Local Matters

Community Sponsors


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.







July 17, 2020 - 1:14pm

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement announces a July 29 public teleconference of the Minority Farmers Advisory Committee (MFAC).

Participants will discuss USDA outreach, technical assistance, and capacity building for and with minority farmers; the implementation of the Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmer and Rancher Grant Program (2501 Program); and methods of maximizing the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs; and to plan mechanisms for best providing advice to the Secretary on the issues outlined above.

The meeting also introduces 15 newly appointed members of the committee.

The public conference call will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 12:15-1:15 p.m. EDT. 

To listen to the discussion, use the call-in number: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694 and the participant code: 2513486#.

The Minority Farmers Advisory Committee is made up of 15 members, including representatives for: socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, nonprofit organizations, civil rights organizations or professions, and institutions of higher education.

Congress authorized the Committee in 2008, and since its inception, it has served to advise the Secretary and USDA on the implementation of the section 2501 Program of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990; methods of maximizing the participation of socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers in USDA programs; and civil rights activities within USDA.

The Committee is managed by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE). Learn more about this advisory committee at the OPPE website.

About the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement

USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, and connects those communities to the education, tools, and resources available to them through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and initiatives.

June 23, 2020 - 2:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, patriot trip, veterans, news, covid-19.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley [kneeling on right] poses for a photo with Assemblyman Michael DenDekker [kneeling on left] and veterans in front of the Vietnam War Memorial during 2018’s Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C. 

Submitted photo and press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today that his annual Patriot Trip to Washington, D.C., will unfortunately be postponed this year in the wake of the COVID-19 virus’ presence in America.

The intent behind this postponement is to protect our veterans who were interested in traveling to Washington, D.C. With all that is known about COVID-19, it was decided that 52 men and women on a bus traveling across various state lines where health regulations could vary radically, and would not be in the best interest of veterans.

Hawley, who has served on the Assembly Veterans’ Affairs Committee since 2006, was just as disappointed about the decision, but understands this temporary pause is in the best interest of the continued well-being of the veterans of our community. 

“The Patriot Trip is the highlight of every year,” Hawley said. “This trip was inspired by Mike Paduchak, a World War II veteran, who asked me to come together with local veterans and host a trip to Washington, D.C. Through the experiences of my father, veterans I have met during previous year’s trips, and my own service in the military, I have gained a tremendous understanding and admiration for the sacrifices endured by our veterans.

"I haven’t missed a trip for 12 years, and I wouldn’t miss it this year were it not for the risks. I am willing to postpone this year’s trip to ensure all of my friends I’ve made through the trip will be healthy to travel next year. And as for next year, I hope to see as many veterans as possible turn out for the tentative trip date of September 16-19, 2021.”

June 10, 2020 - 4:42pm

Press release:

A bill sponsored by Senator Mike Ranzenhofer (S.7012) passed the Senate on Tuesday, June 9. The bill designates State Route 77 between Pembroke Town Park and the intersection of Indian Falls Road in the Town of Pembroke, County of Genesee, as the "Specialist Four Clarence 'C. Jay' Hall Memorial Highway.”

“I am pleased that this bill, to honor Specialist Four Clarence ‘C. Jay,’ Hall, passed the Senate,” Senator Ranzenhofer said. “Specialist Hall served our country most honorably, giving the ultimate sacrifice. His sacrifice to our county should be memorialized and I am happy that we have taken a big step toward doing so.”

Specialist Four Clarence "C. Jay" Hall served as a rifleman in the Army in Binh Duong, Vietnam. He was mortally wounded on Oct. 7, 1969 during an intense attack by enemy forces.

Specialist Hall earned the NYS Conspicuous Service Cross, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with One Bronze Star, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge and the Silver Star, which is the nation's third highest award for valor.

The Veteran’s Outreach Club and the Government classes of the Pembroke Jr. /Sr. High School were the impetus behind this legislation.

The bill has yet to be brought to the floor of the Assembly.

