Honoring Our Hometown Heroes

Hometown HeroesBy Emily Fedor

Sitting behind the wheel. Stopped at a red light. It’s something the majority of us do every day multiple times a day.

Most of the time, nothing comes of it. The light turns green and off we go.

But a little over a year ago, Michelle Mecca, a Dunmore resident, found herself stopped at a red light in Dickson City, and she didn’t just take off. She took a moment to look up and saw beautiful banners dressing the streets. On each: The photo of a hero.

“They had just put up their banners,” said Mecca, “and I thought, what a wonderful idea.”

Mecca contacted borough council and eventually found herself at a council meeting, making a pitch to get new banners made featuring Bucktown’s own hometown heroes.

“I thought driving through town and being able to see your loved ones face would bring so much comfort and joy to people,” said Mecca. “…if you are running errands and stop somewhere and see your father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt whoever is close to you looking down from a banner, that would bring some piece of mind to you. Hopefully brighten your day. Hopefully make you proud.”

“As council, we all said it would be a great idea,” said borough councilman Vince Amico. “We voted unanimously for the project to go forward.”

From there, Mecca and Amico met with other borough officials, including borough manager Vito Ruggerio and councilwoman Carol Scrimalli, to iron out all the details and put together an application.

dsc_0738.jpgOver the past few months, dozens and dozens of Dunmoreans have submitted applications along with photographs of their loved ones who have served in our armed forces. Those photos will now hang proudly throughout our borough along Wheeler Avenue, East and West Drinker, North and South Blakely, Electric and West Warren Streets

“This project and the overwhelming response exceeded our expectations in every way,“ said Mecca. “[The people of] Dunmore always put their whole hearts into something, and this was no exception.”

Both Mecca and borough officials would like to thank the Dunmore DPW workers for hanging all the banners, as well as those at Jaworski Sign Company for their involvement in making this project a success.

For those interested in sponsoring a hometown hero banner, applications are currently still being taken. Forms are available at the Dunmore borough building or online at http://dunmorepa.gov/community/hometown-heroes-application/.

There is no deadline to submit applications. However, time is still a factor. Borough officials tell the Dunmorean there are a limited number of spots available. So any outstanding applications should be submitted as soon as possible.

“We’re at about 250 now,” said Amico. “Based on the locations that we as council decided would be the best places for them…we have room for approximately 40 to 50 more. Once those spots are taken, we’re at capacity for lack of a better term.”

DSC_0735Councilman Amico tells the Dunmorean he is honored to be a part of this project honoring our hometown heroes. Mecca seconds that sentiment.

“It means a lot to me,” said Amico. “I’m a veteran myself…and it’s amazing to see all these people who have served before you. I still get choked up when I look up and see all these people who have served from our community.”

“Being a part of this project has forever left a lasting mark on my heart,” said Mecca.

“Seeing everyone come together to support this project, working together, helping people, and caring about each other is what life is all about, and I think Dunmoreans do that the best.”


Dunmorean Publishes Book on Fallen Military Members

bookJason Amico of Adams Avenue, Dunmore, has published a book entitled “Lackawanna County’s Fallen 56: The Stories of the 56 Military Personnel Killed or Missing During the Vietnam War.”

His book studies the lives, military careers, and deaths of the 56 servicemen from Lackawanna County who fell in Vietnam, five of whom were from Dunmore.

The Dunmore fallen heroes include Anthony Battista, Carol Ann Drazba, Tommy Malloy, Karl Rynearson, and Thomas Wharton.

One of the stories involves Malloy, a tall, fun-loving jokester. After a brief stint in college failed, Tommy did some soul searching and eventually turned to the military. Soon after his enlistment, he was sent to Vietnam where he was killed while trying to assist a wounded comrade during an attach.

“I became interested in this topic while walking in Dunmore Cemetery and I stumbled upon the grave of Sgt. John Henry Wilson of Scranton. This led to a search for all from the county that fell overseas,” explains Mr. Amico.. “I was never in the military, although family members were., and I decided to write this book to keep the stories of these 56 heroes alive.”

Amico received a  bachelor degree at Penn State University and a masters degree in history at the University of Scranton. Currently, he works for Scranton School District. In the past, he has worked for the National Park Service, Pennsylvania State Archives, and the National Archives.

In his  free time, Amico likes to read, spend time with his  dog, and workout.

Books are available only through Amico at 570-877-7847 or JAmico33@yahoo.com.

Holy Cross Student Excels in Voice Of Democracy Essay Competition



Holy Cross sophomore Hannah Carr recently won the Voice of Democracy Audio/Essay Scholarship Competition.

She was selected as first place winner at the Post Level 3474 and then advanced and won first place for District Level #10.

Subsequently, Hannah represented District 10 in Pittsburgh and placed sixth in the state of Pennsylvania.