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December 8, 2017 - 3:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in veterans.
Event Date and Time: 
January 21, 2017 (All day)

Help us send off the 2017 Armed Forces Recruits to Basic Training knowing that their hometown is behind them. There will be a lasagna dinner from 4-7 pm followed entertainment DJ/Karaoke for a donation of $10. Raffles throughout the night. All proceeds to benefit Homeless Veterans in the Batavia area getting back on their feet.

November 17, 2017 - 5:08pm

(Pictured, from left, are: Justin D. Calarco-Smith, Doug Doktor, Dan Waterman and Randy W. McIntire.)

Submitted photo and press release:

Today, Nov. 17, local funeral directors Justin D. Calarco-Smith and Randy W. McIntire were honored to present a check in the amount of $1,000 to Dan Waterman and Doug Doktor of the Joint Veterans Honor Guard of Genesee County.

Along with Joshua Smith, James Smith, and Steven Johnson, the funeral directors operate H.E. Turner & Co. Funeral Homes in Batavia and Bergen, Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home in Batavia, and the Burdett & Sanford Funeral Home in Oakfield.

This donation was made in the names of the 38 area veterans who the funeral home group was privileged to arrange funeral services for in the past year.

The Joint Veterans Honor Guard is a dedicated group of volunteers comprised of veterans from across our county. They provide funeral honors to our fallen. The honors include a color guard, the playing of TAPS, and a firing squad. This year, they have rendered honors to more than 66 fallen veterans throughout Genesee County.

One of only a handful of such organizations statewide, Genesee County is extremely fortunate to have selfless volunteers who are at the ready in a moment’s notice. They stand, without complaint -- in the heat, cold, wind, snow, and rain -- to pay final tribute to their comrades.

“We are humbled by the members of our community who selflessly served this great nation. Additionally, we consider it a privilege to care for our veterans and their families when called upon,” said Funeral Director McIntire, whose son is a Marine Corps veteran.

“This donation will allow us to continue to honor and serve Genesee County’s veterans in the manner they deserve for a long time to come,” said Waterman, of the Honor Guard.

The funeral homes plan to honor the veterans they care for annually by making similar donations to a local veterans' organization each year.

November 14, 2017 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in steve hawley, news, veterans.

Press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) praised the announcement of new veteran license plates. The new service branch-specific license plates are available for all branches of U.S. military service: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marines.         

“Our veterans have made a tremendous sacrifice for our country and our state,” Hawley said. “This is an opportunity for each of them to be recognized for the commitment they’ve made for all of us. As the start of a new session approaches, I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass more legislation that will inevitably improve the lives of our veterans across the state.”

The new custom plates, made available for the first time in New York, join a number of others offered in the Veteran and Military series, including the Purple Heart Recipient, Vietnam Veteran and War on Terror Veteran license plates.

In order to purchase a custom plate, New Yorkers are required to validate their military service with a copy of their discharge papers (DD-214 or equivalent documentation) and mail a copy with a completed application, found here.

November 11, 2017 - 3:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news, Veteran's Day, veterans, history.


Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, the day the war to end all wars ended, Nov. 11, 1918. After more wars, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, the day we honor all of those who served to defend freedom.

Today's ceremony in Le Roy included guest speaker Ret. USN Commander Robert “Bob” Kettle, who now lives in Seattle with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.

The 1984 Le Roy High School graduate spoke about the sacrifices Le Roy residents made during The Great War.

The honor roll includes:

  • George K Botts, Private, Co G, 7th Infantry, 3rd Division. Killed in action near Fossoy, France, July 15, 1918. Age 23.
  • Cecelia J Cochran, Nurse volunteer, U.S. Public Health Service. Died of influenza and pneumonia in a military camp hospital, Huntsville, Ala., Oct. 15, 1918. Age 24.
  • Errol D Crittenden, Private, HQ Co, 312th Engineers, 87th Division. Died of pneumonia at Camp Grange-Neuve, Bordeaux, France, Oct. 15, 1918. Age 31.
  • Thomas C Illes, Private, Co G, 74th NY Infantry. Killed when struck by a trolley in Buffalo, Sept. 8, 1917. Age 22.
  • Edward L Kaine, Private, Co B, 59th Infantry, 4th Division. Died of pneumonia in a hospital at Aix-les-Bains, France, Nov. 9, 1918. Age 28.
  • Patrick Molyneaux, Private, Co A, 59th Infantry, 4th Division. Killed in action near the Bois de Brieulles, France, Sept. 30, 1918. Age 29.
  • Edgar R Murrell, Private, Btry D, 307th Field Artillery, 78th Division. Died of pneumonia and diphtheria in a military hospital near Winchester, England, March 29, 1918. Age 27.
  • George F Ripton, Private, Co C, 3rd Provisional Battalion, Engineers. Died of influenza and pneumonia at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, Oct. 10, 1918. Age 28.
  • Alvin A Smith, Private, Co A, 108th Infantry, 27th Division. Killed in action near Hindenburg Line east of Ronssoy, France, Sept. 29, 1918. Age 17.
  • John R Wilder, Sergeant, 50th Aero Squadron, U.S. Signal Corps. Died of pneumonia in an Army hospital at Baltimore, Md., Jan. 11, 1918. Age 27.

