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June 14, 2019 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flag Day, video, Batavia Middle School, va center.
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Continuing an annual tradition started by Frank Panepento five years ago, Batavia Middle School students wrote essays about what the American flag means to them and then three winners were chosen to read their essays today, Flag Day, at the VA Center in Batavia.

The winning essay was by Tosh Spillberg, who received a bike and a season pass to Darien Lake Theme Park. Second and third places were Landon Hamilton and Trevor Tryon, who also received season passes to Darien Lake. Panepento purchased the prizes.

Student Transportation of America provided the students with a free bus ride to and from the VA Center.

November 11, 2018 - 2:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, veterans, Veterans Day, batavia, news.

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Among the Veterans Day ceremonies in Genesee County today there was one at the VA Center in Batavia attended by residents of the VA Hospital.

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October 12, 2018 - 4:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in veterans, va center, news, batavia, Announcements.

Submitted photos and information:

Veterans, their friends and family members enjoyed a dinner dance at the Veterans Community Living Center on Richmond Avenue in Batavia on Thursday afternoon.

It was hosted by the VA Western New York Healthcare System and held in the Recreation Hall of Building 4. The event was organized by Recreation Therapy, Nursing, other VA staff and the community.

Vets were treated to stuffed meatloaf dinner prepared by D&R Depot while enjoying music by Dr. Marc Maller, VA physician, and Kelly’s Old Timers Band. The Alexander Girls High School Soccer Team assisted staff with this special event, which included crowning a King and Queen.

June 10, 2018 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flag Day, va center, batavia, news, veterans.

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Veterans residing at the Batavia VA Medical Center were honored today as part of a Flag Day ceremony that included the reading of three essays about the flag by students of Batavia Middle School.

The winning essay was written by Harrison Southall (second photo):

What the American Flag means to me? Well, it stands for hope in my eyes. In America's history, when battles were fought there would be a flag bearer who would hold our flag with his life. If he got shot, he still held it. If he got killed, someone else would just drop their gun and pick up the flag because they knew they were fighting for our country. The flag shows that America never gives up and shows brave soldiers that hope is never lost even in the worst times, and that is what makes the flag special.

Organizing the event was spearheaded by Frank Panepento and ended with a medley of patriotic songs from a brass band.

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Assistant Principal Maureen Notario with a binder full of all the essays submitted by students of Batavia Middle School. The book was presented to World War II veteran Leo Pelton, who is 99 years old (below).

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June 8, 2018 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinicm, va center, batavia, news.

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Arnie Aldinger and Ronald Gonzalez place a wreath on the brick walkway outside the PTSD Clinic at the VA Medical Center in Batavia.

The walkway contains bricks with the names of veterans who have passed on. Below, Chuck Ross reads the names of some of those veterans, including for two veterans whose names have been added to the walkway: Christopher M. Berry, Army, and Jerome D. Chatmon Sr., Army.

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Edwin Gadson, peer support specialist, sings the National Anthem (beautifully).

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Frank Panepento, above, and Tom Cecere, played Echo Taps.

June 9, 2017 - 8:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flag Day, veterans, va center, batavia, news.

It would mean a lot to Frank Panepento if you would come out to the VA Center in Batavia at 1 p.m. on Sunday to celebrate Flag Day with our veterans.

It will mean a lot to him because it means a lot to the veterans living at the center.

Panepento helped organize the event, which will include a motorcycle procession from Stan's Harley-Davidson and a presentation by students from Batavia Middle School, who wrote essays on what the flag means to them. 

The BMS Art Department also created flags for the veterans.

"For the residents in the hospital, just to know that someone cares about them is huge," Panepento said.

St. Joe's Brass Ensemble, which Penepento leads, will also play.

September 11, 2015 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia, 9-11.

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Veterans came together at the VA Center for a 9-11 remembrance ceremony.

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August 13, 2015 - 8:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia, veterans, music.

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It's a year today since local musician Frank Penepento started playing the National Anthem on his trumpet every morning at 7 a.m. at the VA Center in Batavia.

This morning, he was joined by several other players, including Mitch Cayea, now in the Navy and home on leave, who was in high school when he first filled in for Penepento on a morning Penepento couldn't play.

Penepento missed a period of playing while recovering from neck surgery, so other trumpeters filled in for him, and all but one of those stand-ins joined him this morning.

