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May 24, 2019 - 12:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, veterans, news, Memorial Day.

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

"Today, I join millions of Americans who honor the sacrifice paid by fallen soldiers and their families. Generation after generation, beginning with the American Revolution, soldiers have stood ready to defend their country, freedoms and civil liberties with their lives.

"As a result of that sacrifice, our nation has been free, prosperous and the envy of the world throughout its history.

“Americans owe a special debt of gratitude to our fallen soldiers and gold star families. I am especially grateful that my colleagues in the state Assembly finally joined an effort I have long championed to grant the dependants of fallen soldiers free college tuition.

"I am also proud to continue the tradition of Patriot trips to Washington, D.C., the annual trip I take with veterans and their families to visit the Capitol of our country, which they fought so hard to protect. 

“As the son of a World War II veteran and a veteran of the military myself, standing up for veterans is a duty I will never overlook. That is why I cherish my position on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the Assembly.

"In the coming weeks, I look forward to continuing my fight for legislation to exempt honorably discharged veterans from Thruway tolls, veterans over 85 years old from paying state income tax, and extending state benefits to promote veteran-owned businesses.

“Nevertheless, on this Memorial Day I want to extend a special salute to our fallen soldiers and all of our nation’s Gold Star families. As a nation, we must never forget their extraordinary service and patriotism.”

May 22, 2019 - 2:15pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Le Roy, veterans, veterans' hall of fame, Ranzenhofer.

Submitted photo and press release:

State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer welcomed Thomas E. Feeley, corporal in the Marine Corps and Le Roy resident, to Albany to be inducted into the Veterans’ Hall of Fame it was announced today.

“Tom has dedicated his life to serving our country, through his military career, career in law enforcement and his service with the Le Roy Fire Department," Ranzenhofer said. "It is a privilege to be able to induct him into the Veterans’ Hall of Fame.”

Feeley was a corporal in the Marine Corps from 1990-1993, serving in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. Afterward, he served as an elite Embassy Marine at the American Embassy Lusaka, Zambia, and the Consulate General Munich, Germany.

Following his military service, Corporal Feeley began his federal law enforcement career in 1996 in Miami. In 1998, he assisted in the opening of the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia.

After 9-11, he became a Federal Air Marshal in Atlanta, serving from 2002-2006. Corporal Feeley was a Course Developer/Instructor and Branch Chief at the Immigration and Customs Academy from 2006-2008, and was then promoted to Assistant Field Office Director in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 2017, Feeley joined the Senior Executive Service and became Buffalo Field Office director, covering 48 of the 62 counties in New York State.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Senator," Feeley said. "My entire career and civilian life have been dedicated to public service in one way or another.

"I don’t have a lot of spare time, but I do have some time and I think that’s important. Just giving back to my community is enough for me, to be recognized for it on such a grand scale with my family present was an amazing experience.”

Feeley is a recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (with two bronze service stars), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon (with one bronze service star), Marine Security Guard Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait).

He also received the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security’s Meritorious Service Silver Medal in 2016. This award recognizes “exceptional individual leadership that is distinguished by achievements of marked significance” and is the second highest award given by the Secretary.

Feeley is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Le Roy Rotary, Association of Rochester Police and Area Law Enforcement Retirees and Genesee County Criminal Justice Advisory Council. He is also an active member of the Le Roy Fire Department.

May 20, 2019 - 5:36pm

Above, the Byron-Bergen Girls Varsity Softball Team, York Varsity Softball Team, and local veterans participating in the ceremony.

Submitted photos and press release:

On Tuesday, May 14, the Byron-Bergen Girls Varsity Softball Team honored several local veterans in their Second Annual Wounded Warrior Foundation Charity Game and Fundraiser.

The event featured a moment of silence, an escorted procession to home plate, and a salute to the flag. In addition, the Varsity team joined forces with visiting York players to raise more than $3,000 for the Wounded Warrior Foundation.

