Hometown Heroes to be honored in Hudson


Hometown Heroes to be honored in Hudson
Other communities in the region have adopted the Hometown Hero program, including Northborough. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

HUDSON — Veterans who have honorably served their country and hailed from the town of Hudson will soon be recognized with placards on the town’s poles, thanks to a local project.

The Select Board heard from the Hometown Heroes Committee, which is comprised of Mark Vital, Jeanne Fondas, Diane Palmieri O’Connor and Veterans Director Brian Stearns, at their April 10 meeting.

Vital said that the Hudson would soon be able to celebrate their local veteran heroes.

 “We started meeting probably now eight months ago,” said Vital. “We had an amazing turnover from the start.”

He noted that people from the Elks organization and police and fire departments have expressed interest.

Vital said, “Everybody wanted to be a part of this exciting project.”

There have been some hurdles, like ownership of the poles where veterans’ photos will placed, he noted. The committee hopes to unveil the Hometown Heroes project this fall. 

Vital added, “That’s our goal.”

The plan is to use the research compiled by Fondas and O’Connor, who partnered with Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School. The idea is that a family can nominate a family member to Stearns, and then Stearns will verify whether the person is from Hudson and properly served.

To be considered, Fondas noted the requirements were currently that the nominee had resided in Hudson and served in one of the following military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Coast Guard. A nominee must also have been honorably discharged or died in the line of duty.

“At that time, he will forward the picture to Assabet,” Vital said. “And, then we’re going to put it on a placard … that looks similar to this one.”

Assabet Valley is making the pictures for nothing but the cost of materials, Fondas said. If they did it through a printing company, it could cost $50 a veteran.

Phase one is 100 veterans, similar to the effort in Marlborough. The poles will begin at the border of Marlborough on Route 85 and will work its way into Hudson along Washington to South Street. Another series will go from Broad Street all the way to South Street.

“We’ll do 100 vets, and then I’m sure every family in town and then some will want to be part of this exciting movement,” said Vital. 

There are 123 poles involved, which he believed was “almost perfect” for the first phase. 

The next phase will cover Central Street and not happen until next year, but Vital hopes to do a lot of publicity with the town website and social media.

Priority will go to war veterans who may already be memorialized downtown, notably veterans killed in action, and after covering those bases, he said, “the sky’s the limit.”

The last phase would likely cover the downtown area, noted Vital.

The committee also hopes to pursue becoming a non-profit in order to give businesses or sponsors a tax advantage.

“The Ad-Hoc Committee has done immense work. They’ve done all their due diligence,” said Stearns.

By due diligence, he noted they have met with Fire Chief Bryan Johannes regarding line-of-sight issues. The purpose is “to honor those who have served.”

Stearns said, “I’m just so proud that this committee did as much as they have done.”

Select Board Chair Scott Duplisea believed “this is absolutely fantastic.”

He added, “I actually had thought about it a while ago to talk to you.”

Duplisea asked how the committee is working with the light and power company on the location of banners. Stearns also noted there would be a spreadsheet noting what banners were posted where.

Of the task of putting up the banners, Vital said the Department of Public Works would be responsible.

Select board member Judy Congdon asked how people can donate to the Hometown Heroes Committee’s effort. Fondas said there is a sponsor form that will be on the town website as well as available at the Hudson Senior Center, Library and Town Hall.


Veterans invited to sign up for Hometown Heroes banner program

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