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May 17, 2022 - 5:03pm
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The intersection of Route 77 and Indian Falls Road is deemed safe in that it meets or exceeds all state and national design standards, according to a draft report released this week by the Office of Veterans Affairs.

The latest report is based on data and a study by an independent engineering firm, Larson Design Group.

The location is outside the Western New York National Cemetery, which opened a year-and-a-half ago and where two veterans (Christopher Rowell and Arnold Herdendorf, both of Lockport) were killed in a motor vehicle accident in September of 2021.

Glenn Elliott presented the report at a meeting hosted Monday in Corfu by Rep. Chris Jacobs. Elliott is the environmental director in the office of facility planning, construction and facility management at the VA.

"The draft study concludes that the intersection meets NYSDOT standards for sight distances and the US Federal Highways Administration Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," Elliott said. "This is the standard used by roadway managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all public streets, highways, bikeways and private roads open to the public."

He also said, "It finds that the sight distance is at the State Route 77 in Indian Falls Road intersection for greater than design criteria. Concluding sight distances do not propose a safety issue for traffic turning off Indian Falls Road. It concludes neither an all-way stop nor a traffic signal are required for the applicable criteria of METCB. It finds the expected crash frequency not significantly higher than the predicted crash frequency. Therefore safety performance is consistent with what is expected at this intersection. Since November 2020, when the cemetery opened, the crash frequency incident rate did not increase."

And, "The study finds that the expected crash frequency is not significantly higher than predicted crash frequency. Therefore, the safety and performance of the intersection is consistent with what is expected for this type of intersection."

However, because of the interest within the veterans' community in the safety of the intersection, the report reviews seven potential changes to the intersection.

  • Eliminate the existing departure passing zones at the Indian Falls Road intersection.
  • Install a flashing intersection control beacon or alternatively install side-mounted flashing warning devices along Route 77 intersection warning and involves road stops.
  • Install rumble strips on the shoulder and centerline on State Route 77.
  • Eliminate the existing departure and passing zone mentioned earlier.
  • Installed larger right and left stop signs with reflected posts on Indian Falls Road, including placards for cross traffic does not stop at stop pavement markings on Indian Falls Road.
  • Install larger intersection signs on State Route 77.
  • Install a roundabout at the intersection of route 77 and Indian Falls Road.  

None of the possible changes are explicitly recommended though flashing beacons, signage and pavement markings, and a roundabout all score the best when mathematically weighted for effectiveness in reducing accidents.  Roundabouts reduce accidents by 60 percent and fatal accidents by 99 percent.

One suggestion by the study explicitly deemed ineffective is reducing the speed limit approaching the cemetery.

Jacobs said he organized the meeting in order to give community members a chance to review the report and make their own comments about it and potential changes to the intersection. 

"It is clear that more needs to be done to make this intersection safer for our veterans and our families who come to pay respects to our fallen heroes," Jacobs said. "I am committed to working with the veteran community to ensure meaningful changes are made."

For more details and for comments from among those who attended, watch the video above.

May 4, 2022 - 7:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Liberty Square, veterans, ptsd clinic, VA Hospital, batavia, news, notify.

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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

May 4, 2022 - 6:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Liberty Square, veterans, eagle star, batavia, news, notify.

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The ribbon is cut, but Liberty Square, 554 East Main St., Batavia,  has been serving as a residence for as many as 28 veterans since December, and for Zach Fuller, executive director of Eagle Star Housing, that is "mission accomplished."

"Our mission is getting veterans back on their feet back into the community and interacting with the community," Fuller said.

Liberty Square is a collaborative project between Home Leasing, LLC, based in Rochester, and Eagle Star, with financial assistance from the State of New York through Homes and Community Renewal.

"We started the program for transitional 60-day programs, but we knew that if the veteran didn't have anywhere really to go from a transitional housing situation they would face difficulty and not have support services," Fuller said. "Working with New York State and the governor's office and HCR, where they came out with a program a few years ago with a housing-first model that allows us to get our veterans into safe housing. From here we're able to provide support services for them 24/7. We provide them with apartment furniture, any type of toiletries, and day-to-day needs they have. We're here to help them. We're trying to do everything we can to keep them on their progress path back to stability and back into civilian life."

The complex cost $12 million and includes 39 additional one-bedroom apartments, and eight two-bedrooms targeting people with a household income of 60 percent of the area's median income.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said the complex is a welcome addition to Batavia.

