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World War II
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West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee
Walkway of Freedom Spruce-Up
The Walkway of Freedom received a facelift on Sunday, May 7th as volunteers cleaned up the complex and planted new flowers. Organized through the efforts of Kelly Bebak, nine volunteers spent their Sunday morning digging and planting. Donations of soil, mulch and plants were made by Scotts Miracle Gro and the West Seneca Home Depot.
Tools, soil, mulch and plants ready to go Supervisor Gary Dixon lends his "green thumb" to the project
Weeds and dead plants were removed from the three large plant beds at the Walkway and new soil was added before the planting began. Most of the plants were perennials so they will continue to come back each year.
Jim Bebak does some weeding
while Maggie Wilson and Kelly Bebak do some planting
Maggie Wilson, Jim Bebak, Gary Dickson, Kelly Bebak, Stepanie Russo, Chris Marks,
Jim Hinton, Dave Robinson and Jim Manley
The West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee would like to thank Chris Marks and Jim Hinton from Scotts Miracle Gro, Dave Robinson from Home Depot and volunteers Jim Bebak, Kelly Bebak, Gary Dickson, Maggie Wilson, Patti Wangelin and Stephanie Russo for their donations, time and effort to beautify the Walkway of Freedom Complex for the summer. Special people make special places!
Planting is finished
West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee Recognized as 2023 Service Organization of the Year
p>The West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee was named by the West Seneca Chamber of Commerce as the Service Organization of the Year for 2023. This prestigious award was presented at the 76th annual West Seneca Chamber of Commerce Dinner on February 15, 2023 at Kloc's Grove.
Members of Joint Veterans Committee presenting the colors
The evening festivities began with the West Seneca Joint Veterans presenting the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Twelve members of the Veterans Committee were in attendance as Jim Manley and Mark Graham accepted the award on behalf of the entire West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee.
Members of Joint Veterans Committee presenting the colors
Members of Amvets Post 8113
and Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-5
Other awards were presented throughout dinner as William Cleary and Vigilant Fire Company were named as the Chamber Member of the Year, Franco DiPasqua was honored as the Educator of the Year, Great Lakes Pizza Company was named as the Business of the Year and Evan Czamara received the Gerald Hathaway Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. The Citizen of the Year was presented to Supervisor Gary Dickson for all he has done for our community.
Committee members gathered for a photo with Chamber Award and Proclamations from elected officials
(L-R) Dave Dascomb, Ken Herkey, Bob Basher, Frank Weber, Phil Heimburg, Ron Puckett,
Jim Manley, Jerry Johnson, Mark Graham, Pat David, Ray David and Dan Cotter
Chamber Award for Community Service Organization of the Year and Proclamations
This award was made possible by the dedication and hard work of the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee. The Committee would also like to thank our residents, businesses, other service organizations and the West Seneca Town Board for their unwavering support of our veterans.
Thank you to all of our West Seneca Veterans and volunteers for all they have done to help the Committee receive this recognition.
Students from Clinton Street Elementary School Honor Veterans
The Students at Clinton Elementary School are making Veterans Day a little more special by making cards and letters for our local veterans. Students are thanking our veterans and active military for their service to our country. This was a school-wide project with the creation of unique cards and letters from all of the grades at Clinton Elementary.
Cards and Letters from Clinton Street Elementary School
Members of American Legion Post 735 will distribute the Veterans cards and letters to veterans from the various West Seneca Posts, Senior Citizen Center Veterans and veterans living in several Assisted Living & Senior Care facilities.
The messages and artwork from the Elementary School children is sure to bring a smile to all of our veterans!
School Children Honor Our Veterans
Harvey D. Morin, VFW Post 2940 Ceases Operation
June 2022 saw the loss of one of West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee’s charter members. The Harvey D. Morin Post, VFW 2940 surrendered their national charter and is no longer a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.
Donation to VA Transportation
After serving veterans and their community for eighty-eight years, the Harvey D. Morin, VFW Post 2940 turned in their charter to the Department of New York, VFW.
Donation to Buffalo Vets Center
Organized and chartered in 1934, VFW Post 2940 was the home to thousands of West Seneca and surrounding area veterans. Starting with a Post Home on Seneca Street and eventually moving to Center Road, there was always a place for our veterans to meet and help our community. The Post had many World War II veterans and Korean War veterans, followed by our Vietnam veterans, who maintained an energetic membership for many years. With a very active Auxiliary, there was always help for our veterans.
Donation to Vets One-Stop Center of WNY
By 2018 as our World War II and Korean War veterans began to pass away and new membership became a trickle, the Post membership eventually dwindled down to a handful of active members who realized that they could not maintain their Post Home on Center Road. The Post Home was sold and a small office was set up at Southgate Plaza as the veterans attempted to find a new, smaller Post Home. Finally realizing in early 2022, that a new building was not feasible, VFW 2940 members voted to turn in their VFW charter.
