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American Legion Auxiliary in Attica donates 'Sweats for Our Vets' and 55" TV to VA Medical Center

By Press Release
Dec 26, 2020, 5:44pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #734 of Attica, has been busy with this year’s holiday project “Sweats for Our Vets."  

With the generous donations of the organizations of the Harder O’Donnell Post #734; American Legion Auxiliary, A.V.M.A., American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and the assistance of local Attica business owner, Robert Cusmano of Mugs and More, the project quickly came together.  

A donation of 76 zip-up hooded sweatshirts were given to every patient of the Batavia V.A. Medical Center in their gift bags on Christmas morning. 

Also donated by the Auxiliary, was a 55” television for the Veterans Recreation Room. This donation was made in memory of Auxiliary Past President Leilani Spring, who passed away earlier this year.

We would like to thank Volunteer Services Personnel Cindy Baker and Nicholas LaMarca of the Batavia V.A.M.C. for their assistance with our holiday project “Sweats for Our Vets."

A few members of each organization met on Dec. 8th at the V.A.M.C. to deliver the sweatshirts and television.

The vets were delighted and surprised!

American Legion Auxiliary Unit #734

Harder O’Donnell Post

83 Market St., Attica

Top photo from left: Auxiliary members -- Tammy Soemann, Barbara Eddy, Kathy Roberts, Kate Kellner; Commander Robert Wood; Adjutant Keith Almeter; and S.A.L. members Ralph Eddy and Mike Almeter.

Car show and veterans health system and benefits enrollment event is Sept. 14 at Batavia VA Center

By Billie Owens
Sep 6, 2019, 11:44am

Press release: 

VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Batavia site will host a car show and veterans enrollment event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14..

Veterans will have the opportunity to enroll in the VA health care system and have access to information to apply for other Veteran benefits.

To streamline applications and determine eligibility, veterans are highly encouraged to bring their DD-214 discharge papers and tax return from 2018.

The "Cruising for Veterans" car show will be staged behind Building 5 of the Jack Wisby Jr. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Building.

Merchandise and food will be available for sale starting at 10 a.m. through the Batavia Medical Center’s Veteran Canteen Service located on the ground floor of Building 1.

In the event of rain, the car show’s makeup date is the following day, Sunday, Sept. 15. The public is encouraged to attend.

The Batavia VA Medical Center is located at 222 Richmond Ave. in the City of Batavia.

BPD officers rise to own challenge, raise $600 for PTSD Clinic

By Howard B. Owens
Aug 15, 2018, 7:22pm

Officer Pete Flanagan, Batavia PD, pictured at right, presents $600 in Tops gift cards to Caryn Dilandro, director of the PTSD Clinic at the VA Hospital in Batavia, and Michael Swartz, director of the VA for Western New York.

Dilandro said the gift cards will be used by residents of the PTSD clinic to make one of their regular family meals -- where they all cook together and dine together, sometimes as a picnic or a BBQ.

Flanagan said the donation is the result of his desire to grow a beard. A year ago, he asked Chief Shawn Heubusch if he ran the GLOW Cup in full uniform if he could grow a beard for a year. Heubusch said he would think about it. This year, Flanagan asked again. This time, Heubusch told him he needed to turn it into a fundraiser and told him to pick the charity.

Flanagan picked the PTSD Clinic because last year he and some other officers weren't able to compete in The Murph through Batavia Cross Training, which was a fundraiser for the clinic, because of injuries.

Each of the participating officers ran in uniform in the GLOW cup and contributed $100 each to the cause. Besides Flanagan, they are Asst. Chief Todd Crossett, Officer Chad Richards, Det. Matt Wojtaszczyk, Det. Eric Hill, and Officer Marc Lawrence.

Veteran's Moving Wall to arrive at VA- Escort could yield 1000+ motorcycles

By Timothy Walton
Jun 22, 2010, 11:26pm

The Batavia VA is the next stop for the Vietnam Moving Wall that is scheduled to arrive this Thursday. The Moving Wall, which is a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial located in Washington, DC, will be open to the public 24 hours a day from June 24 until June 28.

The "Ride for Pride" which is an open ride for all motorcycle groups will escort the wall to the VA. "I heard we may be having upwards of 1000 or more motorcycles for this event" says Bill Davis, who is helping to coordinate the event. The ride is set to begin at 8am at LeRoy Hearth & Home and will be traveling down Route 5 to the VA. The wall is expected to arrive in Batavia around 8:30. The ride will be escorted and represented by local, county and state police agencies.

