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Saluting a job well done: VA monuments returned to 'original splendor' courtesy of four Graham employees

By Billie Owens


Submitted photos and information from VA Western NY Healthcare System.

Sgt. Major Bill Joyce, Army (retired), and director of the Genesee County Veteran Service Agency, noticed earlier in the year that our “saluting monuments” representing all the branches of the military services needed refurbishment at the Batavia VA Medical Center.

The monuments are located in front of Building 1.

He then asked employees of Graham Manufacturing in Batavia to restore the monuments. They did so by late July, and in great fashion.

On Tuesday, four employees were recognized by Royce Calhoun, associate director for VA Western New York Healthcare System (center of second photo below).

Calhoun thanked and provided certificates of appreciation to employees of Graham Manufacturing, Batavia, who painstakingly restored and repainted our saluting military branch monuments to their original splendor, says Calhoun.

They are Bob Yungfleisch, Tom Herold, Ed Harding and Pat Coughlin.

"They look terrific! THANK YOU Graham employees and SGM Bill Joyce ... for making this project happen!”




Disabled vets enrolled in VA healthcare invited to recreation therapy skiing at Ellicottville lodge

By Billie Owens

Press release:

On Friday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m., veterans with disabilities will be treated to a fun day of skiing as part of VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Recreation Therapy activities.

Hosted by the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program at Holiday Valley Ski Resort, the ski program will kick off from the Tannenbaum Lodge at 6787 Holiday Valley Road, Ellicottville, which is in Western New York.

Disabled veterans enrolled in VA healthcare are welcome to participate and can register by calling 716-862-6814. 

Ski passes and equipment have been generously donated by the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski Program at Holiday Valley. Though VA transportation to the resort will not be provided, disabled veterans can participate in stand-up or adaptive sit-down skiing at no cost.

“This is a great partnership and winter activity for our veterans,” said Pamela Kaznowski, VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Recreation Therapy supervisor. “Recreation therapy activity like this improves the quality of life of our veterans.

"This could be a veteran’s first skiing experience and a day of camaraderie with fellow veterans, giving them the inspiration to take their rehabilitation to a higher level."

Veterans sought to visit other veterans

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Today, the Genesee County Office for the Aging announced the need for veterans to serve as volunteer home visitors to other veterans.

According to Mary Alexander, director of the Home Visitation Program at Catholic Charities, “We are seeing an increasing number of requests from veterans of the Korean and Vietnam era who are now homebound. The simple act of a weekly visit from another veteran can make a real difference in reducing another’s sense of isolation and loneliness.”

Dorian Ely, director of the RSVP Volunteer Placement Program at the Office for the Aging, reports that RSVP has veterans serving veterans at the New York State Veterans Home and the VA of Western New York Healthcare System.

“We are excited about this new opportunity to place volunteer veterans in assignments where they can make such a positive impact on the lives of other veterans," Ely said.

The Home Visitation Program is a free service to individuals in Genesee County, 60 years of age and older, with a limited ability to get out of their homes and who would enjoy a friendly visitor offering socialization and companionship. Individuals may request services themselves or be referred by an agency or faith-based community.

The program is made possible by the Rochester Area Community Foundation’s Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging. For information on the program or to volunteer, contact Mary Alexander, Catholic Charities, at 343-0614 or Dorian Ely, RSVP Volunteer Placement Program at the Genesee County Office for the Aging, at 343-1611.

Company with site in East Pembroke announces big donation to help vets

By Billie Owens

As conflicts and unrest continue to be commonplace in the Middle East and throughout the world, the spouses and families of our troops continue to struggle both personally and financially at home while their family members are participating in active duty.

The Captain Morgan brand, which has a facility in East Pembroke, has announced a $150,000 donation to Loyola Recovery Foundation, headquartered in Pittsford, through its First Mate Fund (established last year).

The donation will benefit Operation Economic Freedom, a brand-new program of the foundation that focuses on providing job opportunities for veterans, their families and others affiliated with the military.

The donation will be used to recruit and train military spouses to serve as health support specialists and establish a home-based call center to offer assistance to veterans actively recovering from alcohol abuse and other health conditions.

In addition to providing follow-up and transportation services to veterans, the home-based call center will provide more than 30 part-time jobs and enable spouses to work from home on a flexible schedule, affording significant cost-savings in areas like daycare for families with young children.

To date, Captain Morgan has contributed nearly $500,000 to national and local nonprofit organizations through the fund, including Designated Drivers Foundation, Feeding America Tampa Bay, the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and various food banks.

To support the First Mate Fund, upload a picture of your Captain’s Pose and share your legendary story at <>, and the Captain will donate $1 per pose in his quest for One Million Poses and one million dollars to charity.

For more information about Loyola Recovery Foundation, visit <

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