Donation to Batavia Veterans Home
With funds from their Post Home sale, VFW 2940 members lived up to the spirit of veterans helping veterans, by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to other veterans’ organizations and non-profit organizations that help veterans. With input from members who attended the final meetings of the Post, a list of worthwhile organizations was drawn up and funds distributed to those organizations. Some of the organizations included VALOR Food Pantry for Veterans, VA Home for Veterans, Veterans One Stop, the Patriot Riders, Volunteer Services for Women Veterans, Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, KIA Road March, Veterans Honor Flight, Battle Dogs PTSD Treatment Center, West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee, WNY Vets Center, DAV Transportation and several other organizations.
Donation to VA Medical Center
We salute all of those who were past members of Harvey D. Morin Post, VFW Post 2940. Your service to other veterans and to your community will long be remembered. Your Post met the mission of the VFW by helping and rehabilitating our needy and disabled veterans, assisting our veteran’s widows and orphans and the dependents of our needy or disabled veterans and promoting Americanism by means of education in patriotism and by constructive service to local communities. Your legacy will continue for years to come through your generosity to the various veterans organizations throughout the area.
- Memorial Day Ceremony - May 30, 2022
Against a sun soaked sky that served as a blue backdrop, the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee held their Annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30th. The ceremony took place on the Walkway of Freedom complex.
Member units of the Veterans Committee, Marine Corp. League Detachment 239, Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW Post 8113, Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-5, AMVETS Post 8113 and Auxiliary, VFW Post 2940 and Auxiliary, 82nd Airborne and American Legion Post 735 and Auxiliary formed up in front of the war monuments and were joined by the West Seneca Police Honor Guard and the Vigilant Fire Honor Guard.
Members of the Navy Seabees, AMVETS Post 8113 and the West Seneca Police Honor Guard
Member units from the Veterans Committee, Police Honor Guard and the Vigilant Fire Honor Guard
The ceremony began with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sung by Ms. Grace Greenan. Greenan, who is the Music Director for Mount St. Mary Academy and is a recording artist, also sang God Bless America. The Benediction was given by Committee Chaplain Ken Herkey.
Grace Greenan performs our National Anthem
Veterans Committee Chaplain Ken Herkey gives the Opening Prayer
Our scheduled guest speak, Colonel Lara Morrison, Commander of the 914th Air Refueling Wing, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York, was unfortunately taken ill and was unable to attend the Memorial Day Ceremony. 1st Lieutenant Lucas Morrow, Chief, Public Affairs, 914th Air Refueling Wing, filled in as our guest speaker, highlighting the meaning of Memorial Day and why we should always remember the sacrifices of our young men and women serving in our Armed Forces.
1st Lieutenant Lucas Morrow gives Memorial Day speech
Grace Greenan, Ken Herkey, Jim Manley and 1st Lt. Lucas Morrow
Members of the West Seneca Women's Club
Elected officials including Shannon Filbert, Robert Breidenstein, Susan Kims and Jeff Piekarec
After the ceremony, the public was invited to walk through a Civil War camp presented by Union Army re-enactors from the 155th New York Volunteer Infantry, the Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps, the US Engineer Brigade, Tom Schobert and the Field Hospital Surgical Unit, the Garibaldi Guard and Fran D'Amico, a Civil War Roman Catholic nun/nurse.
Members of the 155th New York Volunteer Infantry
The public had the opportunity to learn how camp life might have been during the Civil War and had the chance to see several demonstrations, including musket firing, marching and entertained by Civil War era music played by fife and drum.
Many thanks to sound system engineer Howard Orlando and Bugler Jeff Glaub for their participation and assistance.
VFW Post 2940 Makes Donation to Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight
The Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight (BNHF) is part of a national network of independent Hubs working together to honor our nation s veterans with an all-expenses paid trip to the memorials in Washington, D.C., a trip many of our veterans may not otherwise be able to take.Since 2005, the Honor Flight Network has helped make it possible for more than 200,000 veterans from all services to visit Washington and other memorial sites from more than 130 locations across the country. In 2009, Honor Flight Buffalo became an “official” Hub of the Honor Flight Network serving Erie, Niagara and surrounding counties area veterans. Honor Flights are made possible by donations.
Members of VFW Post 2940 present check to Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight
Members of Harvey D. Morin Post, VFW Post 2940 met with members of the Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight on 9 April 2022 to present the BNHF with a check for $20,000.00 to help the Buffalo Niagara Honor Flight continue its goal for Veterans to share in a day of honor at our nation's memorials.
