Local Matters

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February 18, 2021 - 2:27pm

Press release:

American Warrior Festival, in partnership with parent company Strength In Numbers Entertainment, is proud to announce the launch of their national virtual event series -- with roots in Genesee County -- in their ongoing efforts to support our country’s veterans and those currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.

The entertainment organization is making its return after the unprecedented circumstances of last year, which caused the team to pause on some of their most anticipated live events.

American Warrior Festival’s spring virtual events are currently open for registration and end on March 25th with more events to follow. All are welcome to register to attend virtually and can participate at their own pace.

“Obviously, we were forced to hit the pause button just like everyone else when the pandemic hit; however, we found that the hiatus allowed us to rebuild and refocus on our mission, and we created an even better experience for our veterans and their families," says Dan Clor, American Warrior Festival founder and owner, Marine Corps veteran, and host of The American Warrior Festival Podcast. With this new virtual platform, we are now able to reach more veterans, and further spread our message."

Clor is partnering with The Firing Pin, an indoor shooting range in Bergen, for the virtual events in Genesee County.

Virtual Event Series Details

2021 AWF Medal of Honor Marksmanship Competition 

You can register and enter your score anytime between now and March 25th.

What You Will Do

To begin the drill, draw at the sound of the shot timer/verbal command/other signal and engage the target 10 times within the 10-second time standard. The objective is to score as many points as possible within the allotted time. Any ties resulting from points in a competition setting are broken by referring to the individual time; the next tiebreaker goes to the fastest engagement of the target.

Once you complete the drill:

1. Post your video in the “Discussion” area of the Facebook event page.

2. Enter your score into the leaderboard.

3. All participants who have completed the drill and entered their time into the system will be entered into a prize drawing to be held on Medal of Honor Day, March 25th, 2021. You will also receive a 2021 American Warrior Festival Medal of Honor T-shirt for completing the event.

For full details and to sign up for the event, click here.

2021 AWF Medal of Honor Virtual Run

National Medal of Honor Day is observed every year on March 25th and is dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients.

“Each branch of the U.S. military awards the Medal of Honor to those who have distinguished themselves ‘conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity’ above and beyond the call of duty,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs official website.

In this time of social distancing, get in shape, connect with your friends and family through weekly trainings and compete for the best final times! Share your photos on social media to enter our weekly raffle for prizes.


1. Signup for the Virtual 5K, 10-miler, Fun Run/Walk or join a team.

2. All times are tracked through the leaderboard to add to the competitive fun.

3. Registration includes a T-Shirt, Medal, 10-percent off gifts and apparel in our merchant store, and partially as a donation to the Veterans Suicide Prevention Organization.

4. Includes a six-week virtual training course led by an experienced trainer and veteran.

To purchase tickets for the Ruck Run, click here.

“Our sponsors and team make this all possible. The tremendous support from local and national organizations, private businesses, individuals, ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise all go to help our veterans,” adds Clor. “This is just the beginning; get ready for more great news to come!”

A VA study on mental health concluded that, on average, 20 Veterans commit suicide a day and that the suicide rate is highest among veterans between 18 to 29. The American Warrior Festival and Strength In Numbers Entertainment mission is to help support organizations working toward veteran suicide prevention.

Help us defeat these horrific statistics through donations, participation, and sharing with others. It’s important to get our message out there, especially during these difficult times.

Partial proceeds from registration for each event go to veteran organizations such as The War Fighter Community FoundationMission 22, and Broken Warriors Angels.

For more information on how you can help support our veterans, please email Dan Clor at:  [email protected].

About American Warrior Festival

American Warrior Festival provides entertainment for the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving in the United States Armed Forces and gives them access to veteran support resources through our nonprofit partners. For more information visit: https://americanwarriorfestival.com/.

About Strength In Numbers Entertainment

Strength In Numbers Entertainment is a concert and event company that creates and promotes events, tours featuring heavy, edgier bands and artists spanning across multiple genres. For more information visit: https://strengthinnumbersent.com/.

February 11, 2021 - 9:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, news, batavia, veterans, NYS Veterans Home.
Video Sponsor

Press release: 

Assemblyman Steve Hawley visited the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia to drop off valentines that were made by first-grade students from Jackson Primary School as part of the Assemblyman’s “Valentines for Vets” program.

