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NYS Veterans Home

O-A cheerleaders looking to lift holiday spirits of veterans at NYS Vets Home

By Howard B. Owens


The Oakfield-Alabama Hornets Cheerleaders are collecting holiday decorations to donate to veterans staying at the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia.

They are accepting donations for any decor as well as holiday craft supplies so that veterans can decorate their rooms, doors, and bulletin boards for the holidays. 

The cheerleaders are also collecting holiday cards written to veterans.

There are donation boxes at the high school or contact cheerleading coach Kate Engle at

Submitted photo.


Photo: Residents of NYS Vets Home serenaded with 50s rock

By Howard B. Owens


Save Our Seniors and the SOS Air-Band serenaded residents of the NYS Veterans Home on Sunday with sounds of the 1950s as part of Flag Day Weekend.

The group was escorted to the event by The Rolling Patriots and the Patriot Guard Riders.

Photos by Lee Hoffman.













VIDEO: Hawley drops off Valentine's from local kids to veterans at NYS Vets home

By Howard B. Owens
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Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley visited the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia to drop off valentines that were made by first-grade students from Jackson Primary School as part of the Assemblyman’s “Valentines for Vets” program.

A veteran himself, and a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Hawley remained outside of the facility as he left the valentines due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“In what has been a challenging and isolating year for us all, it was my pleasure to facilitate the delivery of these valentines to let our veterans know how much their service is appreciated by the young people of our community,” Hawley said.

“The messages written by the children for our veterans were heartwarming and an encouraging sign for our future, and I am proud of these young patriots for what they’ve done to show our veterans how much their service means to them.”

Sixth-grader at St. Joe's donates 20 of her colorful paintings to cheer up residents of NYS Veterans Home

By Press Release

Submitted photo and information from reader Joe Caruso:

My Dad was a resident at the NYS Veterans Home in Batavia and passed in 2017. I have an 11-year-old Granddaughter (top photo left) who donated 20 canvas paintings she spent endless hours painting.

She felt the residents would appreciate having them to display or hang in rooms. Her name is Sofia Falleti and she is a sixth-grade student at Saint Joseph Regional School in Batavia.

Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia visits NYS Veterans Home in Batavia

By Billie Owens

Submitted photos and press release:

Medal of Honor recipient David G. Bellavia appeared at the NYS Veterans Home on Thursday, Oct. 10, as part of a wish-granting experience created by the local nonprofit, Senior Wishes.

Bellavia, an Army Staff Sergeant and the first living Iraq War Veteran to receive a U.S. Medal of Honor, spoke to residents, staff and guests, including members of the Combat Vets Association.

His speech was followed by a reception organized by Senior Wishes which included refreshments, and the opportunity for guests to meet with Bellavia, who graciously shared his Medal of Honor, posed for pictures and signed copies of his book.   

The event was planned as part of an introduction of Senior Wishes to the Batavia community, as the program has just expanded from Erie and Niagara counties to also serve residents of Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties.

Established in 2013 by the United Church Home Society (UCHS), Senior Wishes’ mission is to honor and recognize the lifelong contributions of our oldest citizens by granting meaningful wishes that will enhance seniors’ lives.  

According to Wendy Miller Backman, Senior Wishes executive director, “Senior Wishes was created to recognize that our aging seniors still have things they want to do, places they want to go, or people they want to see. We transform those dreams into a reality.”

The program has granted more than 250 wishes in Erie and Niagara counties, and strives to grant more wishes to seniors by expanding into more counties. 

Wish requests may be big or small. Previous wishes have included air travel to visit long-missed family, cheering on a favorite team in person, and revisiting an abandoned hobby.  

Wish recipients must be 65+ and a resident of Western New York with an annual income under $38,000 for a household of one or under $44,000 for a household of two. Permanent residents of care facilities are exempt from the income qualification. Vacations, medical items, household repairs, bill payments and travel outside of the continental United States are excluded.

To learn how to apply for a wish, visit or call Wendy at 716-508-2121.

Photo: Handpainted patriotic totes donated to vets home

By Howard B. Owens


The Genesee Country Decorative Painters, founded in Batavia in 1983, painted dozens of totes with patriotic themes as a service project for 2018 and today presented the gifts to the State Veterans Home in Batavia as a gift to veterans at the home.

Each member painted three bags each.

Photo: Diane Fiorentino, Laurie Bellucci, and Maggie Cummings, activity director for the vets home.

Special free concert at NYS Vets' Home Sept. 5 by 'Letters From Home' with nationwide goal of 'reviving patriotism'

By Billie Owens

Submitted photo and press release:

In 2010, Erinn Diaz founded Letters From Home in Winston-Salem, NC, with a mission to tour the country honoring our nation’s veterans, active military heroes and their families, by reviving patriotism through music. Since that time it has become one of the fastest-growing musical movements in the nation, touring over 40 states.

The show is coming to Batavia at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 5, for the residents and families of the New York Veterans’ Home, 220 Richmond Ave.

Letters From Home is a group that travels the country on a mission to revive patriotism (not politics)...through MUSIC! The performers present high-energy singing and dancing reminiscent of the USO shows of years ago, all in support of veterans, active military and families. This show is PERFECT for your veteran neighbor, friend, or relative.

The incredible singing harmonies, charming personalities and phenomenally energized tap dancing will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter and reviving your patriotic passion!

Diaz produced the show at the suggestion of her late father, Pat Dearth, a Coast Guard veteran. She is currently touring several versions of Letters From Home, and is also the founding artistic director of Spring Theatre in Winston-Salem, a published author, a national tap dance champion and has been seen in more than 200 productions and movies.

The show will not only feature Diaz, but also Dan Beckmann, of Minneapolis, who has performed in six of seven continents. Dan currently resides in New York City, and will be joining Diaz as her duo show partner in the charming tribute, “Voices of Victory.”

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