Assemblyman Steve Hawley was joined today at the Genesee County Veterans Service Agency by Senator Ed Rath, Genesee County Legislator Gary Maha, Genesee County Veterans Services Director Bill Joyce, and Chris Kreiger and Lynn Magistrale of WNY Heroes, the organization that operates the Dwyer program in Genesee County, to discuss funding of the Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program and the impact the program has on local veterans.
The final enacted budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year included $4,505,000 for the Dwyer Program across New York State, with $185,000 allocated for Niagara County, $185,000 for Monroe County, and $185,000 for Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. This funding was secured even as Governor Cuomo proposed eliminating it entirely in his executive budget proposal.
“As a member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and being a veteran myself, I am proud to have secured this funding for our service members after yet another attempt by the governor to eliminate it from our state budget,” Hawley said. “This funding saves lives, and operating programs such as the Dwyer program is the least we can do for those that risk their lives to defend our liberties.”
"I was pleased that the Dwyer Program funding was included in the final 2021-22 budget,” Senator Rath said. “The services that the Dwyer Program provides to our veteran community are critical. The State has continuously tried to cut or delay this funding, so I am happy that it was included in full."
“We are honored to take care of veterans and assist their families,” said Chris Kreiger, president of WNY Heroes and Iraq War veteran. “Our programs are about providing a hand up, not a handout. It takes more strength to ask for help and even more strength to accept it.
"Here at WNYHeroes, we are no different than you, the veteran. We don’t dress in fancy clothing, we don’t drive fancy cars, we simply just want nothing more than to provide support while sustaining your dignity at the same time.”