“The players are passionate about supporting this cause,” said Head Softball Coach Mariah LaSpina. “Many of them have relatives who have served and a few of them plan to enter service themselves aftergraduation. I’m proud of their dedication to supporting and honoring our service men and women.”

In attendance were several veterans currently with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department as well as veterans from the local community. In a touching moment, three of the Varsity players escorted their grandfathers to home plate in honor of their service.

“As a veteran, I can’t tell you how proud I am of the softball program,” said Byron-Bergen Athletic Director Rich Hannan. “Coach LaSpina and the players really own this project from start to finish and I applaud them.”

Photos by Gretchen Spittler.

Below, Byron-Bergen School Resource Office and Marine Corps veteran Matthew Butler escorted by Byron-Bergen Girls Varsity Softball players Lizzy and Becca.

Below, veterans and players face the flag for the National Anthem.

Below, Vietnam veteran Fred Bauer Jr., escorted by his granddaughter Chloe and fellow teammate Lucy.

May 18, 2019 - 2:37pm

An invitation from Bob Bialkowski, Batavia City councilman at large:

This is an invitation to all members of the community to participate in this year’s Batavia Memorial Day parade on Memorial Day Monday May 27th.

The City of Batavia is sponsoring the parade and we are looking forward to another great turnout.

The parade will kick off at 9:45 a.m from the Eastown Plaza on East Main Street and end at the Alva Place parking lot downtown. People can then attend the Veterans Memorial Service at the Memorial site across the street at the Jerome Center.

Any veterans wishing to participate in the parade can just show up at 9:15. Veterans needing a ride in the parade please contact me.

Any groups wishing to participate please let us know as all are welcome. Please keep the theme of respect to all our veteran and first responders.

Let’s show our support to our veterans and first responders! Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy our annual parade.

Thank you,

Bob Bialkowski

585 409-3624

May 16, 2019 - 3:41pm

Le Roy Village Mayor Greg Rogers, Poppy Girl 2019 Celeste Vescovi, and Le Roy Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau.

Submitted photo and press release:

The Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post #576 has selected the 2019 Poppy Girl, who will be featured in the upcoming Memorial Day Parade in Le Roy on Monday, May 27.

Little Miss Celeste Vescovi will reign as this year's Poppy Girl. She is a kindergartener at Wolcott Street School in Le Roy.

Celeste is the daughter of Sara and John Vescovi and granddaughter of Barb and John Vescovi and Christa Coulon. Also she is the great-granddaughter of the late Don Vescovi (Clarky), past commander and adjutant of Botts-Fiorito Post 576.

Celeste enjoys dance, bowling and singing, especially karaoke; also reading is a favorite pastime.

You can meet Celeste in Le Roy on Memorial Day -- at the American Legion Post, and distributing traditional red crepe paper poppies at Tops Market (128 W. Main St.).

The symbolic flower is given out by the American Legion Auxiliary to raise money and to commemorate the sacrifice of so may men and women who have died fighting for their country. (To learn more about the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program, click here.)

Le Roy's Memorial Day Parade will be held on May 27th, starting at the American Legion (53 W. Main St.) at 10:30 a.m., and ceremonies will follow at 11 o'clock in Trigon Park.

For previous coverage on 2019 Memorial Day plans in Le Roy, click here.

May 15, 2019 - 4:08pm

Notice of Memorial Day events in Le Roy from the Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post #576:

Remembering the War Dead:

Memorial Day services will be conducted on Monday, May 27, at two community cemeteries, starting at Machpelah on North Street at 8 a.m., followed by St. Francis, located on the south side of Exchange Street.

The Post Chaplain will conduct the respective services, followed at each location with a volley by the Firing Squad in recognition of the deceased veterans.

Parade Schedule:

  • Parade forms at 9:45 a.m. in the American Legion parking lot, 53 W. Main St.;
  • Parade “steps off” at 10:30 a.m. SHARPLY, proceeds to Trigon Park.