Source: The County and the Kaiser: Genesee County in World War I.




November 10, 2017 - 5:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, veterans, batavia, news.


Genesee Community College honored veterans today with a ceremony in the forum.


Batavia High School Band playing the National Anthem.




Assemblyman Steve Hawley speaking. Before and during the ceremony a slideshow displayed photos of veterans associated with GCC.


Jessica Caryl, an aviation mechanist, represented student veterans and read a poem about the flag.

November 9, 2017 - 3:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, batavia, Announcements, military, veterans, tractor supply.

Tractor Supply Co. is offering a 15-percent "Military Discount" for in-store purchases to all active and former military personnel and their dependents on Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11.

There's no limit to savings. Please show your military proof of service at checkout to receive the discount. This offer is not good with any other discount.

The only store in Genesee County is located at 4974 E. Main St., Batavia; phone is 343-0078.

November 9, 2017 - 2:58pm
posted by Billie Owens in veterans, Veterans Day, news, batavia, east bethany, Le Roy.

The following is a schedule of Veterans Day ceremonies in Genesee County:

Friday, Nov. 10:

  • Noon -- Genesee Community College; Located at 1 College Road, Town of Batavia

Saturday, Nov. 11:

  • 9 a.m.-- Genesee County Park & Forest (Vietnam Veterans of America); Located at 11095 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany
  • 10 a.m. -- Batavia VA Medical Center; Located at 222 Richmond Ave., Batavia
  • 10:15 a.m. -- NYS Vets’ Home; Also located at 222 Richmond Ave., Batavia
  • 11 a.m. -- Emory Upton Monument; Located at the junction of Main Street and Ellicott Street (the fork in the road) in Downtown Batavia
  • 11 a.m. -- Trigon Park, Le Roy; Hosted by Le Roy American Legion, will include remarks by Ret. USN Commander Robert “Bob” Kettle
  • 11:30 a.m. -- Jerome Center (UMMC); Located at 16 Bank St., Batavia

Organizations Participating

Genesee County American Legion

Veterans of Foreign Wars of Genesee County

Marine Corps League – Hansen Brothers Detachment

Disabled American Veterans – Chapter #166

Vietnam Veterans of America – Chapter #193

American Legion Botts Fioritto Post #576

Genesee Community College

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

November 3, 2017 - 5:20pm

Information provided by Jeanice Howard, of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576, Le Roy:

Consider buying a brick for Christmas. The Veterans Memorial Brick Program is a great way to honor a special veteran in your life by engraving a brick with their name. These make meaningful gifts.

This practice of pride provides a place of honor and reflection for veterans, their family and friends, and those who desire to show their respects to those service men and women who have and continue to boldly serve our county.

A 4-inch-by-8-inch engraved brick costs $50 (with wording space for 40 characters); an 8-ich-by-8-inch engraved brick costs $100 (with wording space for 60 characters).

The Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576 in Le Roy has been host to numerous events through the years, such as card games, bingo, breakfasts, holiday celebrations, bowling and the site is available to the community for wedding parties and local churches in time of need.

For information or questions, call Brick Committee Chair -- Jerry Diskin 585-721-3076.

To visit Le Roy's Post 576 online, click here:

To view a copy of the order form to buy a Veterans Memorial Brick from the Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post 576, click here.

You can print it out, fill in the blanks, then mail it with your check to the Legion in Le Roy. Checks should be made payable to American Legion Post 576. All the details, including the address, are on the form.

October 31, 2017 - 1:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, news, veterans.


Zach Fuller presented plans to members of the County Legislature on Monday for a 55-unit apartment complex on East Main Street, Batavia, hoping to sway the Legislature to officially support it which will keep the project moving forward.

Fuller said 18 of the units will be designated as transitional housing for formerly homeless veterans.

Fuller is with Eagle Star, which operates a home in East Pembroke to assist homeless veterans. The program is aimed at helping veterans re-establish stable lives, providing assistance in obtaining veterans benefits, counseling, life coaching, and a supportive atmosphere.

The complex at 552, 554, and 556 E. Main St., will provide housing to veterans who are ready to move out of the East Pembroke home, or the one Eagle Star operates in Spencerport. Eagle Star works with the Veterans Administration to identify eligible veterans.

