Hometown Heroes program honors service members from Schenectady

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Forty-five service men and women are being honored with personal banners to commemorate their service.

“He didn’t realize how big it was going to get,” Mark Watson said. “We pulled it over on him because I was the last person he expected to see here.”

Watson flew all the way from Washington State to surprise his dad, Chester Watson, at the unveiling of his personal banner honoring his military service. Both men are retired from the U.S. Navy.

The program is called Hometown Heroes, and it reunited Chester with all five of his kids for the first time in 10 years.

“It occurred to me when there was an insistence that I be here today, and I saw my middle daughter and grandson show up, which is somewhat unusual,” Chester said.

There will be 45 banners in total. The program honors Schenectady natives who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. Complete with active duty pictures, their personalized banners will be hung on State Street for everyone in the city to honor.

They’ll be hung from June 2 until just after Veteran’s Day.

“The families, the wives, the children are also serving,” Chester said. “I think it’s a tremendous thing that the DSIC and the city provide that degree of thanks to the families and to the people.”

“It’s just people’s loved ones stepping up to have them honored,” Schenectady City Council President Leesa Perazzo said. “And I have to be honest: Twice today I’ve had a little tear brought to my eye. Just the pride that people have in their family and their service to our country. It’s just very touching.”

Twenty-six banners are ready to be hung up. Nineteen banners still need to be created, and the city needs recommendations.

To nominate someone for a banner or to find a map of where certain banners will be located, CLICK HERE.

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