For the last seven or eight years, Stockton Springs Community Church has held a special service and dinner to honor "Hometown Heroes," including police, firefighters, ambulance crew and veterans, the church's pastor, the Rev. John Tabor, said. This year, with restrictions on public gatherings because of COVID-19, the church has had to find another way to honor these service-minded men and women.

Tabor told The Republican Journal in an email that, even though the service and dinner could not be held, "Our hearts were to still honor these local heroes. The town made available an outdoor bulletin that we could use. We have decorated it as a public show of our support. We also have a mailbox in which we have encouraged people to drop off notes and cards of thanks which will be passed along to our heroes.

"In this unsettled time we feel it is more important than ever to look at the good and hope we have within our community."

Tabor also shared a link to a post on the Stockton Springs Talks Facebook page, with photos of the bulletin board and a description of it. In the post, he describes the bulletin board tribute at the new town parking lot as a "Wall of Thanks" and invites residents to stop by and pay their respects, as well as leave a note for a first responder or a veteran in the mailbox. He told The Journal Nov. 12 that about a dozen cards had been received since the wall went up Nov. 7, and added that he hoped it would be up for another week or so.

The messages will be collected and presented to the first responders and veterans. Tabor concludes his Facebook post saying, "Let's make the special people feel as special as they are."