Ceremonies at Trigon Park:

  • Introduction and “Welcome” by the Post Commander, John Graney;
  • Invocation reading by the Post Chaplain, Gary Bassett;
  • Singing of the “National Anthem” by Mary Brady;
  • Introduction of the 2019 “Poppy Girl” -- Celeste Vescovi;
  • Memorial Day Guest Speaker: Town Supervisor Steve Barbeau;
  • Dedication of Korean War Veterans Bench -- Lynne Belluscio and John Graney;
  • Reading of names and placement of flags for veterans who have passed over the past year;
  • Placement of wreath on the Monument -- Commander Graney, Auxiliary President Marlene McCumiskey;
  • Musical selections by the Le Roy High School Band;
  • Closing with the playing of “Taps” and volley by the Firing Squad;
  • Benediction and closing by the Post Chaplain;
  • Singing of “God Bless America” led by Mary Brady.

As per tradition, all are cordially invited to the American Legion Post Home, 53 W. Main St. for free hot dogs and a soft drink immediately following the ceremonies.

May 4, 2019 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, batavia, news, notify.

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A memorial for Sgt. Duane Arthur Downey, who died March 18, was held at Elmwood Cemetery this afternoon.

Downey, a former Batavia resident, was active duty in the Army Airborne from 1968 to 1970 and in Vietnam for six months in 1970. He was awarded Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, M-16 Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.

He earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in Photography from Rochester School of Technology and worked for Kodak and most recently lived in Bethlehem, Ga. 

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April 16, 2019 - 4:27pm

Press release:

Following statewide and national support for his legislation that would expand MERIT scholarships to protect spouses and dependents of military members who lose their lives in the line of duty and provide them free college tuition and room and board, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is continuing his push for the legislation to become law this year and has launched a national petition to garner support.

“Gold Star families have heard the herald of bipartisan support from state lawmakers in both parties, along with Gov. Cuomo and even President Trump, following the defeat of my bill in committee last week,” Hawley said. “I will continue leading the effort to see that our military receive the benefits they deserve as they carry the tremendous sacrifice of losing a loved one in the line of duty.

"I am confident we can get this legislation passed this year and hopeful that this is the beginning of an era where veterans’ issues transcend political divides and we all can play a part in honoring our brave service members and veterans.”

To sign the petition calling for Hawley’s Gold Star Families Bill to become law please use the link here.

State Democrats defeated Hawley’s proposal (A.2991) in the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee due to the perceived cost it would impose outside of usual March budget negotiations. Assembly Democrats passed a $27 million package giving free college aid to the children of illegal immigrants in late January of this year.

April 9, 2019 - 1:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, veterans, news.

Press release:

New York City politicians on the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee have voted to block legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia), offering discounted college tuition, room and board for the dependents of New York military service members who have died in the line of duty. 

The measure, supported by both Democrats and Republicans, would apply to students attending SUNY or CUNY institutions.

“Downstate politicians have no shame in throwing tax dollars at illegal aliens for their college expenses, but when it comes to family members of our nation’s heroes they turn their backs and vote no,” Hawley said. “The priorities of the Assembly Majority become more confusing and hypocritical by the day and to turn their backs on our veterans is disgraceful.

“It’s truly a disservice to this state and, most importantly, our brave veterans that power brokers in Albany kill truly bipartisan legislation with noble causes,” Hawley continued. “Inmates get iPads, parolees get pardons and criminal illegals get lawyers, but the Assembly Majority cries broke when it comes to our valiant veterans – mindboggling.”

March 7, 2019 - 3:30pm
Press release:
 
Strength In Numbers Entertainment announces the American Warrior Festival Rock 'n' Roll Bowling Party will be held Saturday, May 18th, at the Botts Fiorito American Legion Post 576 at 53 W. Main St. in the Village of Le Roy. It is free to attend and is for all ages.
 
It will benefit the Botts Fiorito post, which is celebrating its centennial this year. In addition to live music and bowling, there will be a military vehicle/aircraft display (vehicles being provided by the Rochester National Guard and private owners) and a Cornhole tournament and more. 

The event is brought to you by the premiere sponsor: The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant.
 