A veteran himself, and a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Hawley remained outside of the facility as he left the valentines due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“In what has been a challenging and isolating year for us all, it was my pleasure to facilitate the delivery of these valentines to let our veterans know how much their service is appreciated by the young people of our community,” Hawley said.

“The messages written by the children for our veterans were heartwarming and an encouraging sign for our future, and I am proud of these young patriots for what they’ve done to show our veterans how much their service means to them.”

January 30, 2021 - 3:11pm
posted by Press Release in Chris Jacobs, NY-27, news, veterans.


Submitted photo and press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) has designated Margaret Peri of Batavia as the New York 27th Congressional District Veteran of the Month for January of 2021.

“Western New York is home to incredible veterans who not only served our nation honorably but have returned and dedicated their lives to serving our communities,” Jacobs said. “Margaret Peri has continuously answered the call to serve our nation, our local community, and distant communities that have been struck by natural disaster.

"Her selfless and dedicated service exemplifies what it truly means to be an American, and I am honored to designate her NY-27’s Veteran of the Month.”

Peri served in the Army from July of 1975 through September of 1978. Throughout her military service, she was a Chapel Activities Specialist, and her dedication to comforting and caring for patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center earned her the Army Commendation Medal.

Following her military career, she served the people of Genesee County for more than 38 years in the Department of Social Services. She has also been a dedicated volunteer going on natural disaster relief mission trips to Ireland, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Peri is also a member of the Eight Days of Hope Ministry and has been actively participating in food drives and food delivery for Western New York residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 19, 2021 - 2:32pm

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and his colleagues in the Assembly Minority have written a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the chairs of the Assembly committees on Mental Health and Veterans’ Affairs demanding funds for the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer-to-Peer Support Program be released immediately.

More than $4.5 million was allocated for the program in the 2020-2021 Enacted Budget for the program, which connects veterans struggling with mental health conditions with other veterans to help them adapt to civilian life one-on-one.

“As a veteran and somebody who has served on the Assembly’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee for 15 years, I can’t overstate how crucial this program is and the impact it has on the lives of our service members returning home from duty,” Hawley said.

“The unprecedented times we’re living in have impacted us all, including our veterans, and it is critical we maintain this funding during a period when our mental health is more strained than ever.

"After working with them to fight back the Governor’s attempts to cut the program entirely last year, I am hopeful we will be able to work with the Majority again to insure this program continues helping our veterans.”

December 7, 2020 - 7:55am

From Assemblyman Steve Hawley:

Seventy-nine years ago, America was attacked by Imperial Japanese forces. The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was the day that officially forced the hand of the United States into the conflict that would come to be known as World War II. 

That day saw much tragedy, as did the months and years of conflict following it, which is why we remember it today.

Being so far removed from the attack, it can be challenging for current generations to reflect on why exactly this day is so important. In a time when global war was once again on the rise, and recognizing America’s strength and influence, our enemies had coordinated an attempt to prevent us from pushing back against their own plans of expansion and domination. And in a time when the world was truly just beginning to open itself up, to globalize in the political, social, and economic sense that we know it today, many world powers were making their claim for dominion wherever they could.

Reflecting on the Attack on Pearl Harbor today can bring up many diverse and confusing feelings, especially with where the country is today. Despite the clear, distinct, and harsh rivalry America and Japan had as a result of this attack, today, we remain some of the strongest allies to each other. Despite America’s commitment to the freedom and prosperity of its citizens, there was a period following this attack that many American citizens of Japanese descent saw their freedoms stripped for the sake of aggressive security measures, such as with the case of Fred Korematsu. Tensions rose within the country as a result, leading to a lot of social strife, which was only exacerbated with America’s entry into the war and joining the fight on the Western Front.

This is a day of remembrance: for what followed, absolutely, but also in recognition of the brave heroes who fought in the face of true adversity, in the face of a complete surprise, in the face of losing everything in an instant.

Wartime tactics like these aren’t seen often, and aren’t publicized the way Pearl Harbor was; and to know that there were still soldiers, sailors, airmen, nurses and civilians fighting through those wee hours in the morning to get to another day, to save their fellow American, and to push back against aggression, is something worth remembering.