The arrival of the wall will officially begin officially on Thursday night at the VA with an opening ceremony beginning at 5pm that will include keynote speaker and Vietnam veteran, Dr. Patrick Welch as well as many other Vietnam veterans.

The Moving Wall has two structures that travel around the country each year and have been for over 20 years. The wall arriving here is coming off a recent visit to Hartford, Connecticut last week.

To accompany the wall being at the VA, the Ghost Riders band will team up with a brass band to perform patriotic songs on Saturday (12:45pm) and military vehicles will be on display all weekend as well. Gulf War Army veteran David Bellavia will be making an address at 1pm Saturday and a non-denominational church service will be lead by Father Ivan Trujillo on Sunday at 2pm.

The wall will depart with closing ceremonies taking place on June 28th at 1pm.


VA will honor World War II chaplains in interfaith service: February 1

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 26, 2009, 4:29pm

From the VA Medical Center:

VA Western New York Healthcare System will hold a service for veterans, employees and the community, Sunday, February 1 at 2 p.m. at the Buffalo site, 3495 Bailey Avenue in Freedom Hall, room 301 in remembrance of the Four Chaplains who lost their lives during an extraordinary act of heroism during World War II. Lt. Colonel Allen Douglas Ferry, New York Air Reserve National Guard (retired), and Bronze Star Recipient for combat service and Legion of Merit will deliver the keynote address. At this special event, the Legion of Honor award presentation will also take place. 

The four Chaplains, a Methodist Minister, Jewish Rabbi, Dutch Reformed Church, and Catholic Priest were on a US Army transport ship hit by a German torpedo off the icy waters of Greenland in February 1943. When it became apparent there were not enough life jackets, the four US Army Chaplains removed theirs and handed them to frightened young soldiers, and chose to go down with the ship. They locked arms together and prayed in the tradition of their own faith. Of the 902 on board, there were only 227 survivors. They demonstrated throughout the voyage and in their last moments, interfaith compassion in their relationship with the men on board and with each other.

VA celebrates life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Philip Anselmo
Jan 12, 2009, 12:36pm

From the VA Medical Center:

VA Western New York Healthcare System will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at a ceremony, Friday, January 16, 2009 at 11:30am in Freedom Hall, room 301 at the Buffalo site, 3495 Bailey Avenue.  Pastor Betty Williams, who served in the US Air Force, will speak about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dee L. Perry will deliver Dr. King’s historical speech “I have a dream” and musical entertainment will be provided by Darcel Blue, a local gospel singer.

On January 20, 1986, America observed the first national holiday commemorating Dr. King’s birthday.  In 2009, we celebrate the 23rd anniversary of that date and 40 years after his passing, Dr. King’s birthday has become not only a day of celebration and remembrance but also a day of service. During his lifetime, Dr. King sought to forge common ground on which people from all walks of life could join together to address important community issues. Working alongside individuals of all ages, races and backgrounds, he encouraged Americans to come together to strengthen communities, alleviate poverty, and acknowledge dignity and respect for all human beings. Service to others, he realized, was the great equalizer. The event is free and open to the public.

82nd Airborne Distributes Gifts to Veterans

By Philip Anselmo
Dec 23, 2008, 11:56am

From the VA Medical Center:

In the giving spirit of the holidays, members of the 82nd Airborne Niagara Frontier Chapter will be distributing gifts to patient units at the Buffalo VA, 3495 Bailey Avenue.  The gift distribution will take place on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25 at 1:30 pm.  The group will sing carols along with accordionist as they visit patient units.

VA appoints new Chief of Staff

By Philip Anselmo
Dec 16, 2008, 8:09am

From the VA Medical Center:

Dr. Miguel Rainstein was appointed Chief of Staff, VA Western New York Healthcare System, Buffalo, NY effective December 7, 2008.  In April 2008, Dr. Rainstein began serving as Acting Chief of Staff.  He came to VA WNY Healthcare System as Chief of Surgery in July 2005. Prior to coming to VA WNY Healthcare System, he was the Chief of Surgery at Kenmore Mercy Hospital for 14 years.

As Chief of Staff, Dr. Rainstein has the responsibility of providing quality patient care and coordinating all professional activities to fulfill that mission. He supervises the operation of both the Buffalo and Batavia sites, as well as community based outpatient clinics in Jamestown, Dunkirk, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Lackawanna, Olean and Warsaw.