The 2018 event was a success and everyone is looking forward to making it bigger and better in 2019! The American Warrior Festival is known for serving as a tribute to honor our military's active and retired personnel. 
 
This event also donates to a nonprofit veterans' organization of its choice. This year's event beneficiary will be Le Roy's American Legion Post 576.
 
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.
 
It is the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.
 
American Warrior Festival Rock 'n' Roll Bowling Party will feature live music, a military aircraft and vehicle display, bowling, cornhole tournament, prizes, food, drinks, etc. 
 
American Warrior Festival Owner/Founder Dan Clor, who served in Iraq with the Marine Corps sums up the event: "A celebration of our troops, veterans, and American way of life." 
 
Additional local American Warrior Festival 2019 sponsors are: Oliver's Candies, JoshEDesigns.com, Le Roy Hardware, Batavia Legal Printing, Ken Barrett Chevrolet-Cadillac, Watson Guitars, Welding's Most Wanted, I Need Oils.
 
If you are a local business that would like to be involved with our American Warrior Festival as a sponsor or contributor please contact Dan Clor at:
(714) 742-0204 or email  [email protected]
 
For more information visit www.StrengthInNumbersEnt.com 
 
To "Honor A Vet" on our Honor Wall please click here.
December 11, 2018 - 5:36pm

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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.

November 22, 2018 - 11:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in Batavia VA Medical Center, volunteers, batavia, veterans, news.

Press release:

Join folks from the Genesee County Office for the Aging at 11 a.m. on Tuesday Nov. 27 to learn about volunteer opportunities at the Batavia VA Medical Center, located at 222 Richmond Ave. Information, a tour and light refreshments will be provided.

Enjoy a conversation during recreation activities, escort a patient within the facility, provide clerical support, drive veterans to medical appointments, and more.

Put your skills into purposeful action. Call Courtney Iburi, RSVP coordinator, at (585) 343-1611 with any questions or to RSVP. We will meet at the doors near the parking lot to the west.

November 21, 2018 - 1:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, batavia, veterans.

Submitted photos and press release:

CVMA 19-6 Broken Arrow chapter donated $1000 in gift cards to the VA PTSD Residential Programs on Monday (Nov. 19) at the Batavia VA. The gift cards to Walmart, Tops and Target will be used to enhance programming for veterans while at the facility.

It gives us so much joy to able to give back with all the help from the folks that contribute to “Vets helping Vets," an organizer said.

Thanks again to all our supporters!

About CMVA
The nonprofit Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association is a group of combat veterans who joined together to form a brotherhood of men and women who have in common the trials of serving in defense of our country and the love of riding.
 
The association is comprised of combat veterans, supporters, and auxiliary members who share a love of riding motorcycles. Its mission is to support and defend those who have defended our country and our freedoms.
 
The Western New York Chapter is based in Akron.
 
Below, from left, are: Andy McCann, Patrick McCann, Chad Liggetto, Brian Fitzgerald and Nick Pilozzi.
November 11, 2018 - 3:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Armistice Day, veterans, Veterans Day, news, Le Roy, notify.

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George Botts, Cecelia Cochran, Errol Crittenden, Leo Fiorito, Thomas Illes, Edward Kaine, Percy Luttrell, Patrick Molyneaux, Edgar Murrell, George Ripton, Alvin Smith and John Wilder.

Twelve Le Royans who went to war in the Great War, the War to End All Wars, and who didn't return home.

Today they were honored on the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day. The day when a treaty calling for the end of hostilities in Europe on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour 1918 went into effect.

A new memorial to Le Roy's 12 who died as a result of the war was dedicated at Trigon Park with prayers, poems, a song, a reading the names of the 12 names, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of taps.

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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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November 10, 2018 - 1:26pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, veterans, Veterans Day, news.

Press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

 As we approach our nation’s observance of Veterans Day this Monday, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) is urging his constituents and all New Yorkers to set time aside this weekend and thank a veteran or current service member for their dedication and sacrifice to preserving our way of life.

