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May 26, 2014 - 9:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, Memorial Day.

Here's photos from today's Memorial Day Parade in Batavia.

To purchase prints, click here.

May 23, 2014 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Mike Ranzenhofer, Veterans Hall of Fame.

Press release:

United States Army Specialist 5th Class James B. Neider has been selected – by State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer – as a New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame Honoree for the 61st District for his gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces and service to the community.

Neider volunteered to serve in 1968 after receiving a bachelor's degree in Education. He served in Germany with the 3rd Armored Division’s 503rd Military Police Company.

“While Jim first enlisted decades ago, he remains committed to serving his country to this day. As a founder of the Joint Veterans’ Honor Guard of Genesee County and with his efforts to locate a National Military Cemetery to the region, Jim’s service to his fellow veterans and their families is unwavering,” Ranzenhofer said. “Jim exemplifies compassion, advocacy and dedication to our local veterans.”

“It has been such an honor to travel to the State Capitol and join so many distinguished veterans as a member of the State Senate’s Veterans’ Hall of Fame. Thank you to Senator Ranzenhofer for nominating me. Working with veterans is all that I do, and this honor serves as inspiration to continue advocating for veterans in Genesee County,” Neider said.

Neider earned Master of Science degree in Education on the G.I. Bill upon completing his military service, then started teaching at an elementary school in Alexander. He retired in 2000 with 30 years of service. He also served as Batavia Town Justice for 14 years. Today, he is an instructor for the American Legion’s Flags for First-Graders program and a coordinator for the annual Four Chaplains’ Sunday. 

Neider has received numerous awards for his distinguished service: the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Expert M-14 Badge. He has also served in numerous leadership positions, including: chairman, Genesee County Joint Veterans’ Council; president, Genesee Veterans’ Club; board member, Genesee Veterans’ Support Network; chairman, Batavia Memorial Day Committee; and treasurer, Genesee County War Memorial Fund.

Jim and his wife, Mary Ann, live in the Town of Stafford.

May 23, 2014 - 9:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, steve hawley, Mike Ranzenhofer.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley and State Senator Mike Ranzenhofer held a dedication ceremony in Attica this morning for the designation of Route 98 as the Genesee and Orleans Veterans Memorial Highway. The designation, passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, covers the portion of Route 98 bisecting Hawley's 139th Assembly District, from the Genesee County/Wyoming County line to Point Breeze.

May 17, 2014 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, music, entertainment, VA Hospital, The Manhattan Dolls.

Veterans and guests at the VA Hospital were entertained this afternoon by The Manhatten Dolls, a group of singers from NYC who perform the great vocal harmonies and songs of the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s.

May 17, 2014 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, St. Jerome's, War Memorial.

Ed Longhany points to the name Richard N. Longhany on the Genesee County War Memorial, which was dedicated today in an hour-long ceremony at St. Jerome's.

Richard Longhany was on a Navy vessal that was hit by two torpedeos from a German U-boat. Some of Longhany's shipmates were rescued, including one seaman who survived 17 days at sea in February weather. Richard Longhany was lost at sea.

There are dozens of such stories about the men and women from Genesee County who died in 20th Century wars, those whose names are on the War Memorial.

It was erected to replace the one that was formerly outside UMMC and it replicates the names and the wars that were on the original memorial.

The names are etched into a very special and rare kind of polished black granite that can only be found in one quarry in India. The granite has a polished black skin, but is white underneath the black, allowing a skinning process to make the names visible. It's the same kind of granite and the same process used on the Vietnam War Memorial. 

The mirror-like black granite will give visitors the opportunity to reflect on the lives of loved ones lost in service to their country.

Anita Dziekan brought a news stories and pictures of her brothers, Rosario A. Mocciaro and Santo Mocciario Jr., who died days apart in World War II. Rosario drowned after the PT boat he was on was torpedoed by the Japanese. Days after the telegram came informing the family of Rosario's death, another telegram came with news of Santo's death, who died in the Battle of Leyte. A third brother was wounded in North Africa during the war.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

May 14, 2014 - 1:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, veterans, manhatten dolls.

Press release:

The Manhatten Dolls will perform for veterans in Batavia beginning at 3 p.m. this Saturday, May 17, and the public is invited. It's free.