Dr. Rainstein received his undergraduate degree and his medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires.  He completed his surgical residency at Millard Fillmore Hospital in 1979. He is currently Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and also holds membership in the Buffalo Surgical Society.  “We are fortunate to have Dr. Rainstein within VA WNY Healthcare System with his years of expertise in the community and VA,” said David J. West, Interim Medical Center Director.
Dr. Rainstein lives in Williamsville with his wife.

VA names interim director

By Philip Anselmo
Dec 9, 2008, 12:56pm

From the VA Western New York:

David J. West, FACHE has been named Interim Medical Center Director at VA Western New York Healthcare System effective December 7.  VA Western New York Healthcare System includes medical centers in Buffalo, Batavia and seven community based out patient clinics located in Niagara Falls, Lockport, Dunkirk, Jamestown, Lackawanna, Olean, and Warsaw.  Mr. West has been the Medical Center Director at the Bath VA Medical Center since April 29, 2007.

Prior to being appointed Director for the Bath VA, Mr. West served as Associate Director at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center, and began his career with VA in1987 at the Washington DC VA Medical Center.

At VA WNYHS, he will oversee over 1,690 employees serving over 40,000 veterans during the period until a new director is appointed.  He succeeds James P. Cody who has served as interim director since August and Michael S. Finegan who recently was promoted to network director, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  “It’s an opportunity for me to work with a dedicated staff in Western NY serving our nation’s heroes,” West said.

Mr. West served in the U.S. Army from 1973 to 1978. He holds a Master of Science degree in Health Services Administration from the College of St. Frances in Joliet, Illinois and is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month

By Philip Anselmo
Nov 20, 2008, 8:21am

From the VA Medical Center:

A special observance will take place Friday, November 21 at VA Western New York Healthcare System, 3495 Bailey Avenue, to increase awareness about Native American culture and services. 

The program will take place at 9:30am in Freedom Hall, room 301.  Sheldon Sundown, a mental health peer advocate from Native American Independent Living Services will discuss programs and services available to Native Americans living on area Nation territories and in urban areas to include Independent living, family support services, reimbursement program, to veterans, employees and the public. 

In addition to the presentation, A Native American drum group will provide entertainment.

James P. Cody, interim medical center director stated, “VA WNY Healthcare System salutes and honors all American Indian and Alaska Native contributions to the Department and our society.

During this month’s observance, we specifically express our appreciation for these contributions and for the dedicated service by our American Indian and Alaska Native veterans."

Thanksgiving Dinner for Veterans

By Philip Anselmo
Nov 17, 2008, 10:57am

From the VA Medical Center:

Thanksgiving dinner will be served to homeless and other needy veterans and their families, Sunday, November 23, 2008 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Buffalo VA, 3495 Bailey Avenue. Judi Kaczmarek, Human Resources Specialist has organized the event for the last eight years. 

She has been gratified with the response received by both the staff and the veterans served from previous years.  The event occurs the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day in order to provide a hot meal to those in need.   Admission is by ticket only.  Homeless veterans and veterans in need can call 881-5855 to obtain a ticket and learn more about transportation.

About 150 veterans and their families will be treated to a turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings that will be served by staff in the VA Food Court located in the hospital's lower level. Veteran Service Organizations and other community groups have made donations for the event.

Entertainment by children of staff and a magic show will highlight the festivities this year. VA health care and other veterans’ benefits information will be provided to veterans with the opportunity to enroll in VA health care at the event.

National Veterans Awareness Week

By Philip Anselmo
Nov 6, 2008, 11:01am

From the VA Medical Center:

VA Western New York Healthcare System is celebrating National Veterans Awareness Week at the Batavia and Buffalo sites.  All veterans are encouraged to wear their medals as America recognizes veterans on Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11, 2008.

Monday, November 10, 10:00 a.m. – Buffalo, 1:00 p.m. – Batavia

Professional Umpire, Mr. Jerry Lane visits veterans. 

Tuesday, November 11, 10:00 a.m. - Batavia site

Veterans Day Ceremony is held by the Flag Pole at Building 3 on the grounds of the Batavia site, VA Western New York Healthcare System, 222 Richmond Avenue.  Genesee County veterans groups coordinate the event followed by a coffee social in Building 4 Recreation Hall.