Hawley, the son of a veteran, served seven years in the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves and reached the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He has served on the Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee for more than a decade.

“Military service runs deep in my family and Veterans Day will always hold a special place in my heart,” Hawley said. “Whether it be my annual Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C., to give back to local veterans or my efforts in Albany fighting for various tax credits, healthcare and education options available to our veterans, protecting those who have risked their lives to protect us will remain one of my top priorities.

"I encourage all my constituents and New Yorkers alike to take time this weekend to thank a veteran for their service and pray for those who are still fighting overseas.”

Hawley is a true champion in Albany for our current and retired military members, sponsoring several pieces of legislation to make the “Campaign Service Medal” more inclusive, help veterans start small businesses, and remove admission fees for veterans to state parks.

Hawley also played a pivotal role in ushering in the Veterans Buy-back Bill that allows vets to purchase up to three years of military service back from the state in exchange for a credit toward their public pension.

November 6, 2018 - 3:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in WNYHeroes Inc., news, veterans, notify.

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Genesee County, acting as a pass-through agency for a nonprofit that serves Western New York veterans, is to receive $80,000 in state aid for a program that provides fun group activities for combat veterans and their families.

WNYHeroes Inc. is based in Williamsville and provides several veterans programs, including service dogs for qualifying combat vets and financial aid for veterans in danger of losing their homes.

"We assist veterans if they're three or four months behind on their rent or mortgage," said Chris Kreiger, an Iraq War Vet and president and cofounder of WNYHeroes. "We pay the rent or mortgage, the security, utilities, food, whatever they need. If they fall three or four months behind, we provide the funds in grants, not loans."

Last year's Red, White and Blue Gala raised $300,000 for the assistance fund, he said, and $236,000 of that money went directly to veterans in need.

The ninth annual gala is tonight at Seneca Niagara Casino.

The $80,000 state grant is for the organizations for Operation B.O.O.T.S., which brings together veterans and their families in a casual, non-clinical, non-threatening, safe, fun environments to foster teamwork, networking and friendship. The program's motto is, "From defending our freedom to enjoying it."

WNYHeroes serves 12 of WNY's 17 counties and Kreiger said the goal is to expand to all 17 counties within the next two years.

The Human Services Committee yesterday unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the county to act as the pass-through agency for the state funds.

Photo: William Joyce, Genesee County veterans service officer, and Chris Kreiger and Lynn Magistrale of WNYHeroes.

November 3, 2018 - 2:38pm
posted by Billie Owens in veterans, Veterans Day, news, Announcements.

From William R. Joyce, CSM (retired), director, Genesee County Veterans Service Agency:

"Honor, respect and guard your freedom for it comes from the blood of those who gave their life for it."

Veterans Day Ceremonies Schedule for Sunday, Nov. 11

  • 9 a.m. -- Genesee County Park & Forest (VVA)
  • 10 a.m. -- Batavia VAMC
  • 10:15 a.m. -- NYS Vets’ Home
  • 11 a.m. -- Upton Monument
  • 11:30 a.m. -- Jerome Center (UMMC)

Organizations Participating

  • Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County
  • Genesee County American Legion
  • Disabled American Veterans – Chapter #166
  • Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment
  • Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter #193
October 18, 2018 - 4:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in news, Batavia HS, batavia, veterans.

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Students and staff at Batavia High School are hosting a ceremony honoring Genesee County's veterans at 10 a.m. Friday Nov. 9 at the school.

The ceremony will be held in the auditorium. There will be performances from the high school band and chorus, a student representative speaker, and a keynote speaker, and a reception after the ceremony in the school's library.

The ceremony is open to all local veterans and their families. Veterans who plan to attend should email Jane Haggett, [email protected]. Veterans are invited to include a picture with their response.

Photo: Students Cooper Mattice, Ryan Weaver, Elle Fulton, and Lyndsay Debo. Not pictured, Gyna Gibson, whom Haggett said was the real driving force behind organizing this year's event at the school.

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