In the aftermath, 15 Medals of Honor were given. 51 Navy Crosses. 53 Silver Stars. Four Navy and Marine Corps Medals. One Distinguished Flying Cross. Four Distinguished Service Crosses. One Distinguished Service Medal. Three Bronze Star Medals. And following the attack, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal was given to all veterans of the attack.

These tokens of recognition serve as but a small way to show to America, and indeed to the rest of the world, the courage, bravery, and sacrifice those men and women gave all those years ago. Because that’s what we think about when we remember Pearl Harbor.

December 4, 2020 - 4:02pm

Photos and information from the VA Western New York Healthcare System.

In a special virtual award ceremony at the Batavia VA Medical Center this afternoon, a 106-year-old former Army Air Corps captain was reissued a special membership award in the Caterpillar Club.

At 2 p.m. Spruce Lodge Community Living Center resident Sydney L. Cole received a special pin signifying that he successfully bailed out of a damaged airplane and survived by using a parachute to land.

“On January 2nd, 1945 @ 1100 a.m., 2nd Lieutenant Sydney Cole was forced to jump out of his disabled Piper Cub airplane over the skies of Belgium and into German-held territory. He deployed his Irvin backpack-style parachute at an altitude of 1,000 feet and survived the emergency jump.

"He was then automatically eligible to join the Caterpillar Club – a club whose members can only join, quite literally, by accident. All one needs to do is successfully bail out of a damaged airplane and survive by using a parachute. It has been described as the club that no one wants to join, but its distinguished members include aviation pioneers Charles Lindbergh, astronaut John Glenn and former president, George H.W. Bush."

Upon verification of the requirements, members receive a “caterpillar pin” -- symbolizing the source of the silk used to make the first parachute canopies.

"Captain Sydney Cole, we are pleased to be able to reissue the prestigious caterpillar pin to you, as well as the ORIGINAL application for membership that you signed in December of 1945. God Bless America and thank you for the sacrifices you made on behalf of all Americans.”

Cole applies for membership.

Hometown news: Cole recounts the Battle of the Bulge, liberation by the Russians.

Happy birthday wishes to an American patriot!

A special treat for a special club member.

Family and caregivers let their hero know he's appreciated.

Cole with membership certificate in the Caterpillar Club ready to proudly display.

Thumbs up!

December 2, 2020 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in wny national cemetery, veterans, news, pembroke, notify.
Video Sponsor

The WNY National Cemetery, which was dedicated in a ceremony Monday (see video), is now accepting reservations for interments for deceased qualified veterans, according to a spokesman for Veterans Affairs.

Les' A. Melnyk, chief of public affairs and outreach for the VA's National Cemetery Administration, said families and funeral directors who wish to schedule interments can do so by calling the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117. 

Interment dates and times are determined on a first-come, first-served basis in accordance with the family’s wishes and available time slots at the cemetery, Melnyk said.

Information regarding who is eligible for interment at a national cemetery can be found here.

November 21, 2020 - 5:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in VA Hospital, VA, batavia, red osier, 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.


November 11, 2020 - 5:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Veterans Day, veterans, news, batavia, UMMC.


The men and women who have served the United States in military service were honored by local veterans today, Veterans Day, in services at the County Park, the VA Hospital, the State Veterans Home, and the Upton Monument.  

These photos are from the ceremony at the St. Jerome's War Memorial.






Below: A video submitted by UMMC of Dan Ireland, the hospital's CEO, delivering a Veterans Day message.

Video Sponsor
November 10, 2020 - 3:07pm

The 11th month, November, on the 11th day is dedicated to commemorating the men and women who have served in the U.S. military.

As a country, we strive to honor and protect these individuals after returning to civilian life. While there are many mental health and addiction resources available throughout the nation, one issue usually remains hidden -- problem gambling.

It's a problem any time gambling causes financial, vocational, mental or interpersonal problems in one’s life, and it's an issue that affects roughly two million Americans. However, Veterans have elevated rates of problem gambling — at least twice the rate as the general adult population (Westermeyer et al., 2013).

Additionally, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) estimates that as many as 56,000 active duty members of the Armed Forces meet the criteria for gambling disorder.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 5, a diagnosis of gambling disorder requires at least four of the following during the past year:

  1. Need to gamble with increasing amount of money to achieve the desired excitement.
  2. Restless or irritable when trying to cut down or stop gambling.
  3. Repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back on or stop gambling.
  4. Frequent thoughts about gambling (such as reliving past gambling experiences, planning the next gambling venture, thinking of ways to get money to gamble).
  5. Often gambling when feeling distressed.
  6. After losing money gambling, often returning to get even (referred to as “chasing” one’s losses).
  7. Lying to conceal gambling activity.
  8. Jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job or educational/career opportunity because of gambling.
  9. Relying on others to help with money problems caused by gambling.