"Every study that the City and the County has done since 2010 has identified housing as one of our main needs," Jankowski said. "I realized what projects of this magnitude require. It's a lot of work by a lot of people. I was talking to Zach earlier and he said when this project started, his son was a newborn. And now he's five years old. So it goes to show you how long and how much perseverance it takes to get a project like this off the ground."

That perseverance is paying off, he said, because "for our veterans and those who qualify, these apartments are going to be a much-needed addition to the city. They're going to provide a safe and comfortable space to call home."

Photos by Howard Owens

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Zach Fuller.

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A plaque in the rec room will honor Bill Mosman, the late owner of Mosman Paint, which stood on one of the properties now occupied by Liberty Square for more than six decades. Mosman served in the Navy during World War II.

March 24, 2022 - 8:33pm

Press release:

This Tuesday, March 29 is “National Vietnam War Veterans Day”, it recognizes veterans who served in the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War.

Botts-Fiorito Post #576, American Legion will again this year, be recognizing those who served by conducting a brief, but a meaningful ceremony at the Post, 53 West Main St. on Tuesday, March 29 at 5 p.m. sharp.

ALL are encouraged to attend and participate-acknowledging this significant event.

There will be refreshments served at the Post immediately following the ceremony.

February 15, 2022 - 3:30pm
posted by Press Release in 4H, veterans, news.

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Press release:

The Genesee County 4-H Program participated in a Valentines for Veterans community service project this winter.  The 4-H Fur & Feather Club, 4-H Sheep Club and individual 4-H members created over 250 handmade Valentine's cards for the Batavia VA. 

The Valentines for Veterans project was led by Genesee County Master Gardener Volunteer Pamela Moore in collaboration with Churchville’s Post #954 Legion Family.  Over 2,000 Valentines were collected throughout Genesee, Monroe, and Livingston Counties for the project.  The Valentines were delivered to Cindy Baker of the Center for Development and Civic Engagement at the Batavia VA for hospitalized veterans and veterans in the in-residence PTSD programs. 

4-H is a nationwide youth program that connects youth age 5-18 to a variety of hands-on learning opportunities.  For more information about joining the Genesee County 4-H Program, please contact the 4-H Office at [email protected] or (585) 343-3040 ext. 131.  Enrollment forms are also available on our website at http://genesee.cce.cornell.edu/4-h-youth-development/how-to-join-4-h

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February 11, 2022 - 11:18am

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Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) today delivered nearly 100 valentines handcrafted by students from Jackson Primary School to residents of the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia. Hawley, having served as a member of the military himself, as well as on the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, has for many years facilitated the delivery of these valentines. The occasion provides local students an opportunity to express their gratitude to veterans of the area for what they’ve done to protect America and its freedoms.

“This event is always one of my favorite ones to coordinate throughout the year because of how heartwarming it is to read the appreciation our students have for those who’ve served in our military,” said Hawley. “The patriotic messages written by the children have brought a smile to my face and the faces of hundreds of veterans every time we’ve delivered them. I’m always heartened to see the respect and gratitude young people have held toward our veterans each and every year.”

December 15, 2021 - 6:51am
posted by Press Release in veterans.
Event Date and Time: 
December 18, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

The WNY National Cemetery and the WNY National Cemetery Memorial Council are pleased to announce that they will be participating in the annual National Wreaths Across America Day.

Family members and others will be laying a wreath on the graves of veterans and spouses. The event is open to the public. We suggest you plan to arrive by 11:30 AM.

Speakers:                  David Bellavia, Medal of Honor Recipient

                                    Chris Jacobs, US Congressman

                                    Stephen Hawley, NYS Assemblyman

December 14, 2021 - 4:24pm
posted by Press Release in Batavia Downs, news, batavia, veterans.

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Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming Vice President Scott Kiedrowski, along with General Manager of Gaming, Sean Schiano, Group Sales Manager Mary Bucceri and Director / General Manager of Live Racing, Todd Haight, presented representatives from the Rochester Veterans Court Mentors (RVCM) with a check for $710 to help support their efforts of assisting Veterans with within the court system.

On December 5th a Kris Kringle Craft and Vendor show was held at Batavia Downs and a portion of proceeds from the booth reservation fees were collected in support of the RVCM.  The organizer of the show, Ted Hanes, always chooses a group to benefit from the events he puts on.  The RVCM usually has a fundraising event held during the racing meet inside the Clubhouse but did not this year due to COVID.