Group picture with Congressman Brian Higgins
45 Veterans scheduled for April 30th Flight
Participation in an Honor Flight trip gives veterans the chance to share this momentous trip with other veterans, to remember friends and comrades lost, and share their stories and experiences with each other.
Eastern Redbud Tree Donated to the Walkway of Freedom Complex
The West Seneca Chamber of Commerce hosted Planting Trees: A How to Workshop, on Saturday, April 23rd in the Community Center. Guest speakers from the Buffalo Green Fund, Re-Tree NY, Cornell Cooperative Extension and several Master Gardeners discussed topics such as the benefit of trees, tree biology, caring for trees and municipal ordinances, among other topics.
The Planting Trees seminar was attended by approximately 36 people from throughout Erie County who were interested in how to properly plant trees in their communities.
"X" marks the spot for the tree
Jim from Re-Tree WNY displays the Eastern Redbud tree
For hosting the seminar, Re-Tree NY donated a tree to the Town of West Seneca for planting. The Chamber and the Town Supervisor s Office reached out to the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee to see if they would like to have the tree planted in the Walkway of Freedom complex. The Committee, dedicated to maintaining a park-like setting, readily agreed to the addition.
Volunteers prepare the ground for planting
Master Gardener Linda Garwol explains the tree root system
The Committee was given a species list of trees to choose from and an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) tree was selected and a spot between the World War II and Korean War monuments was chosen for the planting location.
Stakes are pounded in to support tree
Seminar attendees pose with newly planted tree
Veterans Day – November 11, 2021
Under a partial sunny sky and the temperature reaching 60 degrees, the seven member posts of the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee made the short march from Post 735 to the Walkway of Freedom to celebrate the Town's 49th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony.
Veterans from American Legion Post 735, Marine Corp. League Detachment 239, Navy Seabee Veterans of America - Island X-5, Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW Post 8113, AMVETS Post 8113, 82nd Airborne and Harvey D. Morin - VFW Post 2940 participated in the annual Salute to Veterans.
Units gather for annual ceremony
Chairman Jim Manley presided over the ceremony honoring the service of all military veterans and Chaplain Kenneth Herkey led the veterans in prayer. The guest speaker for this year's program was United States Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Raymond F. Fitzpatrick, Jr., currently stationed at Niagara Falls Air Base. CMSgt Fitzpatrick's remarks stressed the importance of remembering the sacrifice of all veterans and their families while serving in the United States military service. Natalia Pernick, a student at West Seneca Middle School, lent her talent to the ceremony with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful.
Guest Speaker CMSgt Raymond Fitzpatrick, Jr.
Natalia Pernick singing our National Anthem
Following the ceremony which included a rifle salute and the playing Taps, veterans and guests were invited to Legion Post 735 for coffee and donuts.
- West Seneca Memorial Day Ceremony - Monday, May 31, 2021
The West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee held its Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 31st at the Walkway of Freedom. While honoring all service personnel who died in the service of our nation, the ceremony paid special tribute to the heroes of West Seneca who never made it home from the battlefields around the world.
The ceremony included the rededication of the World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam monuments. This marked the first time that all four monuments had been brought together in one location. The World War I and World War II monuments had been on loan to St. Matthew’s Cemetery since 2009, when they were moved from the corner of Union Road and Clinton Street. The Vietnam War Memorial, which had been on display in front of the West Seneca Library, was moved into storage in 2016 to make room for the new Community Center and Library. The Korean monument, created in 2018, was also placed into storage until the Walkway was redesigned to accomodate all the monuments.
(left to right) World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam monuments
The rededication ceremony started at 11:00am with member units of the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee and their Auxiliaries assembled in front of the monuments for the ceremony. The program started with the reading of the names of our comrades who fell in combat from each war. After the reading of the names from each monument, a bell was struck seven times, signifying the loss of life in combat.
Chairman Jim Manley opened ceremony with welcoming remarks
Unit members of the Joint Veterans Committee gathered for ceremony
Members of the clergy, Father Greg F. Faulhaber from Queen of Heaven Church and retired Pastor from the Winchester Community Church, Reverend Thomas J. Dalbo, were on-hand to bless each of the monuments. Supervisor Gary Dickson gave a short address on why we observe Memorial Day and to honor all of America’s military, especially those of our Town residents, for their duty and sacrifice.
Father Greg F. Faulhaber blesses the World War I monument
Supervisor Gary Dickson gave a short speech on the significance of Memorial Day
To honor those service members who had fallen in the service of their country, members of the 155th New York Volunteer Infantry provided a musket salute followed by the sounding of Taps.
