Hometown Hero program applications open


Franklin Square residents can honor their local heroes during this year’s Franklin Square Civic Association Hometown Hero Banner Program.

Banners can honor a local hero who has either served in the military, as a first responder or healthcare worker through the program. The project started in 2019 when the civic association’s board looked into the program after seeing it presented in communities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

FSCA Hometown Hero Program Coordinator Adrienne McKenna said since its implementation, the program has taken off with 80 military service members and 17 first responders honored.

“We’ve really received wonderful feedback on it,” McKenna said of the community’s reception for the project. “They’re very proud that we’re doing it.”

In 2021, the civic association expanded the program to include first responders and healthcare workers following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“People were really appreciative of all of their efforts,” McKenna said.

The first responders and healthcare worker banners are hung on lamp posts at Rath Park between Fenworth Boulevard and Naple Avenue, though some veterans’ banners are hung at Rath Park per request. Military service members’ banners are hung on lamp posts near Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2718, on Lincoln Road, between Hempstead Turnpike and Roosevelt Avenue.

Honoring heroes close to home is something McKenna believes brings a “small community feel” to Franklin Square.

Sponsors can choose to honor a hometown hero—an individual who has lived in or still resides in Franklin Square. They can also sponsor an honored hero to recognize the contributions of a military or first responder hero who may not reside, or who may never have resided, in Franklin Square. The honored hero’s sponsor must live in Franklin Square.

“We kind of expanded it because we received so many requests for it, and we hated to turn people away,” McKenna explained. After numerous requests, the program expanded to include honored heroes in 2022.

McKenna honored her father, James Costas, who served in the Army during World War II with a banner. While her father wasn’t able to see his banner as he died in 2006, she feels it is a privilege to honor his service and others in the community.

MaryAnne Grey, an executive director of the FSCA, sponsored a banner when the program started in 2019 for her father Joseph Muscarello, a World War II Army veteran.

Muscarello was a Franklin Square resident since the early 1950s, and saw his banner hung outside the VFW Post 2718 on his 98th birthday, June 5, 2019. He died on Dec. 12, 2020, but the memory of bringing him to see the banner remains a special moment for Grey.

“It really brought a lot of memories back for him, from the war, and his friendships from that time,” Grey said. “So, you know, it was just a really special event for me and the rest of our family.”

The banner program brings a great sense of pride for community and country to Grey each year.

“Seeing people over the years, that I’ve come to know, come up there and see their family, their father’s, brother’s, son’s banner hung up is just—it’s a really special and emotional time,” Grey said. “It’s a very heartwarming feeling for the community.”

Applications to sponsor a hero can be mailed with a completed application, high-resolution photo of the honored individual in uniform where applicable, and a $135 check payable to the Franklin Square Civic Association. Once purchased, the banner will be hung from Memorial Day to Veteran’s Day 2024 before being returned to the sponsor in late fall after display. The banner will be eligible to be hung for the 2025 program as well.

The application form can be found online at Bit.ly/FSCAHometownHeroes.

The sponsor needs to include the hero’s name and their years of service. For military heroes, sponsors will be asked to include a war or conflict their hero has served, indicate whether they are a member of VFW Post 2718 in Franklin Square, if they are a Purple Heart recipient and if they were a prisoner of war. Banners are available for purchase through March 31.

For neighbors who would like to support the program but don’t have a specific hero to honor, sponsors can fill out the application form and check off the “sponsor only” box to donate any amount they wish to contribute.

Any inquiries for the program can be forwarded to McKenna at hometownheroes@fsqcivic.org or call (516) 592-3405.