Compared to the national population, problem gambling may not seem like a priority. However, problem gambling can impact up to 55 percent of the population. It is estimated that each individual struggling with problem gambling can impact up to 10 additional people.

On top of that, problem gambling has the highest suicide rate among all addictions.

“About 50 percent of those with disordered gambling have had suicidal thoughts. Over 17 percent of these individuals have attempted suicide,” (Moghaddam et al., 2015).

Problem gambling is also extremely underreported and low screening rates, especially in the military, remain a barrier. Some initial screening tools that are available include the “Lie Bet” and the “Brief Biosocial Gambling Screen,” which provide basic questions on gambling habits.

What can we do to better assist veterans and active duty members who might have a gambling problem?

•       Increase Screenings for Problem Gambling during routine visits and follow up.

•       Complete screenings after deployment and before reenlisting.

•       Offer education and information about gambling related harms. 

•       Provide a safe space to discuss need for support. 

•       Recommend alternatives to gambling on base and at program sites.

If you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling, contact the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center at (716) 833-4274 or email us directly

November 4, 2020 - 8:00am
posted by Press Release in Tops, veterans, news, Veterans Day.

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 Wednesday, Nov. 11, 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. “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-percent military discount, Tops has saved veterans and their families close to $515,000 on their groceries.

The company’s support of military organizations includes, but is not limited to, support of the American Veterans Tribute Traveling Wall, Honor Flight Missions, sending care packages for troops serving domestically and overseas, VA hospital visits, participation in veteran job fairs, parades and expos. And starting last year, the Tops Stars for Our Troops program in which stars from embroidered U.S. flags slated for retirement are presented to yeterans, active duty personnel, and first responders. Stars are still available for anyone wishing to present one to a veteran, active duty personnel or first responder.

October 30, 2020 - 2:42pm

Press release:

Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) announces that it will also adopt the newly added New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) veteran and active military waterfowl hunt on Saturday, Nov. 14.

This hunt will operate similar to the regular season waterfowl hunt in that individual hunting stands will be decided at 5 a.m. on the morning of the hunt through a random drawing.

The draw will be held at the Refuge Shop at 1101 Casey Road, Basom to ensure the safety of staff and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mapping applications may try to take you to Sour Springs Road, so ensure it is directing you to the Iroquois NWR Admin Building at the above address. 

This is a free hunt for veteran and active military personnel.

State regulations apply including required documentation, which can be found on the DEC website. Refuge specific regulations also apply. Please visit the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge website for more information.

Second Session of Waterfowl Hunting Season

Iroquois NWR will also be open for the second session of the waterfowl hunting season beginning on Nov. 28. Permits will be available online for all blinds on a first come, first serve basis.

Permits will be made available two days prior to the hunt day at 6 p.m. and close at 5 a.m. the morning of the hunt. You will receive your permit for your blind immediately via RecAccess. Since you will select your blind at check out, there will be no morning blind draw.

All other rules and regulations apply.  

For further information please see visit the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge website or contact Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge by email at [email protected] or Visitor Services Specialist Eric Schaertl at (585) 948-5445, ext. 7036.

Iroquois NWR is located midway between Buffalo and Rochester and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

October 6, 2020 - 12:59pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in news, veterans, Hometown Heroes Banner Project.

BERGEN – Three Bergen organizations have joined together to honor residents serving in the military.

The Triangle Club, American Legion Auxiliary and Friends of Bergen are putting together a Hometown Heroes Banner Project to recognize Bergen servicemen and servicewomen who are serving their country in the United States Armed Forces. 

Heading up the project is Donna Gerrard, chair of the Bergen Triangle Club. Others assisting are: Sharon Debottis, Legion Auxiliary representative; Anna Marie Barclay, Bergen mayor; and Pat Swapceinski, respresenting residents of Bergen. 

Each banner will be 30 inches by 60 inches, with a double-sided photo. It will be made of vinyl material and will include a photograph of the serviceman/woman, name and branch of service.

