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November 11, 2022 - 9:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Bethany, batavia, Upton Monument, VA Hospital, news.


Genesee County veterans gathered today at the locations and landmarks associated with the local men and women who served the nation in times of war and peace.

The ceremonies started at 9 a.m. at Genesee County Park, where former Assemblyman Dan Burling was the keynote speaker and he celebrated the freedom that the men and women who served helped secure.

"We just had an election yesterday," Burling said. "And though it may not appear to be everything that we want it to be, it was a free election. It was a free election that was guaranteed by the men and women who have served this country over the years, over many, many, many years and still served today."

Other ceremonies were held at the VA Hospital, the NY State Vets Home, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Upton Monument), Trigon Park, the War Memorial at Jerome Center, and GCC.

"We're all brothers and sisters," Burling told the veterans in Bethany. "We all served together and anyone who puts the uniform on, who puts their hand on the Bible and swears that they will defend this nation is a friend of mine and a friend of everyone, so I want to thank you all, all my friends."

Photos from Genesee County Park, the VA Hospital, and the Upton Monument.  Photos by Howard Owens.


Dan Burling, middle.










Frank Panepento, a teacher at Batavia Middle School, Nathan Korzelius, middle school principal, and Danielle Bergman, assistant medical director of the VA Center.  Middle school students made wood blocks with a patriotic etching as a gift for veterans at the VA Center.


September 11, 2022 - 5:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in 9/11, VA Hospital, batavia, news.


More than two dozen volunteers placed 2,977 in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attack victims outside the VA Hospital in Batavia.

Organizations represented by the volunteers included VA employees, the VA police force, National Fuel, and the American Legion.

Photos by Howard Owens





July 15, 2022 - 4:13pm
posted by Press Release in VA Hospital, batavia, news.

Press release:

VA Western New York Healthcare System is seeking qualified professionals and staff for our Batavia VA Medical Center facility location. We highly encourage applicants to send an updated resume prior to July 13th to our email group [email protected] to schedule an interview time slot. Walk-ins are welcome!

Positions targeted for hire:

  • Cook
  • Food Service Worker
  • Housekeeping Aide
  • Registered Nurse (various shifts)
  • Clinical Nurse Managers
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Nursing Assistants

Our VA Career Fair will be held on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Building 3, Ground Floor, Batavia VA Medical Center Campus, 222 Richmond Avenue, Batavia, New York.

Benefits of working for Veterans Health Administration include:

  • 13 to 26 days paid annual (vacation/personal) leave
  • 13 sick days annually with no limit on accumulation
  • 11 paid Federal holidays
  • A Federal Pension
  • Comprehensive Healthcare Benefits that can be carried into retirement
  • A thrift savings plan (similar to the private sector’s 401K); up to 5% matching contributions
  • Flexible Savings Accounts
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and The Family Friendly Leave Act allow employees to take reasonable amounts of leave for medical reasons
  • Up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave (for employees covered by FMLA) for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child
  • Military leave is authorized up to 15 days a year for our active reservists and National Guard members 
May 4, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Liberty Square, veterans, ptsd clinic, VA Hospital, batavia, news, notify.


Eagle Star housing is "in the business of saving lives," Dennis Mahoney told the dignitaries and residents gathered Tuesday morning for the Liberty Square ribbon-cutting ceremony in Batavia.

Mahoney, a Vietnam veteran with PTSD and traumatic brain injury, said he isn't sure he would have made it without the assistance of Eagle Star.

His path to Liberty Square started with getting admitted to the PTSD program at the VA in Batavia.

"Getting there was a journey that took me decades," Mahoney said. "I was a great Marine but a horrible civilian. I didn't make the transition too well, but I also said the country didn't treat us too good coming home. That's been turned around greatly. Now I'm proud to be a veteran, proud to have served my country and served as well."

Mahoney's rocky journey after the war included a few encounters with law enforcement, he said.

"I was a mess when I came home," he said. "I'm not gonna use that as an excuse. Not all veterans did that. But I got myself together. And I wanted to make a life for myself. And I found that very difficult. I went from a hotel in Upstate New York with the intention of taking my life."

That attempt got him to a veterans hospital in Montrose, then transferred to Bath, and then Batavia.

Treatment in Batavia, he said, "literally saved my life."

But that wasn't the end of the journey.

"I had no idea what I was going to do," Mahoney said. "After I got out of treatment, I was totally lost. Eagle Star housing had something waiting for me (in Pembroke) where I could ground myself and look for a place to live. That was very difficult. I had no history. I had no way of marketing myself. My only talents were what I learned in the Marine Corps, so not very marketable."

Eagle Star's house in Pembroke is meant to be temporary assistance, but Mahoney held on until Liberty Square became available.

Now Mahoney has safety and security and he's also found a purpose in life.  He attends City Church, where he volunteers to help people with disabilities get to church and helps with food distribution.

