We are very proud to announce that four Gull Creek residents are being honored as part of this year’s Hometown Hero Banner Program at the Ocean City Firefighters 9/11 Memorial.
Ocean City Elks Lodge #2645 launched the Hometown Hero program in 2014 to honor local active service members by hanging banners with their photos on street lights on the Ocean City boardwalk. Elks Lodge Veterans Committee member Pat Riordan came up with the idea for the program after seeing a similar display in Temecula, California a few years back.
The program has been so popular that this year it was doubled in size from 20 banners to 40, with the inclusion of World War II veterans from the resort area. The banners honor 16 active service men and women and 24 living World War II veterans.
“We’ve expanded the program this year to honor living World War II veterans,” Riordan told the Maryland Coast Dispatch. “We felt it was important to honor these World War II veterans while they’re still with us.”
The four Gull Creek residents who were honored are:
Elmer Muth: Quartermaster Second Class, U.S. Navy, WWII
Thomas Howarth: Mate First Class, U.S. Navy, WWII
Kenneth Tyler, Sr.: Fire Controlman Third Class, U.S. Navy, WWII
John Sauer: Private First Class, U.S. Army Air Corps, WWII
The banners went up after the dedication ceremony on May 5 and they will remain on the boardwalk until the fall. Many Gull Creek residents attended the special ceremony held at the Fireman’s Memorial on the Boardwalk at North Division Street on Thursday.
“The banners this year will honor not only those who are currently serving our country but also those that have served in the past, and we’ve expanded the area in which they will be displayed,” Mayor Rick Meehan told the Maryland Coast Dispatch during a meeting on the new program.
The banners are five-feet tall and include each service members’ name, rank and military photo (some of which were hard to track down). But Riordan doesn’t want to stop after this year. “We want to honor all of our living veterans,” he said. “Once we work through our living World War II veterans, the long-term plan is to start working on our Korean War and Vietnam veterans.”