Orders are being taken now through Feb. 26. After the banners are made, they will be stored until they are displayed beginning next Memorial Day in May through Veterans Day Nov. 11, 2021.

Banners will be displayed on poles located on Main Street, Rochester Street and Buffalo Street, beginning on Memorial Day weekend through Veterans Day. Banners will be stored by the village afterward and be displayed annually, but not necessarily on the same pole or street location, according to Gerrard.

To meet requirements for application, all servicemen/women must be a current resident of Bergen and/or a graduate of Byron-Bergen High School, and must currently be serving their country in one of the United States Armed Forces, i.e., Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Special Services, Coast Guard, National Guard.

Each banner will cost the family or sponsor a total of $200. This price includes the banner, hardware for hanging and banner storage. Banners ordered during the year will be stored until they can be displayed. Or any family can request return of their banner immediately following Veterans Day. 

Anyone may become a sponsor of this program by making a personal monetary donation, Gerrard said. Individuals and businesses are welcome to become a sponsor of the project by completing and submitting the sponsor form. All donations will be used for expenses beyond the cost of banners and hardware.

The deadline for submitting Hometown Hero Banner forms for next year is Feb. 26. Applications are available on the Village of Bergen website, at the Village of Bergen office or at Sackett-Merrill-White American Legion Post.

October 5, 2020 - 5:41pm

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is announcing he is now accepting nominations for his Congressional Veteran of the Month program.

To nominate a veteran who is a current resident of the 27th Congressional District to be recognized, constituents can visit https://jacobs.house.gov/veteran-month-nominations to download the nomination form.

Once completed, nomination forms can be submitted to Rep. Jacobs’ office three different ways:

Email the form to:   [email protected]
Fax to (716) 631-7610
Or mail to the Clarence District office at 8203 Main St., Suite 2, Williamsville, NY 14221

“As a State Senator, my Veteran of the Month program was one of the most incredible and truly humbling programs I had the honor of conducting," Jacobs said.

"I am eager to launch this program from my Congressional Office and honor the truly incredible veterans of NY27 for their selfless service to our country and their communities."

September 24, 2020 - 10:11am
posted by Press Release in veterans, news, Chris Jacobs, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) is pleased the House passed three bills designed to improve mental health services for veterans and support homeless veterans: The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019; the DELIVER Act; and The Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment Act of 2020.

"Western New York is home to thousands of veterans, and I am truly humbled by and grateful for their selfless service to our nation. While COVID-19 has become front and center in our minds and news – many of our veterans are still struggling to access critical services," Jacobs said.

"I was proud the House passed three pieces of critical legislation yesterday to expand access to mental health resources and expand access to resources for homeless veterans. Our veterans served our nation selflessly, and I remain committed to doing everything I can to advance policies that support them."

The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019 would create new grants at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to address veteran suicide and mental health. It would also establish scholarships for educating and training mental health professionals, improve information related to care for women veterans, and improve VA telehealth services.

The DELIVER Act would authorize and expand several programs to support homeless veterans and veterans in need of retraining assistance, particularly aimed at supporting veterans significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Veterans Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care, and Treatment Act of 2020 would create several new programs related to emergent suicide care, education programs for family members and caregivers of veterans with mental health disorders, and annual training for VA police regarding mental health.

The bill would also create an Interagency Task Force on Outdoor Recreation for Veterans and require several reports for Congress, including an analysis to meet the needs of homeless women veterans.

September 21, 2020 - 2:35pm
posted by Press Release in news, veterans, assemblyman steve hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (at podium, center) joins veterans and his Assembly Republican Colleagues who have also served in the military to urge for a focus on passing legislation to help veterans.

Submitted photo and press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined his Assembly Republican Colleagues in Syracuse to call for action on a number of legislative items focused on veterans to help support the lives of these men and women and their families.

A veteran himself, the Assemblyman proudly serves on the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, but points to the lack of veteran representation on the committee as a hindrance to passing meaningful legislation.

“I am proud of my record on veterans’ issues and am so honored to work on behalf of our military men and women and their families," Hawley said. "Despite intransigence from the majority in the Assembly, we still achieved important measures, like the expansion of scholarships for Gold Star families, approval of a study on veteran homelessness and more.

"We have much more to work on, but I look forward to a day when there are more veterans serving alongside me in the Assembly. The leadership and character instilled in our service men and women would be a welcome addition to our chambers.”