He is grateful he found Batavia, he said.

"It's a great community. I found a life here. I've found things that I was able to do and I can give back to the community."

He credits Eagle Star and Liberty Square with rounding out a long and difficult journey to a better life.

"So many veterans with PTSD aren't making it every day," he said. "This facility, if we could replicate this all over the country, we would help veterans stay alive, not only prosper and find employment, but find a home that's affordable."

See also: Liberty Square apartments a 'much-needed' addition to Batavia

Photo by Howard Owens

January 5, 2022 - 10:36am
posted by Press Release in COVID-19, news, VA Hospital.

Press release:

The following guidance is for visitation at Veteran Affairs Western New York Healthcare System (VAWNYHS) Buffalo and Batavia Campuses effective January 4, 2022, and will remain in place until further notice. 

Due to the surge in COVID-19 infection rates throughout Western New York, VA Western New York Healthcare System has suspended physical inpatient visitation at our Buffalo VA Medical Center site.

VA Community Living Center resident visitation with family members at our Batavia VA Medical Center site will be limited through glass partitions.

Buffalo Campus visitation exceptions (on case by case basis):

  • Hospice/Palliative Care/End of Life requires approval of medical care team and Medical Center Director or Chief of Staff
  • Outpatient Services – Essential Visitor: Scheduled Outpatient Appointments
    • The purpose of this visitor is determined on a case by case basis by the care team and is absolutely essential and critical to the care and needs of the Veteran (example – a Veteran in need of escort to

accompany to an appointment when Veteran is unable to safely navigate to the appointment and/or for a Veteran who is unable to comprehend specific teaching instructions, or is unable to perform

a skill that is critical to the Veterans care including wound care, Foley Care, etc.).

All visitors will be expected to follow this guidance:

  • Upon arrival of the visitor to the screening station, the visitor will be screened (including temperature taken as part of screening process) and will not be granted access if exhibiting signs of COVID-19 or any

illness including a temperature of 100.0 degrees or greater or exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 person(s). 

  • Wear a VA provided face covering mask (neck gators, bandanas, face shields are not an appropriate form of a face covering) while in the facility. If visitor does not have a mask, one will be provided.
  • Perform hand-hygiene when entering facility and before and after visiting a hospitalized Veteran as instructed by staff.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking while visiting a hospitalized patient.
  • To exit the facility immediately following the visitation.
June 13, 2021 - 3:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ABATE, batavia, VA Hospital, veterans, news.


Debbie Coon and Duane Coon talk with Fred Henry about his motorcycle outside the VA Hospital in Batavia.

Henry, from Indian Falls, who served 21 years in the Army, was one of a few dozen members of Genesee County ABATE who rode their bikes to the VA Center today to great the veterans there to help celebrate during Flag Day weekend.

Debbie reminded Duane, who served in the Navy from 1971 to 1975, that his motorcycle used to be the same color.

March 22, 2021 - 2:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, VA Hospital, veterans, COVID-19, news.
Video Sponsor

A small group of protesters gathered outside the VA Medical Center grounds in Batavia this morning to express their objections to ongoing visitor restrictions put in place to prevent the spread in the hospital of COVID-19.

Initially, the protesters were on the VA grounds and they were asked to leave. Later, after this video was shot, a caller reported to dispatch that they were blocking traffic, but when a Batavia police officer arrived he said they were not blocking traffic.

Here is a statement from a spokesman for the VA:

VAWNYHS is re-establishing scheduled visitations based upon recently revised Veteran Health Affairs and CDC guidelines for Community Living Centers.   

Families of nursing home Veterans at the Batavia Community Living Center are being contacted to schedule visits with their loved ones during which two family members will be able to visit a patient at a time. In special circumstances, up to six family members may visit a veteran resident if deemed clinically appropriate. Visits need to be scheduled with staff and no drop-in visitations will be allowed.

We fully understand the family members' desire to physically reconnect with their loved ones in the Community Living Center after a year of virtual visits via telephone and FaceTime conversations. The VA will continue to safeguard our beloved veterans and work closely with families to have a coordinated, safe experience for the veteran and family members.

November 21, 2020 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, VA, batavia, Red Osier Landmark Restaurant, veterans, news.


Patrick Hager, with American Legion Post 637 in Strykersville, helps deliver meals from the Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant to residents and staff at the VA Hospital in Batavia on Thursday. Veterans in Wyoming County raised $2,100 to pay for 175 meals.


May 1, 2020 - 1:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, veterans, batavia, news.

This morning a veteran who was treated at the VA Hospital in Batavia for COVID-19 was discharged today, recovered from the disease.

Video submitted by VA Western NY Healthcare System.

May 1, 2020 - 1:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, batavia, news.

On Tuesday, Robin Grandin from Music to Remember WNY made a visit to the VA Hospital in Batavia along with her sister-in-law Jackie Volk to perform "Rockin' Robin" for patients at Spruce Lodge.

