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Motto

Project History

Oldest items are at the bottom, newest at the top.


Update 6/25/09

Berks County is the latest county to erect banners.


Update 9/14/08

Montgomery County has erected banners to memorialize their fallen service members.


Update 10/22/07

A Vietnam era Gold Star Mother approached me recently to display a picture of her son on our web site With no good reason not to do so, my project has grown another branch. See the Vietnam Memorial Web Pages under the Banner Projects button on the menu. If you are a family member of someone fallen from any of our nation's conflicts contact me if you would like me to put up a page for your loved one. You must be close kin and able to give me permission to use your photos and information.


Update 10/10/07

The latest addition is a banner project in Doylestown, to display banners of the Bucks County fallen in the War Memorial area at the intersection of North Main St and East Court St. A dedication ceremony will be held on October 19, 2007 at 10 am. All are invited. See the Doylestown banners pages.


Update 5/12/07

Our Awareness Ceremony was held with beautiful weather and over 400 family members in attendance. Details and photos on the Opening Ceremony page.


Update 4/23/07

The Awareness Ceremony for the PA Hometown Heroes is planned for
May 12, 2 pm at Soldiers Grove (the red X on the map below) at the State Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA.

The program will be approximately 90 minutes. Plan time to walk before or after the ceremony to view the banners.

Driving directions:

FROM Route 81: Take the Cameron Street Exit
Follow Cameron Street to
Right onto Herr Street to
Left onto Seventh Street
Bear right onto Forster Street to first light
Left onto Commonwealth Avenue to fountain on right

FROM Route 83: Take the Second Street Exit
Follow Second Street to
Right onto Forster Street to
Right onto Commonwealth Avenue to fountain on right.

There are several parking garages in the area, shown as P1 - P5 on the map above.

Accommodations:

THE CROWNE PLAZA HARRISBURG HOTEL
23 South Second Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
717-234-5021

Convenient and welcoming, in the heart of downtown Harrisburg; 261 rooms, indoor pool, fitness center, restaurant & lounge. Walk to "Restaurant Row", the Susquehanna River, City Island, IMAX.

Special Gold Star Family rate $112 plus 9% tax Deadline April 27th

IMPORTANT RSVP

I need you to return the postcard in this mailing ASAP, listing the names of your family members planning to attend this event. There will be a nametag identifying you as a Pennsylvania Gold Star Family at the registration table. While everyone, Gold Star Family members and the public, is invited to attend, I will only have name tags for those that respond. Please do not delay on this so I can have them ready for you on May 12.

Final deadline for photos and confirmation sheets is March 31st. I cannot proceed with your banner if I do not get the photo of your loved one.

If you have any questions contact me (contact info at the left).

Thanks to all of you.

Ruth Stonesifer


More Info on May 12

We have over 400 family members attending the May 12 Awareness Ceremony in Harrisburg. To help with the logistics, here are some points.

On Friday for those staying at the Crown Plaza or live in the area, you can pick up your name tags on the second floor lobby area between 4 and 5 pm. This is a great time to meet the Gold Star Families. We can walk down the street to the HDID office around 5 pm to pick up our maps and get ready to preview the banners.

There will be some media coverage at the HDID. If you prefer not to participate, that is fine, just get your map and take off to find your loved one’s banner. The media has been invited to cover the Banners project and your input on what they mean to you is very valuable. This will help get the public interested in coming to the event the next day. As stated before this project ever got off the ground, It’s about the Soldier not the War.

We can meet up later for dinner and drink a Guinness (My son’s favorite beer that I have actually grown to love.) at Molly’s just down the block from the Hilton.

It has been my experience meeting and sharing our stories with those who understand is very beneficial. I hope you will be able to take advantage of the opportunity. Even if you come late to any of the above, you’ll be able to recognize us as the Gold Star Families, our nametags look like the banners.

Some pointers for Saturday May 12.

There are many parking garages located in an around the Capital complex.

The location of the ceremony is Soldiers Grove, directly east of the main Capitol Building.