May 21, 2020 - 2:45pm

Genesee County Veterans Service Agency
Memorial Day Schedule of Ceremonies for Monday, May 25, 2020


All ceremonies will include full military honors: Wreath Laying, Rifle Salute & Taps.

7 a.m. – Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Genesee County Park & Forest, sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 193.

8 a.m. – Williams Park (Batavia) World War I Memorial. This memorial honors the 35 Batavians who gave their lives in World War 1.

8:30 a.m. -- Batavia VA Medical Center, at the main flagpole, sponsored by the WNY VA Medical Center.

8:45 a.m. (approx.) -- NYS Veterans Home, at the main flagpole, sponsored by the NYS Veterans Home.

9:30 a.m. – Veterans Plot on Harvester Avenue. This memorial honors all war dead of all wars in Elmwood and St. Joseph cemeteries.

10 a.m. -- Upton Monument. This monument honors the dead of the Civil War, and all wars since.

10:30 a.m. – UMMC Jerome Center. This is the site of the Genesee County War Memorial, honoring all war dead from Genesee County. The names of county veterans who have died since the previous Memorial Day will be read and a flag placed to honor each of them.

Memorial services will be carried out by: Glenn S. Loomis American Legion Post #332; Hansen Brothers Marine Corps League Detachment #951; Veness-Strollo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1602; Disabled American Veterans Chapter #166; and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter #193.


The Batavian -- https://www.thebatavian.com

WBTA -- www.WBTAi.com (recorded)

Video News Service -- videonewsservice.net (recorded) / facebook.com/VideoNewsService (recorded)

May 15, 2020 - 10:22pm

Press release:

The National Warplane Museum (NWM) in Geneseo is honoring WNY healthcare workers and first responders with two flyovers in Genesee County on Saturday, May 16.

At the Batavia VA Medical Center, the flyover will occur at 11:20 a.m. (give or take 10 minutes).

At United Memorial Medical Center, the flyover will occur at 11:24 a.m. (give or take 10 minutes).

"Operation Thanks From Above" will feature NWM's very own Douglas C-47, affectionately named "Whiskey 7," and it will take to the skies accompanied by one other aircraft, a P-51 Mustang named "Mad Max."

The flight will salute the local first responders, medical and essential workers who have served and conitue to serve the WNY region during the coronavirus pandemic.

We hope you can attend and view a flyover. VA medical and UMMC staff members working on Saturday have been notified. 

  • Batavia viewing – in front of Building 1, near Outpatient Entrance, 222 Richmond Ave., Batavia.
  • UMMC viewing is at 330 Summit St., Batavia.

Parking is plentiful and free.



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

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

Video submitted by VA Western NY Healthcare System.

April 1, 2020 - 3:25pm

Press release:

VA Western New York Healthcare System is committed to providing high-quality care while keeping veterans safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Due to COVID-19 precautionary measures and out of concern for our veterans, we are honoring current social isolation and distancing guidelines,” said Michael J. Swartz, executive director, VA Western New York Healthcare System.

“Through VA’s virtual care tools, we are able to leverage available technology to make sure that our patients and staff are as safe as possible during this time.”

To help us address our Veterans’ most-urgent needs first, VA Western New York Healthcare System asks that Veterans use our online tools for routine or non-urgent questions.

Here are some examples:

Telephone or Video Appointments – Veterans can receive care at home — either over the phone or via video using VA Video Connect on their computers, smartphones, or tablets.

To set up telephone or video appointments, Veterans can send their provider a secure message on My HealtheVet by visiting myhealth.va.gov. Veterans may also call, but VA is requesting that veterans only call with urgent needs at this time.

To learn more about VA Video Connect, click here.

Prescription Refills – Veterans can request prescription refills and order and ship medications to their homes using My HealtheVet or the Rx Refill mobile app. Download the app at mobile.va.gov/app/rx-refill.

Text Message Reminders – Veterans can use Annie’s Coronavirus Precautions protocol to send automated text messages with information about COVID-19.