Besides Cayea, playing this morning were Harold McJury, Donny Allen, Ross Chua, Don Shirk and Tom Cecerce. Unable to play this morning was Richard Samsel.

Together, the group has performed the National Anthem at 7 a.m. at the VA Center through rain, sleet, snow, zero-degree mornings and golden ones like today.

Previously: Trumpeter plays National Anthem every morning at VA to honor veterans, and his father

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July 15, 2015 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, veterans, batavia, va center.

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Assemblyman Michael DenDekker was in Batavia today as part of a tour of Steve Hawley's district, with stops at the state's Veterans' Hospital and the VA Center as well as Lamb Farms. DenDekker, a Democrat, is chairman of the Assembly's Veterans' Affairs Committee. Hawley is the ranking minority member of the committee. The tour was aimed at helping DenDekker increase his knowledge of veterans issues across the state as well as introduce him to rural Western New York.  

One of the stops was the A Ward in the VA hospital that is being remodeled into private and semi-private rooms. Conducting the tour were contractor Martin Brothers, left, and Royce Calhoun, assistant director of the Batavia VA Center.

June 11, 2015 - 9:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia, veterans.

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There will be a Flag Day celebration starting at 1 p.m., Sunday, at the VA Center in Batavia.

Here's the schedule for the event:

  • 1 p.m.: Prayer and Motorcycle Procession
  • 1:05 p.m.: Western New York Skydivers, led by Bill Ziphel
  • 1:10 p.m.: Flyover, Navy World War II plane, a 1943 Navy SNJ, piloted by Greg Barnhard and Jarod Cummings
  • 1:15 p.m.:  Assemblyman Steve Hawley Presentation
  • 1:30 p.m.: Flags & Students presentation to administration and vets.
  • 1:45 p.m.: 21-Gun Salute -- American Legion, Jim Neider, American Legion
  • 1:50 p.m.: Echo Taps
  • 2 p.m.: Concert with St. Joe’s Brass Ensemble
May 29, 2015 - 4:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia, music, entertainment, veterans.

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Country singer Ricky Lee performed at the Batavia VA Hospital this afternoon. His set list included patriotic songs, songs honoring veterans and even some George "The 'Possum" Jones.

Each veteran in attendance was given a copy of his latest CD for free.

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May 6, 2015 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in va center, batavia.

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Press release:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the nation’s largest single employer of nurses, joins the American Nurses Association in honoring America’s nurses dedicated to saving lives and maintaining the health of millions of individuals during National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

This year’s Nurses Week theme is “Ethical Practice, Quality Care” and VA health care facilities throughout the country will pay tribute to their 90,000 nurses who VA Western New York Healthcare System Nurse Executive Patricia Lind calls “the Nursing Heroes who care for America’s Heroes.”

Annually, National Nurses Week begins on May 6, marked as Nurse Recognition Day, and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. During this week, nurses at VA Western New York Healthcare System will be honored with award ceremonies.

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs Award for Excellence in Nursing is given to a VA nurse or nursing assistant once in their nursing career and recognizes exemplary nursing care given to Veterans and their families. VA Western New York Healthcare System is pleased to announce the 2015 Nursing Excellence recipients.

Cindy Norton-Ortiz, registered nurse, works as a nurse manager in the Maple Lodge Community Living Center in Batavia. Cindy resides in East Bethany.

Peggy Stanley, registered nurse, cares for veterans who reside in the Willow Lodge Community Living Center in Buffalo. Peggy is a resident of Akron.

Lucy Stevens, licensed practical nurse, care for veterans who reside in the Oak Lodge Community Living Center in Buffalo. Lucy resides in Elba.

Carla Dobbs, nursing assistant, works in the Adult Day Health Care program. Carla is a resident of Buffalo.

National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses, the largest health care profession, work to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities, to primary care where health promotion is encouraged, to the halls of research institutions, state legislatures, and Congress, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of American society and its veterans.

February 25, 2015 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, VA Hospital, va center.

The VA Hospital in Batavia has a new NCO Club on the third floor thanks to the efforts of residents, staff and several area veterans groups who donated money and material to make it possible. The club will be a place for veterans to gather and socialize while at the VA.

The new club, a converted storage room, was dedicated today with speeches and a ribbon cutting.

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