In the past two years, Hawley helped achieve a number of items for veterans:

  • Expanded scholarships for Gold Star families (A.2991, Higher Education, 4.9.2019; Executive Order 4.19.2019);
  • Approval of tax exemptions to help injured or disabled veterans to refit their homes to increase mobility (A.7289);
  • Authorization of a study on homeless veterans to better provide support (A.5660); and
  • Required the state to closely examine veteran health issues, including PTSD and traumatic brain injuries (A.1804).

Hawley continues to fight for:

  • A veterans clearinghouse to better connect veterans to needed services (A.4395);
  • The “Veteran Owned Business Enterprise Act” to help veteran entrepreneurs (A.4490);
  • Honoring military experience as civil work experience by increasing civil (A.5535) and education credits (A.7999); and
  • Veterans’ health by tracking a list of toxins military personnel are exposed to (A.6421) and requiring coroners to report suicides of veterans and active military personnel (A.38934).

Hawley served seven years in the Ohio Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves, earning the rank of first lieutenant. Thirty percent of the Assembly Republican conference is comprised of veterans, and the Assemblyman wishes to increase this number.

Comments from Hawley are available here.

September 18, 2020 - 7:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in American Legion Botts-Fiorito Post #576, Le Roy, news, veterans.


The Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post #576 this evening honored those who were captured and never returned or lost in war as part of POW/MIA Recognition Day with an empty chair ceremony at their post in Le Roy.




September 16, 2020 - 3:42pm

From Jerry Diskin:

Commander David Rumsey announces that at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18th, there will be a brief ceremony for POW/MIA Recognition Day at the memorial park outside the Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post #576, located at 53 W. Main St. Village of Le Roy.

What is National POW/MIA Recognition Day?

The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.

The event will begin at 6 o'clock sharp! with a brief ceremony, presenting the “POW/MIA” Missing Man table ceremony, followed by a salute from the Color Guard and Firing Squad.

All are welcome to attend. "For God and Country..." 

August 17, 2020 - 12:12pm

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced that video telehealth appointments to veterans’ homes increased over 1,000 percent, as veterans increasingly chose virtual care through VA Video Connect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Western New York, VA Western New York Healthcare System (VAWNYHS) has conducted over 9,000 telehealth appointments between Oct. 1 and Aug. 17.

VA Video Connect allows veterans and their caregivers to meet virtually with their VA care teams on any computer, tablet, or mobile device with an internet connection. As in-person interactions decreased in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VA Video Connect supported veterans’ abilities to continue care and remain safely at home.

Usage of video to home services has been increasing since mid-March with peak usage reaching more than 29,000 appointments per day. 

The increase at VAWNYHS represents a 1,400-percent increase from the same time period in 2019. Other telehealth milestones from VAWNYHS include:

  • All primary care providers can complete Video to Home visits;
  • All mental health providers can complete Video to Home visits;
  • VAWNYHS offers Video to Home in 21 different specialty care clinics.

VA is also taking strides to bridge the digital divide for veterans who lack the technology or broadband internet connectivity required to participate in VA telehealth services.

At the national level, VA is working with strategic partners, through the VA Secretary’s Center of Strategic Partnerships, to increase access to the technology that veterans need to connect with their VA health care team virtually.

“As we near the three-year anniversary of the launch of VA Video Connect, even during these challenging times, VA has and continues to maintain access to high-quality health care for veterans,” said Executive Director Michael Swartz.

“As the service becomes more popular, VA remains committed to providing a seamless user experience to ensure veterans have access to care, where and when they need it.”

Read more about VA Video Connect. For information about VA’s telehealth services visit connectedcare.va.gov.

August 10, 2020 - 4:09pm


More than 1,500 flags received by the local veterans' groups were piled several feet high at the Northwoods Sportsman's Club on Sunday afternoon and given a dignified retirement as prescribed by the U.S. Flag Code.

Title IV, Section 8(k) states, “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.”

The event was organized by the Botts Fiorito American Legion Post #576 in Le Roy and Commander Dave Rumsey thanked Bill Joyce, Genesee County Veterans Service Officer, and the Legion posts in Bergen and Caledonia and the VFW post in Caledonia, each of which provided their communities with a flag deposit box. 

Photos by Philip Casper.







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