Woman inspired by family’s military service to honor veterans
MONTGOMERY – A notable woman who is furthering the cause of service and making history for her community is Montgomery resident Fae Herb.
For the past five years, Montgomery has proudly commemorated the service of its armed forces and veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice in the form of Hometown Hero banners. The banner includes the photo, name, era they served, and the name of the person or people who sponsored the banner. The bulk of the work of Montgomery’s Hometown Hero banners project is done by Herb who volunteers her time to run the program.
Montgomery’s Hometown Hero banner project is unique because every other community in Lycoming County hangs their banners in Williamsport. The idea of keeping Montgomery’s banners in town was the result of the former Revitalize Montgomery organization that wanted to “spruce up” Main Street. The majority of the banners hang on Main Street and Montgomery Street which are not only two of the most traveled streets in town, but they are also on the route of the annual 9/11 Run which is based out of the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company Hall. The banners were also proudly on display when the Lycoming County Veterans Day Parade was held in Montgomery in 2016.
Fae says it’s an honor for her to be able to run the program. Her love for the Hometown Hero banners is inspired by her own family’s military history. Her father, J. Frank Stout, served in the Army during the Korean War. All three of her brothers also served. Tom and Larry Stout were both in the Air Force and Gene Stout retired from the Army. Her late husband Lester Herb served in the Army, and her son T.J. Herb served overseas in the Marine Corps.
The Hometown Hero banners are a perpetual project for Fae Herb. Every year there is a period of several months for people to place an order for the banner. While Fae does much of the work to organize the program and handle the orders, Montgomery Borough hangs the banners when they arrive. The banners are hung for one year and then taken down and cleaned. The people who sponsor the banners have the option of having them re-hung or keeping them. The banners are guaranteed for one year. Fae sends a personalized thank you note to the people who sponsor the banners.
When new banners arrive, Fae loves showing them to the families who sponsored them. She says it’s overwhelming to the see the banners hanging and the family members are often deeply touched when they first see them. She says the banners bring a sense of family to those who see the photos of their relatives on display. While most of Montgomery’s service members survived, some made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Fae said that seeing banners of those that died during war, or those veterans who have since passed on, create a bond for their family members who live on.
In addition to running the Hometown Hero banners program, Fae serves on the Montgomery Borough Council and is a member of the Montgomery Area Historical Society.