Manhattan Dolls have traveled all over the world, performing at different military bases and air shows for United States veterans and service members. This Swing-style female vocal trio sings to the tunes of the 1920s, '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s. A throwback to the original USO group, the Manhattan Dolls have been written about in many publications for their performances and classic style.

The VA Western New York Healthcare System welcomes them to Batavia, where they will perform for veterans of the Community Living Center, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Residential Program facility, and the NYS Veterans' Home.

The location is 222 Richmond Ave., Building #4, Auditorium.

May 8, 2014 - 4:04pm
posted by Billie Owens in veterans, UMMC.

Press release:

United Memorial Medical Center and the Genesee County War Memorial Committee will hold a special dedication ceremony for the Genesee County Veterans’ Memorial at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, at the Jerome Center, 16 Bank St., Batavia.

In the early 1950’s Genesee Memorial Hospital was designated as the Genesee County War Memorial for wars fought in the 20th Century. A monument was placed near the entrance of hospital at 127 North St. that listed all the names of the men and women from Genesee County who died in service to their country during the two World Wars. Plaques for the Korean and Vietnam Wars were subsequently added to the monument.

The expansion and renovation of the hospital at North Street from 2009-2010, required moving the original 1950’s monument to a new location on the campus. The monument was disassembled and the white metal and aluminum plaques were carefully stored. The stone, made of a composite material, could not be salvaged due to extensive damage from the elements.

Hospital administrators met with representatives from Genesee County Veterans groups to discuss the condition of the monument and where to place it following the completion of construction. During this time, observances for Memorial and Veterans’ Days were moved to the Bank Street Campus. Centrally located Downtown, and out of the way of traffic and construction, attendance at the services on Bank Street increased substantially.

The War Memorial Committee, made up of veterans, requested that the new monument be placed at the Bank Street campus. United Memorial, honored to serve as the Genesee County War Memorial, agreed to the new location at the corner of Bank and Main streets. The Hospital also pledged to give funds, originally allocated for moving the monument during the construction project, to the committee to be used toward the new monument.

In November 2011, the veterans held a special ceremony to inter the original plaques in a vault below where the new monument was to be constructed. There is an engraved granite marker identifying its location at the site. To raise the additional funds necessary for the monument, the veterans solicited for donations and sold granite pavers that could be engraved with any veteran’s name, rank and military branch. The pavers will be permanently placed near the monument when the site work and landscaping are completed following the dedication. This will mark the culmination of a nearly five-year-long project to replace the original monument.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend the dedication ceremony on May 17th. Following the ceremony, there will be a reception with light refreshments.

April 29, 2014 - 12:54pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, veterans, business.

Press release:

ROCHESTER, NY — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, along with lead sponsor, University of Phoenix, will host “Hiring Our Heroes – Rochester,” a hiring fair for veterans and military spouses. More than 55 employers are expected to participate with jobs available for veterans and military spouses of all ranks and levels of experience. Companies range from America's biggest employers to dozens of small companies from the region. The event will also include a free Hiring Our Heroes employment workshop focusing on resume writing, interview skills, and job search techniques for military members – past and present – as well as their spouses.

Since Hiring Our Heroes began in March 2011, more than 1,500 companies have hired 21,600 veterans and military spouses as a result of more than 700 hiring fairs. In March 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Capital One launched Hiring 500,000 Heroes, a national campaign to engage the business community in committing to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. Thus far, more than 1,400 businesses of all sizes have pledged to hire 411,000 heroes toward this goal. To date, 255,000 hires have been confirmed toward this goal.

WHAT:    Hiring Our Heroes – Rochester
WHEN:   Thursday, May 8  -- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Workshop begins at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE:    National Guard Armory
76 Patriot Way
Rochester, NY 14624

Interested job seekers should register for free at hiringourheroes.org. Walk-in job seekers are allowed (veterans must provide proof of service).

This hiring event is also being held in partnership with the New York National Guard, Rochester Business Alliance/RBA Staffing, NYS Department of Labor, Veterans Outreach Center, Inc., NY Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR), U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), U S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Goodwill Industries International, The American Legion, and other local partners.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness by addressing developments that affect our nation, our economy, and the global business environment.