Musket salute by the 55th New York Volunteer Infantry
In conjunction with the Memorial Day Ceremony, a Civil War Living History event took place along the Walkway of Freedom. Members of the Civil War re-enactment regiment, the 155th New York Volunteer Infantry under the command of Captain David Bertuca, the US Civil War Engineer brigade under the leadership of Captain Ray Ball, Sr. and the “Garibaldi Guard” recreated a Civil War base camp along the Walkway. The Buffalo regiments performed military maneuvers, provided educational information and demonstrated how camp life would have been during America’s War Between the States.
155th New York Volunteer Infantry demonstrations
Civil War Engineer brigade members explain engineering designs
The 155th New York Volunteer Infantry regiment held live musket demonstrations and performed military marching maneuvers. The Union Volunteers Fife and Drum Corps, with Fife Major Jim Pace (West Seneca Town Historian) and Drum Major Brian Seibel performed Civil War period music and marches.
The 155th New York Volunteer Infantry marching in formation
Fife Major Jim Pace and Drum Major Brian Seibel
The West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee would like to thank all of the veterans, residents and the Civil War re-enactors who joined us on Memorial Day to remember those who died in active military service.
Members of the Joint Veterans Committee
- Virtual Veterans Day Ceremony, November 11, 2020
As with our 2020 Memorial Day Ceremony, we celebrated Veterans Day 2020 in a most unfamiliar fashion. With the rise of Covid-19 cases in Erie County, the Governor declared our county “Yellow Zone” and mandated that no more than 25 people could attend an outdoor ceremony. Since we would have more 25 people at our Veterans Day Ceremony, we had to cancel the outdoor ceremony, move indoors and have a virtual ceremony.
Using the Town of West Seneca Facebook page, we were able to stream our ceremony to the West Seneca veterans and residents.
With limited veterans and residents in attendance, our guest speaker for the virtual event was Colonel Steven M. Hefferon, Mission Support Group Commander of the 107th Attack Wing, New York Air National Guard, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York
Colonel Steven M. Hefferon addresses veterans and residents
Colonel Hefferon stresses the honor and dedication of veterans
We were fortunate to have members of the Niagara Falls Base Honor Guard, 2nd Lieutenant Robert Hull from the 107th Attack Wing and Master Sergeant Thomas Perreault from the 914th Refueling Wing, to execute a special flag folding ceremony. The folded flag was then presented to Supervisor Gary Dickson, accepting the United States flag on behalf of the residents of West Seneca.
Niagara Falls Base Honor Guard
2nd Lt. Hull and MSgt Perreault begin flag-folding ceremony
Flag is carefully unfolded
Full flag displayed before re-folded
Supervisor Gary Dickson accepts American flag on behalf of the Town of West Seneca
- Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW 2940 Howitzer Moved to Walkway of Freedom
The 75mm Howitzer that was a part of the VFW Post 2940 landscape for decades on Center Road, has been moved to a permanent location at the Walkway of Freedom complex
When the home of VFW Post 2940 permanently closed, the Post donated the howitzer to the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee for display in the Walkway of Freedom. VFW Post 2940 had the howitzer reconditioned and new tires placed on the gun carriage prior to the howitzer being temporarily displayed in the West Seneca Community Center. A concrete pad was completed in 2020 and the howitzer moved outdoors for permanent display.
- Veterans Annex – Military Items on Display – 2020
Display Case and Mannequin
Display Case and Posters
In the area located next to Spot Coffee, is the Veterans Annex. In this annex is a display case featuring military items on display. We also have two mannequins in military uniform attire, along with several military posters.
If you have any military items that you would like to donate or lend to the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee to display in our Veterans Annex, please contact Jim Manley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Veterans Brick Locator Computer
There is also a computer that residents can to use to locate veterans bricks within the Walkway complex. In the future, the computer will be used to display additional information
American Flag Artwork over Fireplace
Jim Busshart, a talented West Seneca woodcraftsman, donated a wooden American flag with the POW/MIA logo attached to the flag. This piece of artwork is on display above the fireplace in the "At Ease" room directly next to Spot Coffee.
Memorial Day Ceremony – May 28, 2018
Members of AMVETS Post 8113
Harvey D. Morin, VFW Post 2940
A warm, sunshine-filled morning greeted marchers participating in the annual Memorial Day Parade. Veteran's units from West Seneca, as well as community groups and organizations, marched from Southgate Plaza to Town Hall.
American Legion Post 735 Color Guard
Parade float honoring American Veterans
Veterans, town and county politicians, marching units and residents gathered on the front lawn of Town Hall to participate in the Memorial Day Ceremony honoring America's veterans who died in all wars. Veterans groups placed flags at the casket representing America's veterans killed in all wars, while auxiliary units placed flower sprays on the casket.