Around NOON, we will have the information booth set up on Constitution Ave. That is where you can come get your name tags.

NAMETAGS will be grouped by the Soldier’s LAST NAME, packaged in a plastic bag for ease of distribution. Just one family member needs to take on the responsibility to distribute to the rest of your family and friends. Some of you have about 20 in a bag so be sure you appoint a name tag Captain who know who all the players are, (Just kidding).

These tags are MAGNETIC so if there is someone in your family with a PACEMAKER let me know ahead of time so I can switch to a pin back.

Again coming a little earlier than 2 pm, you can get meet the rest of the families.

Restrooms are available in the Library just across the street on the south side.

SUN SCREEN, HATS and SUNGLASSES are a MUST. The audience faces the Capital so you will be facing West in the Afternoon. A bottle or two of water might also be helpful if it is a really hot day.

The program will last approximately 90 minutes.

The Governor has accepted my invitation to come and speak. We are very honored for him to take time out of his busy schedule.

Afterward there will be a small reception by the fountain.

I hate to mention the R word. But if there is a huge down pour, the Ceremony will move to the History Museum on the North side of the Capitol. There is very limited seating. But hopefully in your prayers, you will be calling upon our son and daughter angels to help us with some perfect weather.

If you have any questions, call me or email me and I will get back to you.

Remember to check the website for addition information.

www.pahometownheroes.org

If you have not done so, please RSVP soon so I can get your nametags prepared in advance.


Ruth


Update 4/19/07

We've added a page where all the Pennsylvania Heroes are listed, not just those participating in the banner program. Click on this All Heroes link or the one above.


Update 4/10/07

Nearly all the pages have been uploaded to the web site. We have only 2 or 3 more that have not yet been done. If you're a family member please check the page of your loved one and let us know right away if there are any problems. The banners are being printed now.


Update 3/27/07

We've had a major reorganization of our web site. The latest news will appear on this page. Previous news items can be found under History.

The Heroes link above will take you to separate pages for each of the service members that will appear on the banners in Harrisburg. If you're a family member you can see the banner on these pages.

We're not finished yet but if you see anything that needs to be corrected contact me (contact info at the bottom of the left column). It's not too late to sponsor a banner but it's getting close.


Update 3/21/07

Dear Gold Star Family members,

The Awareness Ceremony for the PA Hometown Heroes is planned for
May 12, 2 pm at Soldiers Grove (the red X on the map below) at the State Capitol Building, Harrisburg, PA.

The program will be approximately 90 minutes. Plan time to walk before or after the ceremony to view the banners.

 

 

Driving directions:

FROM Route 81: Take the Cameron Street Exit
Follow Cameron Street to
Right onto Herr Street to
Left onto Seventh Street
Bear right onto Forster Street to first light
Left onto Commonwealth Avenue to fountain on right

FROM Route 83: Take the Second Street Exit
Follow Second Street to
Right onto Forster Street to
Right onto Commonwealth Avenue to fountain on right.

There are several parking garages in the area, shown as P1 - P5 on the map above.

Accommodations:

THE CROWNE PLAZA HARRISBURG HOTEL
23 South Second Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
717-234-5021

Convenient and welcoming, in the heart of downtown Harrisburg; 261 rooms, indoor pool, fitness center, restaurant & lounge. Walk to "Restaurant Row", the Susquehanna River, City Island, IMAX.

Special Gold Star Family rate $112 plus 9% tax Deadline April 27th

IMPORTANT RSVP

I need you to return the postcard in this mailing ASAP, listing the names of your family members planning to attend this event. There will be a nametag identifying you as a Pennsylvania Gold Star Family at the registration table. While everyone, Gold Star Family members and the public, is invited to attend, I will only have name tags for those that respond. Please do not delay on this so I can have them ready for you on May 12.

Final deadline for photos and confirmation sheets is March 31st. I cannot proceed with your banner if I do not get the photo of your loved one.

If you have any questions contact me (contact info at the left).

Thanks to all of you.

