By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Northborough – Plans are underway to publicly honor Northborough’s service members of the U.S. Armed Forces. The honorees can include living or deceased veterans and active service members who reside or had resided in Northborough.
The Northborough Hometown Heroes banner program is the most recent in a series of projects conducted since 2015 by the Boros Cares 4 Troops (BC4T) founders: Northborough residents Leslie Arsenault, Karen Brewster, Beth Davison and Michelle Gillespie. (Arsenault’s son, Army Spc. Brian K. Arsenault, was killed in action in Afghanistan at age 28 in 2014.)
The project was discussed among the founders after Gillespie saw similar banners displayed on light poles in a nearby town.
“I noticed banners on display in Bolton and brought the idea back to the committee,” she explained. “We’re really excited to recognize our veterans in the community.”
The Hometown Heroes banners will be displayed on the light poles along Route 20 that are equipped with brackets to hold Applefest banners, noted Gillespie, who also serves as Applefest chair.
“The veteran banners are going up Nov. 1 and they’ll come down just before winter starts,” she said. “We have about 50 Applefest banners, so those brackets are already there. Our goal next year is to try to reach 100 veteran banners. If we exceed 100, then we’ll consider adding secondary roads or rotate the banners every other year. This will grow over the years.”
As an introduction to the program, BC4T contacted military veterans over age 70 who had received care packages from them during the pandemic stay-at-home advisory from May to the July 4th weekend. BC4T also plans to reac h out to the town’s senior center and historical society in search of veterans.
BC4T hopes to expand the program in the future beyond Northborough and collaborate with Marlborough, where displays of Hometown Heroes banners began last year.
“Although BC4T seems hyper-focused on Northborough, we’ve also done projects with veterans in other communities,” Gillespie noted. “It would be a really powerful message to our veterans if they could see these banners as you drive from Marlborough through Northborough and Shrewsbury. Once this program is successful in a year or two, then we can assist our neighboring communities like Marlborough and Shrewsbury, as well as Westborough and Southborough.”
There’s no charge to participate in this banners program. BC4T is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is accepting donations toward the project.
The cost for BC4T averages $300 per banner to pay for the design, print, production and installations by the DPW with police detail, Gillespie explained.
“When we exceed 50 veteran banners, then we’ll need to buy more brackets for the poles,” she added. “A lot of people seem to want to donate to the program, regardless of whether they’re affiliated with a veteran or not.”
Anyone interested in participating in the banners program can complete a request form available online at BC4T.org. Send the form and a service photo to BC4T, P.O. Box 304, Northborough, MA 01532. BC4T will scan and return photos. A sample draft of the banner will be emailed.
Donations can be made online or by postal mail. Make checks payable to “Boros Cares 4 Troops” and note “Hometown Heroes Program” as a memo.