HiringOurHeroes.org            @hiringourheroes           FreeEnterprise.com

April 28, 2014 - 6:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, War Memorial.

Crews under the supervision of Derrick Monument put in place today a total of 21 tons of polished black granite from India to serve as the new Genesee County memorial to the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.

The dedication ceremony will be at 11 a.m., May 17, corner of Washington and Bank, Batavia.

The construction of the monument today caps a years-long effort by local veterans to replace the memorial that was displaced when UMMC added on its surgical wing.

"I don't even know if I can put it into words," said local veteran leader Jim Neider when asked what it was like to watch the monument being put in place. "We've been working on it for four and half years. We've been collecting donations for four years. It's the culmination of all those donations and all that hard work. To me, it's like Christmas."

The actual monument costs $125,000. With lighting and landscaping and other expenses, there are more expenses, but a total of $150,000 was raised for the project.

The monument contains the names of local U.S. service members who died during World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The name plates from the old memorial are buried in a spot in front of the monument, marked by tiles that donors were able to purchase and have engraved with their own message.

Local veterans designed the monument and Derrick Monument helped complete the design and plan the construction. While the granite came from India, all of the diamond-tipped engraving was done in Vermont.

Last Saturday, crews poured 56,000 pounds of concrete to create the monument's base.

Max Rapone and Alex Rood passed by the monument on their way home from school this afternoon and stopped to take a closer look. Asked what they thought, Max gave it a thumbs up and said "awesome."

Neider and Dave Carlsen, president of Derrick Monument, agreed it's a beautiful piece of work.

Carlsen praised the work of his design staff, Jackie Earhardt and Ryan McClurg.

"Hats off to the committee for such a nice selection," Carlsen said. "We're certainly proud to be a part of it."

Top photo: Wayne Devoid, Jim Neider, Dave Carlsen, Rick Devoid, and Cassie Carlsen.

November 17, 2013 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Le Roy, moose lodge.

The Moose Lodge in Le Roy honored local veterans Saturday night with a prime rib dinner.

Besides the volunteers (pictured below) who helped put it together and run it, the event was supported by Smokin' Eagle, T.F. Brown's, Le Roy Country Club, BW's, 58 Main and Red Osier. Volunteers included Justin Mattice, Bob Sovocoll, Judy Mills, Shane Burger and the staff at the Smokin' Eagle.

Photos by Shane Burger.

November 11, 2013 - 3:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, Veterans Day.

Local veterans made the rounds this morning of Veterans Day services at locations throughout Genesee County. Starting at the Genesee County Park, they proceeded to the VA Medical Center, the NYS Vets Home, the Upton Monument, St. Jerome's and GCC.

Here are photos from the VA and from Upton.

Bottom photo is from GCC, where the college opened a lounge for student-veterans.

November 11, 2013 - 3:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, steve hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said he's just received word that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed today -- on Veterans Day -- a piece of legislation he sponsored to rename Route 98 from Attica to Lake Ontario "The Genesee-Orleans Veterans Memorial Highway."

Hawley said he was proud that the governor supported his request to rename the highway and that Cuomo signed the bill on Veterans Day.

"We should recognize veterans 365 days a year and this helps do that," Hawley said.

Senators Mike Ranzenhofer and George Maziarz sponsored the bill in the Senate.

"As a proud veteran myself and the son of a World War II veteran and the ranking minority member of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Assembly, I thought it important to recognize what veterans have done for our country," Hawley said.

October 13, 2013 - 4:23pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in veterans, road trip, VFW Post 1602.

VFW Ladies Auxiliary District Treasurer Marge Buckley and Post 1602 President Maura Dibble are proud to introduce their first trip to Washington, D.C., for "Wreaths Across America." It will be the local debut of a national event honoring our nation's fallen veterans.

Open to men, women and children of all ages, the trip is being coordinated by "1st Choice Educational Tours." People from outside of Genesee County are also invited to participate.

The bus will depart from VFW Post 1602, at 25 Edwards St. in Batavia, at 6:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 13, and is estimated to arrive back in Batavia around 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Additional pick-up locations may be added for groups of eight or more.

