The Story by Lohud:
Suffern Salutes Veterans with Banner Program.
SUFFERN - Amanda Arroyo said it wasn't unusual for people to look up to her husband, Brandon, who is deployed overseas in the U.S. Air Force.
So it was an easy decision for her to get Brandon Arroyo to participate in a new program that will feature photos of him, along with other village veterans, on tribute banners hung from lampposts along Lafayette Avenue. That way, residents strolling on the main business boulevard will be able to look up and see his image all summer long.
“He’s a state trooper when he’s not in the Air Force, and I think he’s a great role model. I think a lot of kids look up to him,” said Amanda Arroyo on a late March morning while standing near the lamppost where his banner will be placed.
Lifelong resident Amanda Arroyo, 27, was joined that morning by Aurelius Licata, president of the Greater Suffern Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Ed Markunas, and resident Marie Anaya, whose late husband was also in the armed forces.
The group stood below the Lafayette Theatre's marquee on Friday to talk about the new banner program that will pay tribute to local veterans.
The individual banners will hang from 40 lampposts on Lafayette Avenue, similar to the seasonal lamppost banners that are placed in the business district throughout the year, said Licata, who owns a eponymous insurance business in the village.
The banners, which are similar to those now hanging in Clarkstown, will feature a photo of the veteran, his or her name and service branch, as well as dates of service.
“I believe Suffern is a special place and we really wanted to honor our veterans and our citizens that are from our area,” Licata said. “And I don’t think there’s enough going on for veterans in our country. They are special people and we want to show our appreciation.”
The banners will be hung in time for a village ceremony celebrating Armed Services Day on May 20. The program is a collaboration between the village and Greater Suffern Chamber of Commerce.
Markunas, who served in the Coast Guard and National Guard, said two of his relatives will be featured on banners.
The mayor said the program will be a learning tool for children “to recognize veterans and the importance that they serve and how they serve our country.”
Amanda Arroyo said her husband is a 10-year veteran in the Air Force, and is currently in the Middle East — his third deployment. He is expected home next month.
“They sacrifice so much and I think it’s so nice, especially because it’s our hometown and we grew up here,” she said.
Anaya of Airmont was holding the banner featuring a photo of her husband, Calixto Anaya Jr., that will be placed on another lamppost near the theater.
Marie Anaya said her husband, whom she called Charlie, was in the Marines for 16 years. He died while serving as a New York City firefighter in the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. He was 35.
Her husband's banner will be placed at the lamppost on the corner of Lafayette and Washington avenues — located near the Memorial Triangle and not far from where Charlie Anaya worked as a “volley” firefighter for the Suffern volunteer fire department.
While looking at her husband’s photo on the banner — a youthful 18-year-old in his Marine Corps uniform — Marie Anaya described him as “forever young.”
"For it to be on this corner, where everyone kind of has to stop at the light and reflect, and look at the statue and be reminded: In life you have to do the right thing,” she said.