Committee Chairman Al Olewniczak leads Memorial Program
Casket representing America's war dead
Memorial Day Ceremony – May 29, 2017
Paying tribute to America's war dead
Under gray, threatening skies, the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee held its annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony on Monday, May 29, 2017 as the West Seneca veteran's groups gathered at the Southgate Plaza. Joining the veterans were the West Seneca Police Honor Guard, local elected officials and community groups, such as the firefighters, Boy and Girl Scouts, Women's Club, Kiwanis Club and others, as they stepped off at 10:30am to march up Union Road to Town Hall.
Veterans gather for annual Memorial Day Ceremony
The rain held off as residents joined the parade marchers in front of Town Hall to hold the annual Memorial Day Ceremony, honoring all American military men and women who died in America's wars. The guest speaker for this year's ceremony was Russell D. Ward, Senior Vice-Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
The American national anthem was performed by the West Seneca Central School Marching Band, while the West Seneca Town Band performed the Canadian national anthem and an additional musical selection. Mr. Michael Hart provided vocals on two patriotic songs, while West Seneca East High School senior Matthew Poole recited a poem entitled “Freedom is Not Free”. Refreshments followed after the ceremony at American Legion Post 735.
“Combat Wounded Parking” Sign erected in West Seneca – February 24, 2017
Combat Wounded Parking sign placed next to Walkway of Freedom
There are an estimated 1.8 million Purple Heart recipients, combat wounded service members, who have transitioned back into civilian life. They have made great sacrifices to ensure our freedoms but often go unrecognized. That all changed when the Wounded Warriors Family Support decided to offer Combat Wounded Parking signs, free of charge, to establishments as a way of honoring and recognizing Purple Heart recipients.
Jim Manley, W.S.Veterans Chairman, and Russell Ward, Military Order
of the Purple Heart, unveil Combat Wounded Parking sign
Through the efforts of NYS Assemblyman Michael “Mickey” Kearns, West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan, and West Seneca resident, Frank Calieri, the Town of West Seneca received the first “Combat Wounded Parking” sign in Erie County. The special parking sign was placed next to the Walkway of Freedom in the West Seneca Memorial Park complex. The parking space operates on an honor system and is designated for Purple Heart recipients only.
Councilmember Bill Hanley, Assemblyman Mickey Kearns,
Jim Manley, Supervisor Sheila Meegan, Russell Ward,
Town Clerk Jackie Felser and Frank Calieri
Russell D. Ward from the Military Order of the Purple Heart was a special guest and invited to attend the parking sign dedication. Mr. Ward helped unveil the Combat Wounded Parking sign on behalf of all Purple Heart recipients.
Combat Wounded Parking sign
Veterans Day – November 11, 2016
Members of the 82nd Airborne Unit
Marine Corp. League, Detachment 239
Veterans Posts and fellow marchers stepped-off at 10:55AM for the short march to the Walkway of Freedom for the annual West Seneca Veterans Day Ceremony held on Friday, November 11, 2016 sponsored by the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee. Units from Harvey D. Morin, VFW Post 2940; 82nd Airborne; American Legion Post 735; Marine Corp. League Detachment 239; Veterans of Foreign Wars VFW Post 8113; Navy Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-5; and AMVETS Post 8113 participated in the annual Salute to Veterans.
Members Amvets, Post 8113
Veteran's Units form-up for ceremony
Under a gray sky, Chairman Roy Meyers presided over the ceremony honoring the service of all military veterans. Following the ceremony, veterans and guests were invited to Legion Post 735 for coffee, donuts and cookies.
Chairman Roy Meyers, Speaker Jim Manley and Chaplain Ken Herkey
Memorial Day – May 30, 2016
West Seneca Veterans gather for 2016 Memorial Day Ceremony
Under a bright sun-filled morning, the West Seneca veterans and marchers gathered for the annual Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Ceremony. The parade stepped off at 10:30AM from Southgate Plaza, led by the West Seneca Police Honor Guard, followed by the West Seneca Veterans groups, with other community groups forming the remainder of the parade. The parade ended at the Vietnam Memorial where 2016 West Seneca Veterans Committee Chair Roy Meyers conducted the annual Memorial Day Ceremony.
Guest speaker Dean Carroll, Harvey D. Morin Post VFW 2940
The guest speaker this year was Dean Carroll, Quartermaster from the Harvey D. Morin VFW Post 2940. Dean spoke about his experience in the Iraqi War where he was a paramedic.
The Canadian and American anthems were performed by the West Seneca West Marching Band under the direction of Mr. John Blickwedehl. The Horor Guard was supplied by American Legion Post 735 and the bugler was Mr. Jeff Glaub.
Veterans, residents and guests were treated to hot dogs and refreshments after the ceremony at Post 735.