"Wreaths Across America" is a ceremony in which wreaths are placed on the graves of fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery as well as other cemeteries throughout the country.  Travellers on this trip will get to be a part of the ceremony in Arlington at 8 a.m. on Dec. 14.

Dibble said it gives her "goosebumps" to see many of the wreaths on these graves, especially since some of them belong to unknown soldiers whose families and friends have passed on.

Buckley assures participants that they "will not be riding a school bus." Round trip transportation will be provided on a 56-passenger deluxe motor coach with a built-in restroom.

Price of admission also includes:

  • a two-night stay at the Courtyard Marriott Pentagon South
  • two breakfasts
  • two dinners
  • a lunch voucher at the Ronald Reagan Food Court
  • a Night Illuminated Monument Tour in Washington, D.C.
  • time to explore the Smithsonian Museum
  • a 90-minute tram tour of Arlington Cemetery
  • a two-hour guided tour of the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa.

Cost is $399 based on double occupancy, $359 on triple occupancy, $339 on quad occupancy and $525 on single occupancy.

There are 15 seats still available. For more information, call Buckley at 344-1663 by the middle of this week.

June 26, 2013 - 4:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in veterans.

The YWCA YES! Cafe will feature a Salute to Veterans lunch at noon on July 10th with guest host Assemblyman Steve Hawley, who will talk about his annual trip to Washington, D.C.

Veterans and those currently serving in the Armed Forces will have the opportunity to share their stories during Wednesday's lunchtime program.

The menu will feature: Grilled hotdogs and burgers, a salad bar, baked beans, and apple pie. Cost is $10. Reserve your seat now! Call 343-5808.

The YWCA YES! Cafe is located at 301 North St. in the City of Batavia.

June 11, 2013 - 1:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, steve hawley.

Press release:

A collection of bills supporting veterans cosponsored by Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) has cleared a major legislative hurdle as the bills move closer to passage. The legislation, which has been advanced out of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, would increase access to employment and support services for veterans, as well as implore Congress to join the effort to honor our troops’ service.

"Supporting our troops is the duty of all Americans and has always been a focal point of my role in state government,” Hawley said. “The legislation advanced by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee will ensure that all of our nation’s heroes have access to gainful employment, while expanding eligibility for critical support services that soldiers need and deserve upon their return home to the country they have risked their lives to defend. As the ranking minority member on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for ensuring that New York honors, respects and supports our courageous troops each and every day.”

Legislation cosponsored by Hawley recently cleared by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee includes:

  • A.7561 – expands the eligibility criteria for admission to a New York State Veterans Home;
  • A.7761 – enacts the Veterans’ Employment Act, directing the state to establish a veteran temporary hiring list, which state agencies will use to make all temporary hires where applicable; and
  • K.521 – a resolution urging Congress to pass the Troop Talent Act of 2013, which would improve the path to civilian professional credentials for service members trained by the military, ensure credentials are relevant to civilian industries, and increase access to high-demand industries for service members.
May 27, 2013 - 10:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, veterans, Memorial Day, parade, corfu.

There were about 20 Memorial Day events in Genesee County today. Here are photos from four of them: Services at the NYS Vets Home, the Upton Monument and parades in Batavia and Corfu.

And Ken Mistler's giant flag on the Carr's building.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

May 25, 2013 - 9:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Memorial Day, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) honored the late John Chase, a World War II veteran from Batavia today by presenting his family members with the medals he earned in service.

“Today I am proud to pay tribute to John Chase, a man who fought for and defended the freedom of our county so bravely during World War II,” Congressman Collins said. “I am humbled to present his family with the medals he earned during his time in the Army and want to thank him posthumously for his distinguished service.”

Alongside members of the late John Chase’s family and Chairwoman of the Genesee County Legislature Mary Pat Hancock, Congressman Collins shared how John Chase was drafted into the Army, fought in the battle of Rhineland in 1945, and received a Silver Star for his actions.

As John Chase grew increasingly ill, his family reached out to Congressman Collins’ office and asked for help in securing a new medal. In the process, Congressman Collins’ office discovered John Chase also qualified for a Bronze Star, which he had never received.

“I am very proud of the sacrifice my father made to fight for his country. Replacing my father’s Silver Star and finding out that he qualified for a Bronze Star has meant a great deal to our family,” said John Chase’s son, David. “I thank Congressman Collins for helping secure the medals my father earned and for giving us the opportunity to honor his service.”