Ruth Stonesifer


Update 3/8/07

Hello to the Gold Star Families of PA,

I thought I would give you a status report on the PA HOMETOWN HEROES Banners. Out of the 175 PA families, 124 have decided to participate in our program for the State Capital this summer.

The Downtown Improvement District and I have been canvassing just about everyone we can think of to fund the banners. As of March 7th , we have half of the banners covered. I thank you for all your individual efforts but I need one last favor from you.

Milissa at DID has already sent a letter to each Pennsylvania Senator and Representative requesting they use some of their “Walking around money”. These are funds set aside in their budgets to fund community projects. And that is exactly what we are.

However, a COLD letter is never as effective as a personal plea from a Gold Star Family or Veteran’s Organization

Now is the time for the final push to get all the banners funded for all the participating families. Please call your State Senator and Representative to get them to step up to the plate and contribute to our Heroes tribute.

You can go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/ to find out who your reps are. You will need your zip+4 code which you can find at http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp. They should already know about the campaign so it is not a total cold call. And if you can get your friends and family to bombard them it would be great.

Please don’t delay, we are almost there. Be sure to leave the following information with them.


Milissa Barrick
Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District
717-236-9762 X101

Thank you,
Ruth Stonesifer


Update 2/12/07

PLEASE READ FIRST before completing the confirmation form.

Thank you for your interest in the PA Hometown Heroes Banner campaign for this year. The response was overwhelming. And the community interest in sponsoring the tribute has been heart warming.

The information about your loved one on the next page of this mailing must be checked for spelling mistakes and accuracy of the details. Please help me to get it right before the information is sent off to the printer and in final form on the banner

Please mail back at least TWO but no more than THREE photos of your loved one. Larger is better if they are prints. I prefer DUPLICATES not originals. (While I will do my best to return all photos to you, I do not want Murphy’s Law to rear its ugly head and have something horrible happen to your only copy of a special photo.) The printer needs a choice, since some photos reproduce better than others. I will keep them in a safe place and mail them back to you after the opening ceremony.

If you are computer savvy and can do the scan yourself, scan at 300 dpi in a one to one ratio then e-mail back to me at the address at the bottom of the left column. In the body of the email be sure to identity your loved one and/or label the files as to first choice second choice, etc. Example: Stonesifer_ Kris_1.jpg.
We have several soldiers with the same last names so please use both a last and first name in your naming of the files.

Even though you are emailing me the photos and your 25 word paragraph, I still need you to sign the confirmation sheet and list any corrections, so I have a record of your permission to use the material.

Please DO NOT DELAY. I need this information and the pictures back as soon as possible. I have to get every thing scanned and to the printer to make our deadlines. There are only 100 poles that the DID has at their disposal. But there are alternative plans to have more banners in the Strawberry Mall in downtown. And we are still looking for more poles. At last count there are 176 PA Fallen Heroes.

My goal is to have everyone who wants to participate in this tribute to our sons and daughter to have a spot in our State’s Capital. The families will not and never will be asked to pay any money for this campaign, but if you know of some businesses in your communities that would be willing to step up to help, please give them one of these flyers. I know my boss is going to get one next week. Private donation of any amount will also be welcomed and combined with others to help sponsor a soldier. (IF you gave me an email address, you already got this flyer)
Thank you so much for wanting to participate in this tribute. There will be an opening ceremony. An invitation will follow when more details are worked out, however for now please reserve this date, May 12, to come to Harrisburg.

At the end of the summer, we will have another gathering and present the banners to the families as a keepsake.

Ruth Stonesifer

Note:
The confirmation form referred to was a letter, sent to each family, with the details I have about their loved one. They are to verify the details, sign the letter and return the information to me.


Update 2/1/07

To all the Gold Star Families,

I wanted to give you an update on the PA Hometown Heroes Banner Campaign. Things are moving along nicely with the program. Tomorrow, Feb 2, an article about the effort will be published in the Patriot News in Harrisburg. It is an appeal for sponsorship of the banners.

A related article is at PennLive.com, about half way down the page. Look for the banner.