“We are appreciative to Ted Hanes and to Mary Bucceri from Batavia Downs for thinking of us, “said Ray Melens, Lead Mentor for the Monroe County Veterans.  “The funds are so important for us to continue our work as we look to assist Veterans who find themselves within the court system.  We strive to identify and treat the underlying issues facing many Veterans to help them get back on the right path.”

About Batavia Downs/WROTB
Western Region Off-Track Betting Corporation is a public benefit corporation with headquarters in Batavia, NY. WROTB owns and operates 11 branches, as well as Batavia Downs Gaming, a standard bred racetrack and gaming facility. Since its inception, Western Region OTB has generated over $232 million in operating and surcharge revenues to the taxpayers of participating municipalities.

About Veterans Treatment Court
The Veterans Treatment Court program is available to eligible Veterans with non-violent criminal charges who have either substance abuse or mental health diagnosis. The goal of VTC is to treat the underlying issues that are at the root of the criminal behavior. With intensive case management, the Veteran is given all the tools they need to return to being a productive member of society. This group of Veterans is further supported by the opportunity to attend a variety of peer groups on a voluntary basis while they are in treatment and after their discharge.

Photo by Howard Owens.  Pictured: General Manager of Gaming, Sean Schiano, Group Sales Manager Mary Bucceri, Ray Melens, Lead Mentor for the Monroe County Veterans, Vice President Scott Kiedrowski and Director / General Manager of Live Racing, Todd Haight

November 26, 2021 - 12:00am

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Several years of volunteer time, energy and collaboration will come together next month for a wreath-laying ceremony at Western New York National Cemetery in Corfu.

The cemetery was officially opened in December 2020, and now for the first time, it will play host to a Wreaths Across America ceremony featuring Keynote Speaker and Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia, the laying of wreaths for at least 700 fallen soldiers, and an Honor Guard, Public Affairs Chairman Patrick Welch said.

“This is the first year, and we feel we’re doing fairly well,” he said to The Batavian on behalf of the cemetery’s council. “We’re at 530 wreaths purchased … from everywhere in Western New York. We’re looking to sell around another 200 by the close of business on Monday.”

Yes, the clock is ticking to buy a wreath for a veteran’s grave. The deadline for orders is Monday, Nov. 29. People have the option to lay the wreath themselves during the event or someone else will take care of it. This link ensures that wreaths purchased are designated for Western New York: www.wreathsacrossAmerica.org/NY0368P

The Western New York National Cemetery Council, classified as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit,  will receive $5 from each wreath purchased. Proceeds will go toward necessary items not provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration due to a lack of resources or legal restrictions, Welch said.

He gave two examples of such necessary purchases. The VA provided a construction trailer to house Honor Guardsmen in between funeral services. Only thing was that it was empty, so the Council had to buy furniture, a refrigerator and/or coffee pot so the Honor Guard could keep warm and relax for a while before heading out again. Another need was for some type of vehicle to transport the guardsmen — who are typically 60 to 80 years old — around the cemetery to designated gravesites.

“So we had to go out and raise money to get golf carts so that we can transport the honor guard around the cemetery through the services,” Welch said. “Those are just a couple of examples.”

Wreaths are $15 apiece. If more wreaths are purchased than needed, the credit will go toward a purchase for next year’s ceremony and burials, he said. The ceremony is open to the public, and Welch recommends that visitors show up early, as seating is limited. Visitors may want to bring a lawn chair to ensure seating for the event.

There is to be a multi-phase development of the cemetery, which will include a columbarium to house cremations on-site. That project and other additions are set to begin in 2022, said Welch, a retired U.S. Marine from Amherst. Although he has been working on this effort for several years, it isn't about him, he said. 

“It’s about the cemetery and those that served this country,” he said. 

Wreaths Across America started as a simple gesture of thanks, organizers said in a news release. The effort has grown into a national movement of dedicated volunteers and communities coming together to "not only remember the nation’s fallen and honor their service but to teach the next generation about the sacrifices made for us to live freely," it stated. This year, there will be more than 2,500 participating locations placing wreaths on National Wreaths Across America Day – Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 – with more than two million volunteers coming together.

