay tribute to local veterans is expanding.

Oneida County residents in Rome, New Hartford, Whitesboro and Utica will see the faces of local service members hung on large 30x60 banners from Memorial Day through Veterans Day. The Hometown Heroes program provides an opportunity to honor a family member or loved one  for their service to the country in any military branch, during combat or peacetime.

It started along the Memorial Parkway in Utica last year and organizers say they hoped to be able to honor 50 veterans. Nearly 200 banners were sold.

Hometown Heroes banner example

The cost is $150 and covers display of your Hometown Hero for three-years, including a their photo, military branch, and years of services and/or the name of the conflict they were involved in. After, they are presented to the veteran's family, officials explained.

Submissions are being accepted February 1 through March 31 at

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente was joined by leaders from New Hartford, Whitesboro and Rome to outline the expansion.


In addition to Hometown Heroes being displayed over Utica's Memorial Parkway, they'll also be seen over Route 825 running through Griffiss Park in Rome, and along Main Street and Clinton Street in Whitesboro. Both the town and village of New Hartford have also joined on and will post the banners along Genesee Street, Campion Road and Oneida Street, officials said.

The program was launched in January of last year by Mischael McKenna, a member of the Oneida Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The effort came to fruition with collaboration by the Oneida Chapter NSDAR, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 944 and the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 490.

Future expansion of the program in Oneida County may include Camden, Waterville and Boonville, among others, officials said.

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