Medal Presentation - July 5, 2015
West Seneca Veterans Committee gather for Ceremony
Military Medals awarded to Corporal Robert J. Smith
Forty-eight years after he lost his life while serving in Vietnam, the family of Corporal Robert J. Smith finally received the medals he had earned and died for. The nephews of Robert Smith and other family members gathered at the Walkway of Freedom on Sunday, July 5th at 11:00AM as United States Congressman Brian Higgins, along with West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan, presented the family with the military honors long overdue to Corporal Smith.
Congressman Brian Higgins and West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan
Family members and friends of Robert J. Smith
Corporal Robert J. Smith, a West Seneca West graduate, served in “C” Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division when he enlisted in 1966. Sent to serve in the Republic of Vietnam, Corporal Smith was wounded in action, but continued to relay artillery and air strike requests from his platoon leader who was also wounded. Although Smith was mortally wounded by enemy sniper fire on 29 September 1967, his fearless actions enabled his platoon leader to bring in effective supporting fire and destroy the enemy positions.
Congressman Higgins reads Proclamation
Family members accept Military Honors
For his heroic devotion to duty and personal courage, the family of Robert J. Smith received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with 1 bronze oak leaf cluster with the letter V device, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with 1 bronze service star, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon w/Device, the Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar and the Parachutist Badge-basic. Accepting the honorary military medals for Robert J. Smith were his nephews Bill, Jerry and Michael Hughes.
West Seneca Veterans Committee Members form Color Guard
A contingent of West Seneca veterans, lead by West Seneca Veterans Committee Chairman Garnet Wood, along with members of the Navy Seabees Veterans of America (Island X-5), American Legion 735 and the Marine Corps League (Detachment 239) were on hand to provide the Color Guard for the ceremony.
Memorial Day Parade - May 25, 2015
Honoring America's Dead.
Members of VFW 2940 and Legion Post 735
Veterans Posts and fellow marchers stepped-off at 10:30AM for the annual West Seneca Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony held on Monday, May 25, 2015. The annual parade, sponsored by the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee, featured marching units from the various West Seneca veterans groups, as well as civic and community groups. The participating units marched from Southgate Plaza to the Vietnam Memorial in front of the West Seneca Library.
Seabees of America Island X-5 honors all who died while in service
Member of the 82nd Airborne pays tribute to the fallen
The marching units gathered in front of the Vietnam Memorial for the annual Memorial Ceremony to honor and remember fellow Americans from all wars who lost their life in the service of our great nation. The West Seneca community and members from the Navy Seabees of America Island X-5, AMVETS 8113, American Legion Post 735, Marine Corps League Detachment 239, VFW Post 8113, and Harvey D. Morin VFW Post 2940 assembled for a memorial ceremony to honor America's fallen. Our guest speaker was Assemblyman Michael Kearns. Hot dogs and refreshments were served at American Legion Post 735 after the ceremony.
Marchers and residents enjoy refreshments after the Memorial Day Ceremony
Veterans Day Ceremony - November 11, 2014
Member Units march to the Walkway of Freedom
Units assembled for Veterans Day Ceremony
A warm sun and 60 degree temperatures greeted veterans and residents alike as the West Seneca Veterans Committee celebrated the 42nd Veterans Day Ceremony at the Walkway of Freedom. As fellow veterans gathered in front of the Walkway, the guest speaker was Major Gina Pizziconi-Cupples, USAF, Individual Mobilization Assistant to the Director, Congressional Outreach Division, Pentagon. Major Pizziconi-Cupples has served in Afghanistan as well as several other bases in the Middle East. The Major is currently assigned to the Air Force Base in Niagara Falls.
Chairman Norman Drabek opens ceremony
Guest speaker Air Force Major Gina Pizziconi-Cupples addresses veterans
The program featured patriotic songs by Jodi Mucciaccio, while the American Legion Post 735 Honor Guard presented the 21-Gun Salute. Jeff Glaub, once again, sounded "Taps" on his bugle, in rememberance of our fellow veterans who have passed on.
Karen Wright, NYS Director, Honor and Remember Inc. makes presentation
Family of Sgt. Frank World accepts Honor and Remember flag
In a special presentation, Claudia Maroney, General Manager of Frontier Communications, and Karen Wright, NY State Director from Honor and Remember, Inc., presented the family of Marine Sergeant Frank World with the Honor and Remember flag. Mrs. Beth World, widow of our fallen comrade, received the flag which represents the gratitude of our nation and recognizes the sacrifice of Sergeant World, who died on the Afghanistan battlefield in 2010.
Memorial Day Parade - May 26, 2014
American Legion Post 735 Marching Unit
Marine Corp League, Detachment 239 Marchers
A warm, sunny morning greeted veterans and their fellow marchers for the annual West Seneca Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony held on Monday, May 26, 2014. Sponsored by the West Seneca Joint Veterans Committee, member veterans groups were joined by civic and community groups as they marched from Southgate Plaza to the Vietnam Memorial in front of the West Seneca Library.
