Hometown Heroes History
Our little veteran’s honoring program, Hometown Heroes, started out back in 2017 when our executive director Ken Lebbon was driving through the small town of Bath, NY with his family. While passing through the town, Ken noticed various banners with the pictures, names, and other information about veterans from that town. After doing a bit more driving and extensive research, he discovered that a staggering number of towns in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, even as far as Oklahoma had similar programs honoring the heroes hailing from their cities and towns. So, under the umbrella of CURES for Chester, he worked diligently to bring that program right here to Chester, South Carolina. The idea was to bring the community together in honoring and remembering those who served fearlessly, some of whom paid the ultimate price for our continued liberty and freedom.
Upon catching wind of the program in its infancy, The News and Reporter Newspaper was quick to lend assistance, even going as far as to provide a place for applications to be turned in. In the beginning, the applications were distributed by Facebook, word of mouth, and even chasing down those who wore veteran hats to give them an application. Now we have a way to apply right online making the process considerably easier and more streamlined. Finally, in April of 2018, after distributing many applications, we had enough information to make our first run of about 50 banners to hang here in Chester. CURES for Chester, along with the two main sponsors for the project at the time, First Citizens Bank and the Chester Wastewater Recovery, had the design ready and were poised to print and hang the first run of banners.
Working closely with the Boy Scout troop sponsored by the ARP Church, our project was supported by a very driven Life scout by the name of Andrew Griggs who wanted to take it on as his Eagle project. He addressed city council and moved them to allow the display of our banners, marking the first time the project was able to reach full realization. Once again in 2019, there were several issues with scheduling and printing which harbored several disparaging emails and dirty comments, but we learned much from those two years which has helped us now. Currently these banners are on the city banner calendar with a specified place and time they can be hung in remembrance and recognition of these heroes.
Now, with a dedicated date for hanging our banners and an established database, our project is in full swing and just ending our fifth year. We thank our veterans who come from our very own Chester, and we think that this program is a fantastic way to show that we care and honor them. We could not have gotten this project any further than the mind of Ken without the support and help from several organizations and people throughout Chester, and we wish to thank them for their contributions. Today, our program still runs, but faces new difficulties.
First, we need individuals to add to our ever-expanding database of veterans so that they too may be honored with a banner and recognition of their honorable service to the country and fellow citizens.
We also need contributions to continue having these brave souls presented in this form to the public. As such, we now ask for a donation, hopefully around $100, when submitting this application for the program. However, as the main purpose is to recognize these brave men and women, and to bring our community together, if the donation cannot be made it will hold no bearing on the validity of the application. For this reason, we also ask for donations from our community to help bring these banners to the public every year. If you would like to contribute time or money to this program, or any of our other extensive programs helping Chester city, please consider clicking below for our volunteer form or donation page.