“We are forever grateful for the thousands of supporters who dedicate their time and effort to fulfilling our mission on a local level,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America. “These individuals and their communities know the value of remembering the fallen, honoring those who currently serve, and teaching the next generation about the sacrifices made for our freedom every day, and without their continued support, Wreaths Across America would not exist.”  

In May 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration purchased 132-acres in Corfu for $625,000, and acquired two additional parcels of land in 2018. Western New York National Cemetery is a 269-acre Department of Veteran Affairs national cemetery located at 1254 Indian Falls Rd. and Route 77, Corfu.

The council sought permission to include an Avenue of Flags and was granted permission as only one of three cemeteries to have one. The flags hold special significance as having been draped over veterans' caskets and donated for this purpose. 

According to the WNY cemetery website, it serves the needs of more than 98,000 veterans, spouses, and eligible children within a 75-mile radius of Batavia. For more information about the cemetery, go to:  https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/WesternNewYork.asp#hi

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Top photo: The Avenue of Flags, Honor Guard and entrance at Western New York National Cemetery in Corfu. Photos submitted by Patrick Welch

November 24, 2021 - 10:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, pembroke, news.

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Specialist Four Clarence "C. Jay" Hall, a graduate of Pembroke HS, was mortally wounded in Vietnam on Oct. 7, 1969, while allowing his comrades to achieve cover while under heavy fire.

As a result, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

He was honored in another way on Tuesday when Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and State Senator Ed Rath unveiled a marker commemorating a portion of Route 77 through Pembroke as SP4 C. Jay Hall Memorial Highway.

“The story of ‘C. Jay’ Hall’s sacrifice and bravery in the face of danger encapsulates the selfless spirit of our service members and is one that should be remembered for generations,” said Hawley. “Seeing the sign honoring his sacrifice unveiled today was a proud moment after working for so long to make it a reality, so I want to thank all of the local and state legislative partners I’ve worked with in the last year who helped make it happen for their dedication to getting this bill passed, as well as our local veteran organizations, who were of tremendous assistance in advocating for its creation.”

Rath also praised Hall's service and sacrifice in Vietnam.

"Ronald Reagan said, 'we're forever indebted to those who gave their lives so that we can be free,'" Rath said. "Our debt to C. Jay Hall can never be prepared but our gratitude and respect must last forever and endure the test of time.  Naming and dedicating this roadway will remind all who pas here as free citizens,  the sacrifice that Specialist 4 Clarence Jay Hall paid to guarantee our freedom."

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Matthew Moscato, advisor to the Pembroke Veterans Outreach Club, with student Megan Stiles, who came up with the idea of honoring Hall and brought the idea to the Club and did much of the research that brought the project forward to the Legislature and other local leaders.

November 11, 2021 - 2:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Veterans Day, veterans, Upton Monument, batavia, news.
Video Sponsor

A view of Veterans Day at the VA Hospital and the Upton Monument.

And below, a replay of our documentary on the Upton Monument.

November 11, 2021 - 7:58am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in vietnam war, veterans, Veterans Day, news.

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There are many moments in my life when I will see something that triggers a memory. It can be a memory of joy, sadness, or just comfort. You never know when it might happen, but it will transport you back to that time.

This particular day, I noticed the Black POW-MIA Flag flying in front of the new Court House.  I was brought back to 1970 in my college cafeteria listening to a student from the University of Buffalo.  She was standing on a table addressing the issues of a war that would affect all of us.  New vocabulary words were created, such as containment of Communism, draft lottery, and protests. For example, this is the definition of the draft lottery found online today. "A lottery drawing – the first since 1942 – was held on December 1, 1969, at Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event determined the order of call for induction during the calendar year 1970 for registrants born between January 1, 1944, and December 31, 1950."  

Young men were anxiously positioned in front of the television set to see where their birth date would be drawn in the lottery. To this day, Baby Boomers can recall their number. Unfortunately, the flag also states, "You Are Not Forgotten," but when they returned home, they were.  There were no parades, no large gatherings at airports other than their families and close friends. 

Please understand that my father was a WW II Veteran, my uncle fought in the Korean War, and many of my students fought in Afghanistan.  I highlighted this war because it was my war. This article is dedicated to ALL of our courageous veterans.

"Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it… it flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it." -- Unknown

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November 11, 2021 - 7:49am
posted by Joanne Beck in news, batavia, Veterans Day, Attica, veterans.

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Even though there are plenty of ceremonial activities for veterans to attend on Veterans Day, it’s sometimes necessary to bring the ceremony to the veteran.