Congressman Collins honored John Chase on Wednesday by sharing his story on the floor of the House of Representatives, and thanked all of our nation’s veterans for their service.

May 23, 2013 - 3:32pm
Event Date and Time: 
May 25, 2013 - 9:00am to 5:30pm

This Saturday is the “Ride to Remember,” sponsored by Genesee Veterans Support Network (GVSN) and Stan’s Harley Davidson. This ride honors those who served and sacrificed in defense of our freedoms.

Ride registration opens at Stan’s from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Guided rides begin at 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Maps and directions are provided for those who wish to ride independently. It will be a 60-mile ride with three stops.

May 1, 2013 - 5:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Le Roy.

Photo and press release submitted by Jerry Diskin:

On Sunday, April 21st, the Botts-Fiorito American Legion Post # 576 hosted a remembrance ceremony honoring all veterans of World War II. The program began at 1 p.m. at the Post's home on West Main Street in the Village of Le Roy with opening remarks by Past Commander Gary Gavenda welcoming all honored guests, family members and friends.

An invocation was delivered by Genesee County Chaplain Don Nagle followed by the POW-MIA Ceremony remembering all POWs (Prisoners of War) and MIAs (Missing in Action) from all wars. This was followed by a welcome address by Botts-Fiorito Commander Donald Schafer.  

An introduction of distinguished guests included representatives from the offices of: Congressman Christopher Collins; Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer (Jay Grasso); Assemblyman Steve Hawley (Greg Torrey); the Genesee County Legislature (Legislator Shelley Stein -- District #6); and Genesee County Veterans Service Officer William Joyce.

The New York State Department and American Legion Commander Timothy S. Van Patten were also on hand along with 8th District Vice Commander John Lang and Genesee County American Legion Commander Dave Henry.

The main portion of the program was opened by remarks and a brief overview by Dick Ladd, whose idea to hold such an event fostered this program. Dick addressed the “Special Guests of Honor” and set the stage for the remainder of the event. 

Post Adjutant Don Vescovi then read off the roll call of the World War II veterans in attendance. We were very pleased and felt fortunate to have 23 WW II veterans in attendance. Veterans from Batavia, Pavilion, Stafford and Bergen along with Le Roy made up this distinguished contingent. 

A short presentation was given by “Honor Flight-Rochester” outlining the details for WW II veterans to travel to Washington, D.C, to visit the WWII memorials and other attractions. This was followed by a social hour.

The group then reconvened for the presentation of acknowledgements including proclamations from the offices of the distinguished guests.

The closing ceremony included a ”Remembrance of those no longer with us…” by Post Chaplain Gary Bassett followed by a very moving playing of “Taps” by Samantha Platek. All joined in to the “Salute to the Colors,” which was followed by the singing of “God Bless America."

Back row: Franklin Smith, Donald I. Miller, Donald Nagle, Jack Fay, New York State Commander Nick Pascucci, Dick Ladd, Albert Strobel, Sherman Booten, Timothy S. VanPatten.

Front row: Richard Doktar, Raymond Mancuso, Oliver Cooper, Pat Palotti, Carl Seaburg, Kermit Arrington, Louis Cinquino.

April 11, 2013 - 3:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Le Roy, American Legion Botts Fiorito Post.

Press release:

The American Legion Botts Fiorito Post is hosting a World War II remembrance on April 21st. The reception, open to all World War II Veterans and their families, will be held on Sunday April 21st beginning at 1 p.m. at the Post Home, 53 W. Main St. Le Roy.

Local dignitaries are expected to join with current Legionnaires in recognizing those veterans of World War II who will be in attendance.

The intent of the program is to provide an opportunity for these veterans to join together and renew old acquaintances, share experiences and memories from World War II Era. Transportation will be provided if needed. Contact Post Adjutant Don Vescovi 768-7017.

Pictured: John Graney -- 2nd Vice Commander; Tim Sheflin -- Past Commander; Don Schafer -- Commander; Don Vescovi -- Adjutant; Jerry Diskin -- Vice Commander; and Dave Moore -- of Sons of The Legion.

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