Tuesday, November 11, 2:00 p.m. – Buffalo site

Traditional Veterans Day program is open to all in Freedom Hall, room 301 at the Buffalo site, VA Western New York Healthcare System, 3495 Bailey Avenue. Steven M. Larwood, Command Chief Master Sergeant, US Air Force Reserve 914th Airlift Wing will deliver the keynote address. Events are open to the public.

Open House at VA Western New York

By Philip Anselmo
Nov 3, 2008, 10:49am

From the VA Western New York:

VA Western New York Healthcare System is holding an open house for the newly renovated cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation and fitness center, Friday, November 7, 2008 from 1:30- 3:30pm.

The $1.2 million project included the renovation and increased space for cardiac rehabilitation and patient therapy on 4B. Veterans who have had open heart surgery, myocardial infarction (heart attack), angioplasty, congestive heart failure, and those who are medical management history of heart and lung diseases utilize the facilities.  The fitness center is also available to all veterans at no cost who are referred by their provider. “We expect that this modern area with state of the art equipment will enhance the participation in our cardiac and pulmonary rehab programs as well as improve our veteran and employee satisfaction,” states Dr. Miguel Rainstein, acting Chief of Staff.

VA WNY Healthcare System provides care to over 40,000 veterans in Buffalo, Batavia, and seven community based clinics located in Lackawanna, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Olean, Dunkirk, Jamestown and Warsaw.

More walk-in flu vaccine clincs for veterans

By Philip Anselmo
Oct 31, 2008, 12:11pm

From the VA Medical Center:

Additional walk-in clinics have been scheduled for veterans enrolled in VA health care at VA WNY Healthcare System, 3495 Bailey Avenue in Buffalo.  The vaccines will be available at Desk 4 located on the first floor Saturday, November 8 from 8am -1pm, Tuesday, November 11 (Veterans Day) noon – 3:30pm, Saturday, November 15, 8am – 1pm, and Sunday, November 23, 9:00am – 2pm. Enrolled veterans may also contact their primary care provider to obtain the vaccine.

There is no charge for the flu vaccine for veterans enrolled in VA health care.  Eligibility will be verified prior to administration of the vaccine.  For information regarding VA Healthcare eligibility call 1-888-823-9656.

Walk-in Flu Vaccine Clinic for Veterans

By Philip Anselmo
Oct 28, 2008, 9:25am

From the VA Medical Center:

Veterans enrolled in VA health care may obtain flu vaccines at walk-in clinics at VA Western New York Healthcare System in Batavia, 222 Richmond Avenue. The vaccines will be available Monday through Friday, between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at the outpatient clinic. Enrolled veterans may also contact their primary care provider to obtain the vaccine. There is no charge for the flu vaccine for veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare. Walk-in clinics will be held through December 31.

Eligibility will be verified prior to administration of the vaccine. For information regarding VA Healthcare eligibility call 1-888-823-9656.

News roundup: Maximum sentence for the Pillowcase Burglar

By Philip Anselmo
Jun 18, 2008, 2:57pm

From the Daily News (Wednesday):

  • Thomas A. Aquino, the Rochester man who recently admitted that he was the notorious Pillowcase Burglar of the 1980s, received the 15-year maximum sentence for one count of second-degree burglary. Judge Robert C. Noonan told Aquino in court that it would be "a dereliction of my duty to impose anything less than the maximum sentence." Reporter Scott DeSmit put together a great article on the sentencing.
  • Really, a fantastic front page put together by the Daily News today. In addition to DeSmit's article about the Pillowcase Burglar, you can find a photograph by Mark Gutman in which a pair of cyclists wait at the corner of Main and Oak streets in the midst of last night's power outage. One of them exhales a cloud of cigarette smoke, illuminated by a pair of headlights that glow intense yet puny in the pitch black night. There's also an article about the City Council's review of City Manager Jason Molino that appeared on The Batavian yesterday, and an on-the-ball article by Tom Rivers who was out assessing the damage done to local crops as a result of Monday's hail storms.
  • Democratic Congressional candidate Jack Davis stopped at the VA Medical Center in Batavia Tuesday vowing that he would support a bill in Washington that would "expand and improve health care services for female veterans." Check out the article by reporter Roger Muehlig for more about Davis's visit and female veterans. It's well done.
  • Eighteen-year-old Batavian, Richard J. Peters II, could face up to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to raping a 4-year-old Wyoming girl. Peters will be sentenced at Wyoming County Court on September 11.

For the complete stories, the Daily News is available on local newsstands, or you can subscribe on

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