And that’s exactly what the family members of Eugene DeFedericis decided to do this year. They not only planned a special day to honor his military service, but also for a little public recognition on his birthday, which happens to fall on Nov. 11 as well. 

His granddaughter-in-law, Stacey DeFedericis of Batavia, told The Batavian Wednesday of the surprise. 

“This is a salute to Veterans Day and to Eugene’s 97th birthday,” she said. “This is something special for him and his two great-grandsons. My boys are non-stop listening to his stories; they fell in love with him the moment they met him.”

Eugene, of Attica, is the grandfather of Jason DeFedericis, Stacey’s husband. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was stationed in Germany, France and Austria. A corporal C 5, the grand patriarch likes to share war stories and also serves as a role model for great-grandsons Abel, 6, and 4-year-old Haiden, Mrs. DeFedericis said. 

“He tries to instill being well-mannered and to present themselves to be the gentlemen they’re supposed to be,” she said. “He’s a strong guy, and very polite.”

The family has photos and articles of Eugene from his service days during 1944 to 1947. A framed collection of ribboned medals and one for sharp shooter is behind glass to protect the tokens of his service.

He has a flag up at his home and often wears a veterans WWII baseball cap, she said. Perhaps a given, he is “very, very patriotic,” she said, and used to travel around the county to various veterans ceremonies. He cannot walk as well as he used to, which prompted the family party at his home on Thursday. 

“It’s just a ceremony to say thanks, and for his birthday,” she said. “I’m just trying to do something special for him; it’s to show him he’s loved. I want him to know he’s still loved by us.”     

Photo: Veteran Eugene DeFedericis is flanked by great-grandsons Abel and Haiden, with grandson Jason and son Bob behind him. Photo submitted by Stacey DeFedericis. 

November 2, 2021 - 11:41am
posted by Press Release in veterans, Veterans Day, tops market, business.

Press release:

Tops Friendly Markets, a leading full-service grocery retailer in New York, northern Pennsylvania, and Vermont, announced today that the company will once again offer military personnel and their immediate families an 11 percent discount off of their grocery bill this Veterans Day.

On Thursday, November 11, 2021, Tops Markets will honor an 11 percent discount off of a total order to all veterans and immediate family members in the same household, who shop at any Tops location.  Customers should present proof of service that they, or an immediate family member are a U.S. Veteran, active duty, reserve or retired military personnel to automatically receive an 11 percent discount off of their total purchase that day.

“The respect and gratitude we have for the people who serve and have served in the military is immeasurable, and for that we are forever grateful,” said Frank Curci, Tops chief executive officer and chairman.  “We wanted to support local military personnel by giving back to our associates and customers who have courageously defended our country and made many sacrifices through their military service.”

Tops is a longtime supporter of military associates and customers. Since the inception of the Tops 11% military discount, Tops has saved veterans and their families close to $576,000 on their groceries.  The company’s support of military organizations includes, but is not limited to, support of the Wall that Heals, American Veterans Tribute Traveling Wall, Honor Flight Missions and golf tournament, 10th Anniversary Veterans Race, sending care packages for troops serving domestically and overseas, VA hospital visits, participation in veteran job fairs, parades and expo, and Tops Stars for Our Troops program by which stars from embroidered US Flags slated for retirement are presented to Veterans, active-duty personnel, and first responders.

October 20, 2021 - 9:14am
posted by Press Release in wall of honor, pembroke, news, veterans.

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Press release:

The Veterans Outreach Club is excited to announce that the ceremony for the opening of the Pembroke Veterans’ Wall of Honor will be held on November 21st. The Veterans’ Wall of Honor is open to those that attended Pembroke Schools through high school or left early to serve in the military. Each veteran or current military member will have an individualized plaque with his/her name, branch of service, branch insignia, and year of graduation. The plaques were designed by club members and are made here at school.

The Opening Ceremony will be held on November 21st at 1:00 pm in the High School Auditorium. This is a communitywide event and all are encouraged to attend. This is going to be a celebration of our very own heroes who have served our country. There will be an array of speakers ranging from current and former military, local and state politicians, and members of the Veterans Outreach Club. Also, being invited to attend are the Honor Guard, Patriot Guard, representatives of the local fire and police departments, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Other interested local groups are welcome to attend as well.