Marine Corps League Vehicle
The marching units gathered at the Vietnam Memorial for a Memorial Ceremony honoring and remembering all of our fellow soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who gave their life in all of America's wars to keep us free. The West Seneca community and member veteran units, American Legion Post 735, Marine Corps League Detachment 239, VFW Post 8113, Harvey D. Morin VFW Post 2940, Navy Seabees of America Island X-5 and Amvets 8113 joined with our guest speaker, Lieutenant Jamie-Lynn Winkler, Training Officer for O.H.S.U Portsmouth, Detachment H for the ceremony.
Thank-a-Vet ID Card Event - March 13, 2014
Veterans filling out paperword for ID Cards
Smile! You're on camera.
The West Seneca Veterans Committee and American Legion Post 735 hosted the Erie County "Thank-a-Vet" ID Card sign-up event on Thursday, March 13, 2014. Erie County Clerk Christopher Jacobs brought the County ID event to West Seneca where 92 veterans signed up to receive the County discount card.
County Clerk Chris Jacobs greets Legionnaire Jerry Johnson
Legion Commander Ron Puckett and fellow veterans.
Eligible veterans will receive their County Photo ID Card which can be used at approximately 700 participating merchants in Erie County for discounted goods or services. This program also permanently files the veteran's DD-214 Discharge Papers with the County Clerk's office. Should the veteran lose their discharge paper or need additional copies, they will be available through the Erie County Clerk's Office.
Veterans Day Ceremony - November 11, 2013
Committee Chairman Dan Cotter opens program
Member units of the West Seneca Veterans Committee
The annual Veterans Day Ceremony was held under gray skies at 11:00AM on November 11, 2013. Although their was a definite chill in the air, the rain held off, allowing the ceremony to proceed. West Seneca veterans, officials and the public gathered to honor America's veterans.
American Legion Post 735 Honor Guard
Guest Speaker Assemblyman Mickey Kearns
The ceremony took place at the Walkway of Freedom in Veterans Memorial Park as the community marked the 95th anniversary of what used to be known as Armistice Day, and the 59th anniversary of what is now known as Veteran's Day. Veterans gathered to honor those who have worn or continue to wear the uniform of our great country. Guest speatker for the ceremony was NYS Assemblyman Michael "Mickey" Kearns representing 142nd Assembly District.
Amvets and Seabee Member Units
Veterans Day 2013
Memorial Day Ceremony - May 27, 2013
Committee Chairman Dan Cotter
Guest speaker Master Gunnery Sergeant Whelan
The West Seneca Veterans Committee held its annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony on Monday, May 27, 2013. Under clear skies and warm temperatures, veterans, police, fire fighters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, marching bands, community organizations and many other participants marched from Southgate Plaza at 10:30 am to the West Seneca Vietnam Memorial.
VFW 8113 Commander Norm Drabek places American Flag
American flag is raised for ceremony
A ceremony took place immediately after the parade with commanders from each West Seneca veteran organization placing flags at the ceremonial "gravesite". Auxiliary presidents also participated by placing a spray of flowers on the coffin.
The guest speaker at this year's ceremony was Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Whelan, who is scheduled to retire on June 1st anfter 31 years of service to his country.
American Legion 735 supplied the Honor Guard for the ceremony and bugler Jeff Glaub played Taps. American Legion Post 735 hosted marchers and residents after the ceremony for hot dogs and refreshments.
Veterans Day Ceremony - November 11, 2012
American Legion Post 735 Color Guard
Marine Corp. League, Detachment 239 Color Guard
The annual Veterans Day Ceremony sponsored by the West Seneca Veterans Committee was held on a beautiful Sunday morning, November 11, 2012 at 11:00AM. All participating units marched from American Legion Post 735 to the Walkway of Freedom for the annual ceremony. Many residents and elected officals came out to support the many veterans who gathered for the 40th Veterans Day Ceremony. The guest speaker this year was Captain Gina M. Pizziconi-Cupples, 914th Logistics Readiness Squadron Commander from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
Units Assemble for Ceremony
Guest Speaker: Captain Gina M. Pizziconi-Cupples
During the ceremony, a bronze plaque was unveiled and dedicated to the Gold Star Mothers and their families honoring their sacrifices and patriotism. Several Gold Star mothers were in attendance and took part in the dedication ceremony. The plaque becomes a permanent part of the West Seneca Veterans Memorial Park and the Walkway of Freedom.
Gold Star Mothers: Dorothy Meyer, Holly Baker and Betty Jackowiak
Gold Star Mothers Plaque at Walkway of Freedom
Committee Displays at High School Craft Show - October 27, 2012
Bricks and Shirts were the order of the day
Tee Shirts and Sweatshirts displayed for sale
The West Seneca Veterans Committee participated in the West Seneca East Senior High School Arts and Crafts Show on Saturday, October 27, 2012. The show was an excellent venue to showcase the Walkway of Freedom to resident and non-residents. The Committee was able to interact with craft show attendees and promote the sale of bricks for our Walkway.
