EAST STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – While driving through one part of the Poconos, you might notice several new banners on display.
Before hanging the banners, local officials had to decide where to put them. They were purposely placed throughout the Veteran’s Memorial Park, and greet drivers as they enter East Stroudsburg.
Michael Stettler has always looked up to his father, and this time is no different.
“Family and faith are very big with my father,” he says.
Elwood Stettler, Sr. is one of six East Stroudsburg natives featured on Hometown Hero banners. Each honors a military veteran, and most have passed away.
“Our hometown feel has kind of gone away. You know, locals are something of the past. At least we can honor the guys who volunteered to go into service or were drafted,” Stettler explains.
This is a partnership between the Eastburg Community Alliance and the East Stroudsburg Borough.
“I kept seeing them in other small towns and a couple people mentioned to me, why don’t we do that here?” says Susan Randall, who organized the banner project.
Elwood served as an Army specialist between 1958 and 1961. He spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and Anchorage, Alaska. Those are times he still talks about.
“He was very homesick. He was a hometown kind of guy, he doesn’t like to travel at all. But he did say that if he ever had a chance to go anywhere again, it would probably be Alaska. He really enjoyed his time there,” Stettler remarks.
Elwood is 82 years old now and he’s developing heath problems. But that wouldn’t stop him from traveling to see his banner in person.
“He thought it was pretty cool. It was neat,” Stettler smiles.
Elwood is more than a hometown hero. He’s Michael’s hero.
“He’s always been there for me,” he adds.
The goal is to update the banners every three years, to honor as many hometown heroes as possible.
Families paid $150 dollars per banner.
In addition, all of the worn-out ‘Welcome to East Stroudsburg’ banners throughout the borough were replaced for the first time in 17 years.