The ceremony will also have an important and solemn commemoration in honor of Clarence J. Hall. C. Jay was a Pembroke graduate from the class of 1967. In 1969, he was drafted to serve in the conflict in Vietnam. While engaged in a firefight, C. Jay acted with great courage and was credited with saving the lives of several of his comrades. C. Jay exposed himself to hostile fire from the enemy and placed a devastating volume of suppressive rounds upon the aggressors' emplacements, allowing his comrades to take cover. While maneuvering to a more advantageous firing position, C. Jay was mortally wounded. For his unquestionable valor, while engaged in military operations, Specialist Four Hall was awarded the Silver Star. The Silver Star is America’s third-highest award for valor. C. Jay is the brother of Sandy Hall, a long-time math teacher at Pembroke. Sandy will be in attendance for the honoring of her brother. Pembroke members of the military from the Vietnam Era are being contacted to help in this commemoration. 

After the ceremony, veterans will be invited to see the Hall of Honor for the first time, then all other attendees will make their way through the Wall of Honor hallway. A reception in the gymnasium will immediately follow. We hope to see you all there. Thank you for your support. For questions or contributions, please contact Veterans Outreach Club Supervisor - Matt Moscato - [email protected] or  585-599-4525 ext. 1107 or my cell phone # 716-353-5768.       

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October 15, 2021 - 12:45pm
posted by Press Release in Liberty Square Apartments, batavia, veterans, news.

Press release:

Applications are now being accepted with anticipated move-in capability for December 6 for Liberty Square Apartments on East Main Street, Batavia.

Liberty Square is a 28-unit program located at 554 East Main Street, Batavia, NY, that will serve homeless or unstably housed Veterans with disabilities in a Permanent Supportive Housing environment. The 28 units are integrated into a 55-unit, general occupancy community, being developed in partnership with Home Leasing, LLC. The project consists of a 4-story, fully accessible building with a secure entry system, a welcoming community room, discrete staff offices, to include specific space for Eagle Star Housing staff, in-door bike storage, laundry facilities, fitness center, available laptops, raised garden beds, a fenced playground, and on-site parking.

Liberty Square Apartments includes a fully equipped kitchen with a range, refrigerator, microwave, wall-mounted TV, local TV channels with cable available, and in-unit storage. Heat, air conditioning, hot water, trash removal, and electricity are all included in the rent, and on-site laundry facilities are available at no cost to the tenant. Off-street parking is available. Tenants have access to a community room, bike storage, exercise equipment, and a computer lab. There are eight studio apartments and 20 one-bedroom apartments available. Tenant pays 30% of their income as rent and a stipend covers the rest. No security deposit is required.

Applications are now being accepted with an anticipated move-in capability for December 6, 2021. To qualify, you must have served in the Military, be in a housing crisis, and have an identified disability or case management need. Must meet eligibility and income requirements associated with the Low-Income Housing Tax credit program. Staff will aid in completing a housing application to make this determination.

Eagle Star Housing is a not-for-profit organization in New York State that provides housing services for homeless veterans under the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative. They have a 16-bed transitional housing program for homeless veterans in East Pembroke as well as other programs for homeless veterans in Central and Western New York.

Eagle Star has provided more than 960 homeless veterans with over 81,000 nights of safe housing since opening its doors in 2012.

Applications for the Supportive Housing apartments are available at the Eagle Star Housing website:

www.eaglestarhousing.com/supportive-apartment-programs/

Eagle Star Housing is made possible with the generous donations of community members. If you would like to donate today please visit our website: https://eaglestarhousing.com/donate/

October 7, 2021 - 6:26pm

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Article and photos by Glenn Adams

The Honor Guard was established to provide Military Honors in funeral services for veterans from any of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Western New York National Cemetery Honor Guard for Genesee County is looking for volunteers to help with that important task.

The National Cemetery, located in Pembroke, has become the final resting place for over 600 veterans so far this year. Opened late last year, it provides a place where loved ones can say their final farewells, and thereafter, visit the grave as often as they desire.

They average about 3 funerals a day there, Monday through Friday, and occasionally have one on Saturday. An Honor Guard is there in the summer heat, wintery blasts, and everything in between, honoring those who have given at least a part of their lives for their country.

I witnessed my first funeral there last week. The Honor Guard was on hand to do their part in making a difficult time a little easier for family and friends. John Case was there then, an ex-Marine He was laid to rest his father, who had served in the Air Force. The ritual flag folding, gun salutes, taps, and expressions of gratitude for his father’s service from a grateful nation, lent an air of gravity to the proceedings.