Memorial Day Ceremony - May 28, 2012
On Monday, May 28, 2012 the West Seneca Veterans Committee held its annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony. The weather cooperated with plenty of sunshine, but high humidity. Veterans, police, fire fighter, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, marching bands, and many other participants stepped off from Southgate Plaza at 10:30 am and marched up Union Road to the West Seneca Vietnam Memorial.
A ceremony took place immediately after the parade with commanders from each West Seneca veteran organization placing flags at the ceremonial "gravesite". Auxiliary presidents also participated by placing a spray of flowers on the coffin.
The guest speaker at this year's ceremony was West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan and patriotic songs were provided by the West Seneca Middle School Chorus under the direction of Ms. Wendy Piasecki.
American Legion 735 supplied the Honor Guard for the ceremony and bugler Jeff Glaub played Taps. Marchers and residents were then invited to American Legion Post 735 for hot dogs and refreshments.
West Seneca residents Lenore Leonard, Noreen Gurney, members and friends of the Leonard family and Boy Scouts from Troop 523 honored the military by collecting military patches from around the country and decorated the two trees in front of the Vietnam Memorial. They carefully attached each patch with gold braid to the tree branches to create these unique "Patch Trees".
Purple Heart Ceremony - May 21, 2012
On Monday, May 21, 2012 in a ceremony held at the West Seneca Veterans Memorial Park, Walkway of Freedom, Congressman Brian Higgins and West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan presented the Purple Heart to Sergeant Carl J. Poydock Jr. for injuries sustained while serving in Vietnam.
At the podium, left to right, Carl J. Poydock Jr., Congressman Brian Higgins and West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan
The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded to those individuals who have been wounded or killed by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy while serving in the United States armed forces. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest award that is still given to members of the U.S. military. It is specifically a combat decoration. The award was presented to Sgt. Poydock on the "Walkway" where names of many other Purple Heart recipients are listed.
Carl J. Poydock Jr. received his Purple Hear medal from Congressman Brian Higgins
The family and friends of Carl Poydock Jr. were on hand to see Congressman Higgins present the Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to Sgt. Poydock indicating he was awarded two Purple Heart awards. Sgt. Poydock also received 2 Purple Heart certificates, an Army Commendation Medal with Letter "V" Device and the National Defense Service Medal.
Carl J. Poydock Jr. addresses the audience after receiving his Purple Heart
Sergeant Carl Poydock joined the Army on July 4, 1966 where he served in Vietnam attached to Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Calvary. On March 15, 1967 Sgt. Poydock's unit was attacked and he sustained leg injuries from enemy gunfire. Sgt. Poydock spent three months in an Army hospital in Japan before returning to duty in Vietnam. On November 12, 1967, while providing security in the rear of a resupply truck, an enemy attack left Sgt. Poydick with several shrapnel wounds. Sgt. Poydock was discharged from the Army on July 4, 1968.
American Legion Post 735 Honor Guard under the direction of Major Pat Curtin
Participating in the ceremony were members of the Honor Guard from American Legion Post 735, as well as members from West Seneca Amvets Post 8113 and American Legion Post 735
Corporal Duck - May 2012
Showing that she was a true American duck, this female Mallard duck decided that the Walkway of Freedom was the perfect place to raise her family. "Corporal" Duck bivouacked under a bush and produced a squad of new recruits. Unfortunately "Corporal" Duck weeded out the eggs that could not complete the mission. A squad of nine ducklings survived basic training and were ready to receive orders for permanent party assignment. Under the watchful eye of "Corporal" Duck, issued last-minute flight plans before the ducklings are reassigned to other parts of West Seneca. "Corporal" Duck has since been assigned TDY (Temporary Duck Duty) to Buffalo Creek.
Successful Veterans Outreach Program - April 28,2012
Veterans enjoyed breakfast courtesy of Rural Metro
Veterans has the opportunity to meet with representatives from many agencies
The Town of West Seneca and the West Seneca Veterans Committee co-sponsored a Veterans Outreach Program on Saturday, April 28, 2012. Representatives from over fifteen various veteran support groups were present to help veterans find real answers to health and benefit concerns, education benefits, recreational activities, and general services.
New membership forms were available from the American Legion and the Amvets
Representatives of the VA helped veterans with their questions
The goal of the Veterans Outreach Program was to assist all veterans and their families to make sure they receive the assistance they justly deserve and the full benefits in which they are entitled.
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Copyright 2012 West Seneca Veterans Committee, West Seneca, New York U.S.A. All rights Reserved.