This application helps Veterans monitor for symptoms and can assist if they need to contact their VA facility for care. Enroll at mobile.va.gov/annie.

Secure Messaging – With My HealtheVet, VA’s online patient portal, Veterans can send online secure messages to your VA health care team to ask them nonurgent health questions. Register at www.myhealth.va.gov.

For more information about VA’s Connected Care technologies, visit connectedcare.va.gov or buffalo.va.gov.

February 19, 2020 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, steve hawley, veterans.

Press release:

Assemblymen Steve Hawley (Batavia) and Jake Ashby (Castleton), both veterans themselves, alongside their colleagues in the Assembly Minority Conference co-hosted a “Voices for Veterans” event today at the American Legion Cottreall-Warner Post 942 in Webster, where they called for the immediate restoration of Gov. Cuomo’s planned $5.68 million cut to veterans’ services.

Gov. Cuomo’s 2020-2021 Executive Budget takes aim at initiatives that range from helping soldiers manage PTSD and mental health challenges, to enabling veterans to find job-training and successful careers, to improving access to VA services and quality healthcare.

“Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much to serve and protect our great nation. They have more than earned our support – this is why I am fighting to restore $6 million in funding for veterans programs,” said Ashby, the ranking Republican member on the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Every year the governor tries to chip away at funding for veterans – funding that provides mental health services and critical help with the transition to civilian life. We won’t let him get away with it. New York must restore its support and commitment to veterans now.”

The largest cut proposed is to the wildly successful, popular Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Program. The governor’s budget eliminates more than $4 million from the counseling program that allows veterans to connect with other men and women who have served in the Armed Forces and are facing challenges similar to their own.

“These programs are the life blood of our veterans’ support network. Gutting funding for them is a slap in the face to the men and women who have risked their lives to protect ours,” Hawley said. “This isn’t a game. I am calling on Andrew Cuomo to restore his proposed funding cuts and stop playing politics with the well-being of our veterans.”

Among some of the other veteran-related programs facing funding cuts are:

  • Helmets-to-Hardhats: $200,000—Assists post-9/11 veterans’ transition into careers in the building trades.
  • Clear Path for Veterans: $200,000—Serves as a key source for veterans in upstate New York to access resources and programs including professional skills and training development, peer and wingman services and K-9 therapy programs.
  • NYS Defenders Association Veterans Defense Program: $500,000—Provides training, legal assistance and support to provide representation of veterans and service members involved in the criminal or family court systems.
  • SAGE Veterans Project: $100,000—SAGE advocates and offers services that help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults who are veterans of military service improve their access to the VA and other veteran services, as well as support their overall health and wellness.
  • Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project: $200,000—Provide assistance with applying for veterans benefits and representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals and in federal court, at no cost to veterans, when benefits are denied.

“The governor’s budget includes $178 billion in spending. In recent years, he’s fought to use your tax dollars to give illegal immigrants free healthcare, free college tuition and driver’s licenses," said Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (Canandaigua). "He wants taxpayer-funded political campaigns. He continually finds public contracts for his biggest political donors. At the same time, his budget would cut funding for veterans’ services by millions and millions of dollars. It’s unconscionable, and he should be ashamed. I’m proud to join my colleagues in fighting to restore this funding. Our veterans represent the very best of us, and the very best is exactly what they deserve from their government when they come home.”

Assemblyman Mark Johns (Webster) said “Veterans have sacrificed everything – their lives, time with their families and friends, their personal and professional goals – in order to protect our freedoms. It is vital that we do everything we can to show our appreciation, and ensuring the future of programs like the Joseph P. Dwyer Veterans Peer Counseling Program is a great place to start. This program works. It is a proven life saver and its funding must be restored in this year’s budget."

“Why does the Governor always have to mess with the funding that our veterans hold dear?” asked Assemblyman Peter Lawrence (Greece). “Every year he finds it necessary to play political ping-pong with funding that is crucial to our veteran’s services. Services like the Dwyer Program should never be in jeopardy of being cut from the budget, and it seems like year in and year out the governor uses this funding as a political pawn during budget negotiations. I remain adamant about seeing it restored, and believe with continued pressure it will be included in the final budget.”

