Military banner program putting shine on Emlenton

Bruce Goughler was an Army veteran and Emlenton resident. His picture now hangs along Emlenton's Main Street as part of a local Troop Banners program led by Goughler's son, Michael.

A military banner program that started in Castle Shannon has spread to Emlenton and neighboring communities to honor hometown military heroes.

After Emlenton’s first Troop Banner was displayed in a Main Street storefront last July, the project has grown to include 78 banners hanging over the borough’s sidewalks.

“They fought for us to have what we have now,” said Michael Goughler, who headed up the program in Emlenton. Goughler is an Emlenton native who now lives in Parker.

“I think it’s very important to show that Emlenton did have a military presence and that we still do have a military presence,” Goughler said. “We’re not just a lazy little river community and we’re not just a spot on the map.”

Goughler said that soon after he started the project, neighboring communities of St. Petersburg, Foxburg and Parker followed suit.

“It makes towns shine to show that they’re proud of their men and women who went off to the service,” Goughler said. “And a lot of them came back to town and worked in town.”

One such person was Michael’s late father, Bruce Goughler, who served in the Army from 1960 to 1963 and then had a long career at the Quaker State refinery.

A lifelong history enthusiast, Goughler was proud to say that the earliest veteran honored in Emlenton is Army private George Mansfield Sheffer, who served during the Civil War. Sheffer’s image looks over Hill Street.

An earlier veteran may soon be honored as Goughler has received an application for a local man who served in the Revolutionary War. The challenge, Goughler said, is locating an image of a person from that time period.

“We’re trying to locate a glass plate negative from the Revolutionary War,” Goughler said.

Goughler said the project is more than just paying tribute to local heroes. It also serves an educational purpose.

“It’s a learning tool,” he said. “You learn a lot about these families. Each banner has a story. If each man could talk, they would tell their own stories.”

The 2019 Troop Banners campaign begins July 1 and runs through March 31, 2019. Application forms can be found at