CALIFORNIA – U.S. Army 1st Lt. Joseph Sinclair, who is serving in Afghanistan, said he received a morale boost when someone sent him a photograph of a new banner honoring him at California University of Pennsylvania.
“It really made my day,” said the 2012 Cal U. graduate during a phone call he placed Monday that was played live over loudspeakers during dedication services for his and 32 other such banners on the campus.
“Your genuine care is definitely unparalleled,” Sinclair said in his brief comments.
The Cal U. Office of Veterans Affairs reached out to the community to sponsor the lamp post banners saluting veterans with ties to the campus, university spokeswoman Christine Kindle said. The banners cost $70 apiece, and they will be on display throughout November and then stored for reuse this time next year.
Pam DelVerne, director of technology services at the school’s Student Association Inc., sponsored one for her late father, Cpl. John C. Mikeo of Brownsville, who served in World War II. It hangs outside the student union at a time when DelVerne’s daughter, Kathryn, is a student at the school.
“It enables my daughter and me to see my dad every morning,” said DelVerne of Denbeau Heights.
Cal U. interim President Geraldine Jones said each of the banners “honors someone special.”
“The display is deeply personal,” Jones said during the dedication service.
Pennsylvania Army National Guard Capt. Robert Prah, who is director of veterans affairs at Cal U., said another campaign to add to the number of banners will begin in January.
He said the first one visitors to the campus see at its entrance pays tribute to Kerrie G. Gill of California. Gill was Veterans Club president at Cal U., where he earned two degrees. He served in the Army during the Korean War.
Prah said the university is especially proud of Gill because he was elected to the important post of Pennsylvania American Legion department commander, serving in that role from 2001-12.
“For us in little California, that’s awesome,” Prah said.