"Many of our veterans don't know they're eligible for Social Security, veterans benefits, or some benefits are not fully activated," Fuller said. "We try to make sure they are accessing everything that they are supposed to be and allowed to access."

The veterans program, which will include an on-site guidance counselor, is funded through a state grant.

The rest of the 55 units in the four-story complex will be designated for people earning under the median income for Batavia.

Fuller said the location is ideal for the community of people it will serve because it is a walkable neighborhood with essential amenities, such as a grocery store, pharmacy and public transportation nearby.

Further funding applications will be submitted to NYSHCR in December.

The property is already zoned for this sort of facility and the project has been approved by the city's planning committee.

Fuller hopes to begin construction in the fall with apartments move-in ready in early 2020.

October 27, 2017 - 5:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in assemblyman steve hawley, veterans, Announcements, news.

Press release:

On Thursday, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) praised the signing of legislation to extend property tax exemptions to eligible U.S. veterans to include school taxes. These exemptions would extend the veterans’ property tax exemption to include school taxes in New York State and will ease financial burdens faced by veterans as they transition back to civilian life.

“As Americans, we owe it all to the brave men and women who fought to defend our country,” Hawley said. “Extending tax exemptions to veterans is one small way we can positively impact their post-military lives. I applaud the signing of this legislation and I hope veterans across the state will benefit from these additional tax exemptions.”

At this time, state property tax laws provide partial property tax exemptions to qualified veterans of the U.S. military, but these exemptions didn’t include school taxes. In 2013 and 2016 the alternative veterans’ property tax exemption and Cold War property tax exemptions were revised to give school districts the option of allowing exemptions. With this signed legislation, all three veterans’ property tax exemptions would apply to school taxes.

August 5, 2017 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, patriots trip, veterans, news, Announcements.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) poses with veterans and their family members in front of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., during a previous year’s Patriot Trip.  

Submitted photo and press release:

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) would like to remind veterans of his upcoming 10thAnnual Patriot Trip to Washington D.C., which will take place from Sept. 21 -24. In 2016, more than 100 veterans and their family members attended the trip.

The Patriot Trip provides these heroes with a great opportunity to connect with fellow veterans and honor the memory of their fallen brothers and sisters.

All veterans, even those who have attended the trip previously or live outside of the 139thAssembly District, can still sign up. The approximate cost of the trip is $375, which includes meals, transportation and admission to the memorials.

“Having the opportunity to meet and spend time with so many local veterans truly is a blessing and I can honestly say I look forward to this trip every year,” Hawley said.

“There is still plenty of room for veterans to sign up, even those who have been on a previous year’s trip, and I encourage all veterans and their family members who are interested to look into joining us on this spectacular journey.”

Attractions Hawley plans to visit this year on the trip include:

  • Gettysburg
  • World War II Memorial
  • Korean Memorial
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • Naval Academy at Annapolis
  • Arlington National Cemetery with wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns

Dinner at the Spates Community Club on Fort Meyer

**Staying at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Md.**

*Early registrants will be visiting the White House, others will visit an Embassy and/or the U.S. Capitol*

If you or a veteran you know want more information about this year’s Patriot Trip X, please call 585-589-5780 or email [email protected]. To view photos from previous years, use the following link: http://vetsdctrip2008.shutterfly.com/.

August 4, 2017 - 10:03am
posted by Jack Keenan in hlom, batavia, veterans, news.


The Holland Land Office Museum honored veterans in a special ceremony at the museum on Thursday night.


July 31, 2017 - 1:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, news, Announcements, veterans.

Press release:

The Town of Alabama Historical Society will host a dedication ceremony of the Town of Alabama Veterans Memorial at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5.

The event will take place at the Alabama Town Hall, located at 2218 Judge Road, South Alabama.

Light refreshments will be served. The Town Museum will also be open.

If you would like more information about the Veterans Memorial, please contact Joe Cassidy, of the Town of Alabama Historical Society at (585) 813-2812 or email [email protected]

July 1, 2017 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, news.


Funeral services were held today for Master Sgt. Charles L. Higgins, a former Batavia resident who died June 19 at age 36.

Higgins served in the Army and Army National Guard from 1999 to 2017. 

For his full obituary, click here.

June 19, 2017 - 1:05pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in news, batavia, veterans.

Press release:

Victor Roberts, veterans benefits advisor, NYS Division of Veterans' Affairs, will be at the Downtown Batavia Public Market this Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to distribute NYS FreshConnect Checks to local veterans.

FreshConnect Veterans Checks are a component of Governor Cuomo's "New York Fresh Connect Farmers' Markets" (FreshConnect) program. The program is designed to assist New York farmers by increasing the sale of locally grown food in communities.

