Red ribbons in downtown Chambersburg

Red ribbns
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Red is the color of love, danger, strength and power. Red ribbons decorating downtown Chambersburg trees this month symbolize the courage and sacrifice of a special group of people. They are put up to honor those on the front lines of the coronavirus battle. 

Area residentCaroll“Carly” Groff remembered the yellow ribbons that were wrapped around trees and telephone poles, pinned to lapels and tied to car radio antennae in the early 1990s as a show of support for U.S. troops involved in the Gulf War.

She thought it was time to show appreciation for first responders and medical professionals who have worked hours on end for months trying to keep thesometimes deadlyvirus from spreading.

“They go through a lot – more than we realize,” said Groff, who moved to Chambersburg a year ago from Florida, where she and her husband, John, lived for seven years. They are retired and have two daughters living in the borough.

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Groff presented the idea of tying red ribbons to downtown trees to the office of Walter C.Bietsch, mayor of Chambersburg. The concept was taken toPennyShaul, secretary of Chambersburg’s Downtown Business Council (DBC), who saw potential.

“We thought it was a great idea,” said Shaul, owner of Here’s Looking at You, a women’s clothing store at 123 S. Main St.


READ: ChambersFest 2020: A community collaboration


Red ribbons recognize health care workers

The DBC is partnering withDowntown Chambersburg Inc. (DCI) for the Red Ribbon Campaign this month. Itkicks off July 3 during the First Friday celebration in downtown Chambersburg.

DBCordered 150 red ribbons online to decorate the approximately 60 trees downtown –on Main Street between Washington and Kingstreets.

Therest will go to area residents to display through July, butShaul emphasized the importance of following township rules about placing decorations on public property. Flyers will explain the purpose of the ribbons.

“It would be a great thing to see in every community across the U.S.,” Groff said of red ribbons.

“To say the past few months have been trying is an understatement,” said DCI President Sam Thrush. “Our local health care network and first responders have done an amazing job. Downtowns across the nation are public spaces where communities host their parades,sidewalk sales, festivals and other community events that create civic engagement and a sense of place. We are happy that our downtown hosts initiatives like the Red Ribbon Campaign.”

Downtown efforts to stop virus spread

Thrush takes pride in efforts made by local shops and restaurants to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Our downtown is home to many independent businesses,” he said. “I’m proud to say that most of them have been following CDC and Department of Health guidelines and recommendations as they reopen in each phase.”

Shaulthought July would be a great month to decorate the downtown in red, expanding on the red, white and blue of Independence Day.The trees sport pink and purple ribbons in October for breast cancer awareness and in support of ending domestic violence, respectively. They typically are decorated with green to raise awareness of Lyme Disease in May.

“The red will be nice because it will really stand out,”Shaul said.

Groff envisioned more than color in the symbolism, too. She saw an acronym: RED for resilience, endurance and dedication. She plans to help adorn the trees downtown.

“I love when people have an idea and are excited to help with it,”Shaulsaid. “We’re happy we could help her bring it to life.”

For more information about Downtown Chambersburg Inc., go towww.downtownchambersburgpa.comor call 717-264-7101, ext. 204.

For more information about the Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg, go todiscoverchambersburg.comor call 717-261-0072.

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