“Unfortunately, Gov. Cuomo’s planned cut to veterans’ services is not the first of its kind,” said Marjorie Byrnes (Caledonia). “For the past four years, the Dwyer Program, a peer-to-peer counseling service, has been nixed from his Executive Budget. The very people who fight for our freedom should never have to worry about losing services dear to them. As budget negotiations continue in the coming months, know that I will fight to see this funding restored and available for all counties.”

“It is an absolute travesty that the governor has, yet again, for the fourth year in a row, proposed a cut to funding for programs relating to veterans’ mental health,” said Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (Lyons). “I applaud Assemblyman Jake Ashby and Assemblyman Steve Hawley for taking charge with the 'Voices for Veterans' events to call for Gov. Cuomo to restore services immediately. I fully support this motion and hope to see the governor not only restore this back to the budget immediately but to increase the funding as well so all of our veterans are well taken care of.”

The Conference is also pushing to codify the expansion of the MERIT scholarship program for Gold Star Families by enacting it into law. After public outrage about the scholarship being threatened last year, the program was temporarily saved due to an executive order. Members of the Assembly Minority Conference are pushing for the scholarship to be properly passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

February 18, 2020 - 11:29am
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, steve hawley, veterans.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced today that he will join Assemblyman Jake Ashby local veterans and members of the Assembly Minority Conference tomorrow morning, Feb. 19, for the first of several events calling on Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders to restore proposed cuts to vital veterans’ programs in this year’s budget due on April 1.

The assemblymen are calling for the immediate restoration of Gov. Cuomo’s planned $5.68 million cut to veterans’ services in the 2020-21 Executive Budget.

The largest cut proposed is to the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer-to-Peer Program. The governor’s budget eliminates more than $4 million from the counseling program that allows veterans to connect with other men and women who have served in the armed forces and are facing challenges similar to their own.

“Too many veterans come home after serving their country living with the horrors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and to cut these programs that are vital to protecting our nation’s heroes is an utter disgrace,” Hawley said. “Our veterans deserve to feel protected and cared for just as they have protected us from enemies foreign and domestic.

"In a budget that exceeds $170 billion eliminating vital programs for our veterans should be the last we are focusing on. I am hopeful we can call attention to the necessity of these programs and work with state leaders to see they are restored ahead of the budget deadline on April 1.”

Hawley, son of a World War II veteran and member of the Ohio Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves, will be joined by Assemblyman Jake Ashby who served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and rose to the rank of Captain. Ashby is the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and Hawley is a longtime member and former ranker.

February 17, 2020 - 12:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in American Warrior Festival, veterans, T.F. Brown's, video.
Video Sponsor

On Saturday night, Dan Clor, director of the American Warrior Festival, threw a party to thank T.F. Brown's and other sponsors of the festival that supports veterans.

February 11, 2020 - 5:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in American Warrior Festival, news, T.F. Brown's, veterans.

The American Warrior Festival -- a free show to celebrate our troops, veterans and American way of Life -- will be held at T.F. Brown's Restaurant in Batavia this Saturday (Feb. 15), starting at 4 p.m. and going until 1 a.m.

T.F. Brown's is teaming up with Strength in Numbers Entertainment for this special event with several live bands, including:

  • Lonesome Road
  • Tetness
  • Zackstreet Boys
  • Vette
  • Zynaptic Gap
  • Axton Landing
  • The Remediators
  • Joel Russlett
  • Old School

Sponsors are: The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant; Oliver's Candies; OrCon Industries Corp.; WMW Welding's Most Wanted; Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew; and The Firing Pin.

T.F. Brown's is located at 214 E. Main St. in the City of Batavia.

December 19, 2019 - 10:58am
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Bereaved Parents of the USA, veterans, suicide prevention.

James Thorman is seeking legislative support – from either a local U.S. Congressman or Senator – to establish a mental health well-being program for veterans and their families.