FreshConnect checks will be issued as a one-time annual benefit: 10 - $2 checks ($20) -- one packet per household, per season. Checks will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces of the United States, members of their immediate families, including un-remarried surviving spouses of a veteran.

Employees of New York State and veterans or service members with immediate family members employed by New York State are not eligible for FreshConnect checks.

"Recipients will not require ID," Roberts said, "but they will need to sign a form accepting the program's rules and regulations."

"The checks can be used to purchase fresh produce from participating vendors at the Market," said Market Manager Mike Bakos. "The Market is excited to be a distribution point for FreshConnect Veterans Checks and we thank all of our veterans for their service to our great country."

June 15, 2017 - 4:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in ptsd clinic, VA Hospital, batavia, veterans, news.


As part of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, the VA in Batavia hosted a speaker series today featuring three veterans who have been through the trials of PTSD and recovered.

Dr. Caryn Di Landro, head of the PTSD clinic at the Batavia VA, said the people who attended -- members of the community interested in PTSD journeys, veterans in general, veterans receiving service at the clinic and staff working with veterans with PTSD -- were there to learn more about the experiences of those who have suffered from the condition.

The three speakers were Dr. Jessica Goodell, a psychology intern at the clinic, Marine Corps veteran, and author of "Shade It Black: Death and After Iraq"; Nicholas Stefanovic, from the Rochester Treatment Court and Marine Corp veteran; and, Earl Granville, former Pennsylvania Army National Guardsman and veteran of Operation Joint Forge in Bosnia.

Granville, in photos, told his own stories and the stories of others about the journey from trauma to finding a new purpose in helping others.

This is an annual event open to all members of the community.






June 12, 2017 - 2:46pm

Press release:

As part of National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month, VA Western NY Healthcare System will host its second annual awareness event beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 15, at the Batavia VA Medical Center's Building #4 Auditorium.

The complex is located at 222 Richmond Ave. in the City of Batavia.

"Take a Knee" on PTSD is open all and is intended to increase awareness of the health issues surrounding PTSD and potential treatment options. The program ends at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Attending and sharing their experiences will be:

  • Psychology intern and Marine Corps veteran Jessica Goodall, author of "Shade it Black: Death and After in Iraq," (written with John Hearn);
  • Nicholas Stefanovic, Rochester Treatment Center and Marine Corps veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF);
  • Earl Granville, former Pennsylvania Army National Guardsman and veteran of Operation Joint Forge -- Bosnia, OIF and OEF.

For more information, call Amberley Roberts, LMSW, or the PTSD Program, 1-585-297-1200.

June 12, 2017 - 7:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, news, veterans.


Mia Schrader, a student at Batavia Middle School, read her winning essay yesterday on what the American Flag means to her during a Flag Day ceremony at the VA Hospital in Batavia.

Students at the school wrote essays and made paper flags for the veterans and took part in the celebration yesterday, which included a performance by St. Joe's Brass Band.

All of the student essays were bound into the book to leave at the VA Center for the veterans to read and one copy, along with a Certificate of Appreciation, was given to Stephen Stanko by Frank Panepento. Stanko is a Vietnam veteran, serving in Vietnam from 1967-69 with the Marines.

Mia said she appreciated the flag because it symbolizes the sacrifices others have made so she can live in peace and security and pursue an education and the activities in life she enjoys.

"I think if you can’t talk to the people who have served us and thank them in person for what they have done, then look to the American flag," Mia said. "That is definitely a way to thank the people who have served us."

Listen to Schrader read her essay (mp3).






June 10, 2017 - 11:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, batavia, news.


Karie Schmigel wipes a tear away during a ceremony dedicating a memorial bench for her daughter, Sgt. Shaina B. Schmigel, this afternoon at War Memorial at St. Jerome's in Batavia.

Sgt. Schmigel, a paratrooper, died in a training exercise at Fort Bragg, N.C., May 30, 2014.

During her military career, Schmigel served in Iraq in 2011 and earned the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and Army Good Conduct Medal.


June 9, 2017 - 8:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Flag Day, veterans, va center, batavia, news.

It would mean a lot to Frank Panepento if you would come out to the VA Center in Batavia at 1 p.m. on Sunday to celebrate Flag Day with our veterans.

It will mean a lot to him because it means a lot to the veterans living at the center.

Panepento helped organize the event, which will include a motorcycle procession from Stan's Harley-Davidson and a presentation by students from Batavia Middle School, who wrote essays on what the flag means to them. 

The BMS Art Department also created flags for the veterans.

"For the residents in the hospital, just to know that someone cares about them is huge," Panepento said.

St. Joe's Brass Ensemble, which Penepento leads, will also play.


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