I have attached the PDF that details what is involved in a sponsorship. If you know of a business or a private individual who would like to help in these regards, you are welcome to print the flyer out or send electronically to potential donors.

As a side note we do know that “heroes” is misspelled in the prototype and has been corrected for the newspaper release for tomorrow.

I will be sending out a confirmation letter to the Gold Star Families in the regular mail in about two weeks.

But some things you should set aside are:

  1. TWO pictures of your loved one. (Some photos do not reproduce well, so the printer would like to have two choices.) I will have further instructions on this when the printer gets back to me on the details of the scan and size he needs.
  2. A short statement about your loved one for the MAP/ PROGRAM to accompany the exhibit. About 25 words describing your loved one, what they like to do, goals, a unique quality. I know this will be hard to do in 25 words but there is only so much room on the program.
  3. Then there will be a space where you will confirm the information about your loved one that is printed on the release form. So that all the spellings are correct, finally a signature that we have permission to reproduce the photograph.

There are only 100 poles that the DID has at their disposal. But there are alternative plans to have more banners in other downtown locations. And we are still looking for more poles. At last count there are 176 PA Fallen Heroes.

My goal is to have everyone who wants to participate in this tribute to our sons and daughter to have a spot in our State’s Capital. The families will not and never will be asked to pay any money for this campaign, but if you know of some businesses in your communities that would be willing to step up to help, please give them one of these flyers that is attached to this email. I know my boss is going to get one next week.

Private donation of any amount will also be welcomed and combined with others to help sponsor a soldier.

There will be an opening ceremony Saturday MAY 12th. Details will follow but please reserve that day for the Gold Star Families to gather in Harrisburg. We hope to have a closing gathering and the banners will be presented to the Gold Star families as a keepsake.

Please call or write if you have further question. All forms of sponsorship should go directly to Milissa at DID in Harrisburg. The address is printed at the bottom of the flyer.

Ruth Stonesifer


Update 12/25/06

I've included some pictures of the signing ceremony for the Gold Star Family License Plate with Gov Rendell on Oct 4 2006. This was the first of my "awareness" projects. I hope the banner program will bring more awareness of the sacrifices our service members are making and have made through the years.


Update 12/9/06

The response to my letter has been overwhelming to say the least. We will most likely have more requests than we have light poles so we will honor requests in the order I received them. In the meantime I'm looking for more poles but I'm not hopeful.


 

  Honoring those who have fallen
  in the line of duty




November 19, 2006

To the Gold Star Families of Pennsylvania,

Plans are coming together for a banner campaign in our Capital, Harrisburg to honor Pennsylvania’s Fallen Heroes. I have been working with the Downtown Improvement District, the Mayor’s office, and my local State Senator to make this event happen. The mission is to honor our loved ones who have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and the Global War on Terror.

Each PA HOMETOWN HEROES banner will feature a soldier who has paid the ultimate sacrifice, along with their name, rank and military branch, age, hometown, date and location of his or her death, and unit. The 4 by 8 foot all weather vinyl banners will hang from the lighting poles in downtown Harrisburg from April to the end of October 2007.

This is not a political statement. Instead it is a way for us to honor our fallen and to remind our fellow countrymen that Freedom comes with a price tag. We, as Gold Star family members know this all too well.

Please fill out the enclosed postcard and reserve a banner for your loved one AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. A headcount is needed in the next two weeks to procure the appropriate funding for the project. There is no cost to you, but we will need your permission and information about your loved one at a later date.

More information about this project will be sent to you in December. But for now I need to get a tentative count on how many banners we need to fund.

Thank you and again I am so sorry for your loss.

Ruth Stonesifer
www.rstonesifer.com/kris

Proud Gold Star Mother of Kristofor Stonesifer
Dept of PA President of American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
www.goldstarmoms.com

P.S. If you know of another Gold Star Family and they have not receive this letter. Please pass the word along. I would love to have 100 percent participation. As of this date there are 164 Pennsylvanians who have made the supreme sacrifice.