The performance was shared with a tablet computer so that proper social distancing could be maintained. 

Submitted by VA Western NY Healthcare System.

May 1, 2020 - 12:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, batavia, news, COVID-19, PPE, Personal Protective Equipment.

Earlier this week, Richard Stone, the nation's head physician for the Veterans Administration, said that the VA is facing a shortage of personal protective equipment.

We asked Evangeline Conley, public affairs officer for the VA Western NY Healthcare System, and here is her response:

VA Western New York Healthcare System stopped using crisis capacity guidelines weeks ago and is currently adhering to the same CDC contingency capacity postures the CDC recommends all health care facilities use.

VA Western New York Healthcare System’s PPE practices have helped limit its COVID-19 employee infection rates to .6 percent of the workforce. Other health care systems such as University of Washington Medicine report 4.4 percent of employees have tested positive and 2.1 percent of Henry Ford Health System’s workforce has tested positive.

Supply levels are being monitored every day to make sure facilities have adequate PPE for the number and types of patients they are seeing. If a facility were to fall below stock levels, the facility would be cross-leveled by another VA facility or region.

June 15, 2017 - 4:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, VA Hospital, batavia, veterans, news.


As part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, the VA in Batavia hosted a speaker series today featuring three veterans who have been through the trials of PTSD and recovered.

Dr. Caryn Di Landro, head of the PTSD clinic at the Batavia VA, said the people who attended -- members of the community interested in PTSD journeys, veterans in general, veterans receiving service at the clinic and staff working with veterans with PTSD -- were there to learn more about the experiences of those who have suffered from the condition.

The three speakers were Dr. Jessica Goodell, a psychology intern at the clinic, Marine Corps veteran, and author of "Shade It Black: Death and After Iraq"; Nicholas Stefanovic, from the Rochester Treatment Court and Marine Corp veteran; and, Earl Granville, former Pennsylvania Army National Guardsman and veteran of Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia.

Granville, in photos, told his own stories and the stories of others about the journey from trauma to finding a new purpose in helping others.

This is an annual event open to all members of the community.






April 24, 2017 - 6:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, batavia, news.


The VA Hospital honored its volunteers today with a luncheon at the Quality Inn & Suites in Batavia.

The volunteers with the most hours, more than 1,750 were Phyllis Scharader, Robert J. Shepard, Douglas Titus and James Yoder. Pictured with three of the top volunteers above is Danielle Bergman, assistant medical director, on the right.


The volunteers with at least 20 years of service were also honored, though not all could make it to the luncheon. The volunteers with at least 20 years are Helen Batchelor, center of the photo, with 31 years, Emerson Campbell, Joshua T. Dickens, Joseph Flynn, Joseph Guppenberger, 31 years, Robert Jurewicz, Lee Kauffman, Robert Mellody, Anthony Palmer, 32 years, Robert Radley, and John Scott, with 31 years.


The Elks from Brockport made a $1,500 donation to the VA Center.

June 12, 2016 - 7:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flag Day, VA Hospital, batavia, news.


Michael Mazutta, an Afghanistan and Iraq war veteran, was the keynote speaker at a Flag Day ceremony this afternoon at the VA hospital in Batavia.

Included in the ceremony were certificates of appreciation to Vernon Rowe and Joe Gerace. After Rowe received his certificate from Mazutta, he volunteered to present Gerace with his certificate.

Students from Batavia Middle School presented handmade gifts to the veterans who are residents at the hospital.

The St. Joe's band performed after the ceremony.

Prior to his invocation, Chaplain Robert Chambers called for a moment of silence to honor the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando and then prayed for them and their grieving families.










June 6, 2015 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, veterans, PTSD, batavia.


The names of five more veterans were added to a walkway of honor at the VA's PTSD Clinic in Batavia this afternoon. There are 45 names on the walkway. Each year, the names of those who have been through the PTSD program but passed in the previous year are added to the walkway.

May 27, 2015 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, batavia.


The VA Hospital in Batavia held a luncheon at the Clarion Hotel this afternoon to honor its dozens and dozens of volunteers, some whom have been giving their time to serve veterans for decades.

Emerson Campbell (center, above) has logged more than 17,500 volunteer hours. Paul Judkins, 15,000 hours and John Scott, 12,500.

Below, the Brockport Elks delivered a $1,000 donation.


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.

May 17, 2014 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, music, entertainment, VA Hospital, The Manhattan Dolls.

Veterans and guests at the VA Hospital were entertained this afternoon by The Manhatten Dolls, a group of singers from NYC who perform the great vocal harmonies and songs of the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s.

December 28, 2013 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, cheerleading, Batavia HS, VA Hospital.

Batavia High School cheerleaders visited the VA Hospital this morning to visit with residents and perform their basketball cheers. One resident told the girls, "this is what he fought for" while thanking them for their visit.

Information and photo submitted by Justine Bonarigo.

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