The Genesee County detail, which takes the Monday services, is made up of 47 volunteers, although the numbers dwindle as snowbirds leave for the south each fall, and other commitments take volunteers away from week to week. Tuesday’s Honor Guard is from Orleans County, Wednesday, from Wyoming County, Thursday from Erie County, and Friday’s Honor Guard is made up of Vets from the various surrounding counties served by the Cemetery. Carl Hyde, a Navy Veteran and in charge of the Genesee County Guard, tells me that the last Monday of each month is a service for unclaimed Vets.

But they need help from Veterans in the area who can give a little time to help the families of their fellow soldiers. Who can help out? Anyone with an honorable discharge from the military is eligible. You don’t need to be a part of any Veteran’s organization. There is no requirement for attendance each week. Some vets are only available once or twice a month. Right now they’re stretched pretty thin on some days, for the south is calling some for the winter, and none are getting any younger.

For more information on how you can help, stop by the Batavia American Legion, 8969 Alexander Rd on Saturday, October 9th from 1-4 pm or call Carl Hyde at 585.356.2658. If you are from another county, he can put you in touch with a person from your county to contact.

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September 2, 2021 - 9:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia VA, batavia, news, veterans.

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Friends, family, and admirers gathered at the Batavia VA on Wednesday to join Sydney Cole, a World War II hero and former German POW, in celebration of his 107th birthday.

Cole served in the U.S. Army Air Corps among his honors for his military service he received the Air Medal, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and a POW Medal.

Cole was a forward aerial observer for the 776th Field Artillery Battalion when his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and disabled. In an attempt to bail out from the plane, his co-pilot became entangled with his headset.  Cole helped his co-pilot parachute to safety but by the time Cole could then jump from the plane himself, he was already behind enemy lines. He was fired on by German troops and sustained multiple gunshot wounds.  

When Cole landed he remembered that his dog tags indicated his religion on them. Knowing that he would be sent to a concentration camp and likely killed if the Germans found out he was Jewish he threw his tags as far into the woods as possible.  

As a prisoner, Capt. Cole commanded 150 enlisted prisoners.  Despite his ill-treated wounds and diminished body weight of only 95 pounds, Cole was instrumental in maintaining high levels of discipline and morale among the enlisted men and served as an inspiration and an example of American military conduct while in enemy custody. 

He was assigned to a POW camp run by the Hitler Youth where many of the prisoners were killed.  He was interrogated, beaten, and locked in a cellar of rotten potatoes.  He was fed soup made of grass and potatoes and wasn’t allowed to shower or shave. 

For more on Cole's story, click here.

Photos by Alecia Kaus/Video News Service

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July 8, 2021 - 1:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in DIsabled American Veterans, veterans, ABATE, news.

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At Stan's Harley-Davidson on Wednesday, members of Genesee County ABATE, along with representatives of veterans organizations in Genesee County, presented a $3,000 donation to Doug Titus, treasurer of the Disabled American Veterans van program.

The money was raised by ABATE in early June on a ride, which required a donation to join, that took members from the posts of VFWs and American Legions in the region, where they picked up donations. There was also a 50/50 raffle and the ABATE kicked in the last few dollars to round the donation up to $3,000.

July 7, 2021 - 12:36pm
posted by Press Release in Steve Hawley, news, veterans, Washington, D.C..

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley is announcing his annual Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C., taking place from Sept. 16 to 19, where veterans and their family members are hosted on a tour throughout the area to visit several historical sites and landmarks.

This year’s tour will feature stops at war memorials throughout the D.C. area including Arlington National Cemetery. The first day includes a stop at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. Previous tours have included stops at the White House, the Capitol Building, Mt. Vernon, the Annapolis Naval Academy and various museums.

Participation in the trip is open to all military veterans and their family members and will cost $475 per person (includes all food, accommodation, travel, and other expenses). Those interested in participating in this year’s trip are encouraged to reach out to Assemblyman Hawley’s district office at (585) 589-5780.

“The Patriot Trip has been an important way of giving back to our veterans for years now, so after having to cancel last year’s trip, I’m elated to be able to resume the trips this year,” said Hawley. “This year will be our 14th trip, so I encourage all interested veterans to reach out to my office and join us on a trip to remember!”

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