Like many community organizations, the Ebenezer Beautification Committee had to cut back on events and fundraisers this year because of COVID-19.
But the group, now four years old, continues to move forward with its newest project: a memorial garden at Jay Street and Old Ebenezer Road in North Lebanon Township.
Established in 1845, Ebenezer (meaning “stone of help” in Hebrew) is a village within the township. Half a dozen or so residents formed the organization in 2016, “a small but mighty group focused on community service and the beautification of our small community,” according to its Facebook page.
Its first initiative was posting seven HomeTown Heroes banners along Route 72 in Ebenezer, which have been added to in recent years, making 21 total.
The banners honor people from Ebenezer or the surrounding area, and are displayed annually from April to November, committee president Gwen Yordy told LebTown. “The township puts them up for us,” she said, on poles leased from Met-Ed and Verizon.
Many were in the military; one, Anson Shuey, fought in the Civil War. Two were longtime coaches — Bob Burkholder and Rich Meily, Yordy noted.
The banners, $200 each, are ordered by family members. Yordy’s father, James Bausman, and father-in-law, Herman Yordy, both World War II veterans, have banners.
When the banners are removed from the poles in the fall, the beautification committee follows that up with yuletide decorations —11 artificial wreaths with lights and an electric candle.
“Our goal is to see Ebenezer shine through the holidays,” committee member Bob Deck told the Lebanon Area Merchandiser in 2017.
Last year, the committee participated in Wreaths Across America, placing wreaths on the nearly 1,100 veterans graves at Covenant Greenwood Cemetery. “Almost 100 volunteers helped us,” said Yordy. Fort Indiantown Gap supplied some wreaths as well.
This year, the committee plans to be involved again in Wreaths Across America, she said, which is Dec. 19.
The group, though, had to cancel its annual Ebenezer Day festivities, held in the spring at Ebenezer Fire Company, because of the pandemic.
That typically features a car show, live entertainment, old photos and memorabilia, a raffle and food (plus Farm Show milkshakes). There is also a ceremony sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 439 to properly dispose of tattered, torn and worn American flags.
“Ebenezer Day is kind of a big deal for us,” Yordy said.
The committee is in the process of raising money for Ebenezer Memorial Garden by selling engraved bricks, which can accommodate three lines of up to 15 letters/punctuation marks each. They sell for $50 to $60 apiece.
“We’d love to have about 200,” Yordy said. “We have 30 so far.”
The garden will be highlighted by a central flagpole surrounded by bricks, benches, flowers and trees. A flagpole and bench have been donated.
She said the project will cost from $20,000 to $35,000, depending on the amount of money raised. The committee will receive a $10,000 grant from the county when it spends its first $10,000, Yordy said.
Since July 2019, the committee has been leasing land from the township for the garden, she said, and has paved in a small parking area.
To order a brick for the memorial garden, call Gwen Yordy at 717-272-4191.
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