Thorman has been reaching out to local and national lawmakers as well as Genesee County government officials, Veterans Administration personnel and veteran-affiliate groups, youth bureaus and sportsmen’s clubs in an effort to advance a committee to help those at risk.

The Byron resident has seen firsthand the devastating effects of suicide as two of his daughters succumbed in that manner in 2011.

He first spoke about his proposal in front of Batavia City Council last September, and he continues to contact those who he believes could play a major role in making this program flourish.

“We need to rally the nonprofit organizations to help veterans with the project and we need Congressional help get this off the ground,” Thorman said. “This is not a political (movement), so this means that everyone would be able to get on board (in a nonpartisan way).”

While Thorman is still waiting to find a legislative backer, he has been able to enroll his committee as a new chapter of Bereaved Parents of the USA, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 by a group of bereaved parents from across the country to offer support, understanding, encouragement and hope to fellow bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents after the death of their loved one.

This purpose remains the thrust of BPUSA today.

According to its website, Bereaved Parents of the USA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of BPUSA members nominated and elected yearly by chapter members. All work within the BPUSA organization on both the national and local chapter level is done by volunteers. No one receives a salary within BPUSA.

Known as the Genesee/Orleans/Wyoming chapter of BPUSA, the committee meets at 6:30 p.m. every third Thursday of the month at Richmond Memorial Library.

Thorman said there has to be a “Congressional inquiry” prior to his group being recognized as a viable entity and, subsequently, he is writing letters to attorneys and calling upon local and national politicians to assist him in making this happen.

"This is the reason that when a Congressional Inquiry is petitioned, the Government of State Assembly is the next tier of accessibility for the nonprofit (organization, such as the suicide prevention committee)," Thorman said.

"The establishment of common ground in that no new or changed laws and without setting precedents ... can be the fuel for closing the gap between the numbers of suicides of veterans and the numbers of veterans opting for mental health treatment at the behest of friends or family."

For more information or to get involved in a support group for veterans, teens and others who may be at risk of committing suicide, contact Thorman at [email protected].

December 6, 2019 - 2:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in pearl harbor, veterans, World War II, steve hawley.

A statement from Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) on tomorrow's anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor -- Dec. 7, 1941.

“The attacks on the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor will forever stand as a chilling and infamous day in American history," said Assemblyman Steve Hawley. "Over 2,000 men and women lost their lives defending America’s freedom on this day, but their courage and memory reminds us that our nation is strong, persistent and full of time-honored patriots who will always be ready to stand guard to defend it.

“As the son of a World War II veteran and a veteran myself, I can attest to the dedication and sacrifice of our state’s veterans and active service members and hold them dear to my heart as I strive to give them a voice in Albany. It is important that we take time this weekend to recognize the brave men and women who perished some 78 years ago and thank current service members who are defending our nation at home and abroad today.

“I would like to recognize and thank all surviving World War II veterans and their families for what they have done to protect our country. The men and women of the Pearl Harbor attacks will never be forgotten, and their legacy will always serve to remind us to remain vigilant but forever proud to be an American.”

December 5, 2019 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Western New York National Cemetery, pembroke, news, veterans.

Press release:

Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Randy Reeves along with other VA National Cemetery Administration officials visited Western New York yesterday, meeting with Veterans, Contractors, Federal, State Veterans and County representatives reviewing progress on the new Western New York National Cemetery.

“I am pleased to see work on this moving forward,” said Randy Reeves, under secretary Memorial Affairs. “The team of VA staff, Service-Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business contractors and the community are working together to ensure Western New York Veterans and their families will have access to this benefit, as soon as possible, close to home.”

VA operates 139 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers' lots and monument sites in 41 states and Puerto Rico. For Veterans not buried in a VA national cemetery, VA provides headstones, markers or medallions to commemorate their service.

Information on VA burial benefits is available from local VA national cemetery offices, online at https://www.va.gov/burials-memorials/ or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 800-827-1000.

To make burial arrangements at any open VA national cemetery at the time of need, call the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at 800-535-1117.

Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button