WBFO Veterans News Desk

Funding for WBFO’s Veterans News Desk is provided by St. Bonaventure University’s Office of Veterans Services, helping veterans take full advantage of their educational benefits

Western New York celebrates its veterans

Nov 11, 2019
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Ceremonies were held throughout Western New York on Monday, marking Veterans Day. It was 100 years ago on November 11, one year after the signing of the Armistice to end World War I, that the United States first set aside a day to honor the veterans of "The Great War." WBFO visited one of the ceremonies held Monday, at Salvatore's Patriots and Heroes Park in Williamsville.

pbs.org

Native Americans have played an important role in the US military and despite a contentious relationship with the federal government, their service in America's armed forces outpaces other groups. Why would Indian men and women sacfrifice so much for the very government that took their homelands? 

The answer is something called "the Warrior Tradition", which is also the name of a  WNED-produced documentary which debuts nationwide on PBS tonight and pays tribute to their stories, their culutre and heritage. 


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

On this 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is introducing legislation to streamline the process for establishing New York's first State Veterans Cemetery.

David Bellavia in a Washington Post Live online session
The Washington Post

In advance of Veterans Day, Medal of Honor winner David Bellavia spoke of his mission to spread the word about sacrifice, service and the love that he says is liberated in a veteran's life by serving in the Armed Forces.

“I found love on the battlefield and it blew me away. War is horrible. All the clichés--you know, you've all seen the movies or have experienced it yourself. That's obvious. But there's love," said Bellavia, the Western New York native who in June became the only living veteran of the Iraq War to receive the nation's highest military honor.

Original Purple Heart documents awarded to a World War II soldier from Buffalo were presented to his family Saturday by Congressman Brian Higgins.

File Photo / WBFO News

Suicide, and an increase in adults committing it, is a growing concern among mental health professionals. Military veterans are among those who end their lives each day. A recently-released U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs report offers mixed trends over a 12-year period.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A South Buffalo native who was captured by the Japanese during World War II and died while still in captivity will finally be interred in Western New York, decades later. The remains of Coast Guard Lieutenant Thomas James Eugene Crotty, known by friends and loved ones as "Jimmy," were returned Friday in a solemn ceremony at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.

imvf.syracuse.edu

Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families program is bringing a three-day workshop to Buffalo, which begins today, that develops and encourages women veterans and wives of veterans as small business entrepreneurs.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

State Assemblyman David DiPietro unveiled propsed legislation Thursday that, if passed, would result in free dental coverage for all military veterans living in New York State.

American Legion's National Commander comes to Buffalo

Oct 18, 2019
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The National Commander of the American Legion is in Buffalo for one of his many regional visits. While in town, Bill Oxford was shown a tour of the ongoing World War One exhibit inside the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library's downtown central branch. He also sat one-on-one with WBFO.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A Buffalo native who now serves as Commandant of the Naval District in Washington, D.C. is in Western New York, where he will help welcome 20 new sailors into the Navy during his stay.

Veterans cemetery project completion pushed back years

Oct 10, 2019
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While the first burials in a new Western New York veterans' cemetery may begin by the end of 2020, the next phase of the project is now rescheduled to start 2022, and some elements of the cemetery will not be finished for several more years. Veterans were among those airing their thoughts - and discontent - at a Wednesday afternoon public hearing in Corfu.

Symposium brings veterans, care providers together

Oct 2, 2019
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A fourth annual symposium was held in Cheektowaga Wednesday, bringing veterans and community caregivers together as a means to improve awareness of and access to critical needs.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Dozens of local veterans have expressed their stories - and the private battles they are still fighting - by creating images and words now available for public viewing in Buffalo's Market Arcade.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

College students have settled in for the fall semester and among them are many who first served in the U.S. military. When veterans enter college, they bring a unique perspective while also facing unique challenges. Most Western New York colleges and universities either have some form of veterans office, student veteran organization or provide links to services. WBFO visited one local college to learn more about veterans on campus.

Master Sgt. Brandy Fowler, U.S. Air National Guard

This weekend, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station will welcome back many to the installation who, 50 years prior, were welcomed back after serving in Vietnam.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Western New York native and Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia is enjoying a break from frequent touring this summer to promote life in the military. But that doesn't necessarily mean he has spent any precious free time thinking about a run for Congress, something many are hoping he'll consider.

City of Lackawanna

Driving down Abbott Road in Lackawanna is a trip down memory lane, as red, white and blue banners proudly proclaim the names and pictures of local veterans. Tuesday evening, a third round of Lackawanna Hometown Hero banners was presented at the American Legion Matthew Glab Post 1477.

David Abrahamian / American Legion Band of the Tonawandas

The American Legion Band of the Tonawandas has taken top honors at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis. This is the band's 22nd National Championship in its 90-year history.

Thomas O'Neil-White

Tommy Zurhellen has gone through five pairs of shoes, two walking sticks and two toenails to make it to Buffalo. With a little over 300 miles to go before he reaches his destination of Poughkeepsie, the journey is now mind over matter for the Gulf War veteran.

Mike Desmond/ WBFO

Under a perfect blue sky on a giant portico overlooking Lake Erie, Daniel Shaw's Purple Hearts were delivered yesterday on Purple Heart Day, symbols of his 2007 death in combat in Iraq.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Today is the annual observance of Purple Heart Day in the United States. First created by George Washington on August 7, 1782, it's the world's oldest military decoration currently being used. Many veterans and families of deceased veterans who are owed this medal, however, must often undergo a painstaking process to acquire the deserved medal.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He earned a Purple Heart medal three times during his military service. They were delivered to him by mail. Monday morning, at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, Army Sgt. 1st Class William "Roland" Hayes was presented with all his due decorations in a more dignified ceremony. He was also recognized for the battles he fought on two fronts, including one within the ranks.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

David Bellavia, who last month became the first living Iraq War veteran to be presented with the Medal of Honor, was honored Tuesday in Batavia. He spoke of the importance of the nation's military and of the America he has observed while on an outreach tour for the U.S. Army.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A local Vietnam War veteran was presented Monday with several decorations for his service, honors owed to him for roughly five decades.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

State Sen. Tim Kennedy and Erie County Mental Health Commissioner Michael Ranney appeared Tuesday morning at the Veterans One-Stop Center of Western New York headquarters in Buffalo, to announce funding to continue a program that, its advocates say, is helping hundreds of veterans who may struggle with adjustment to post-military life. Some say it is actually saving lives.

Michael Mroziak/WBFO News

A new website launched Tuesday morning is encouraging local Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia to run for Congress. Bellavia previously ran for New York’s 27th congressional seat in 2012, but does this mean another run in 2020 is on the horizon?


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

One of the three decommissioned vessels which rest in the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park is in need of hull repairs. Earlier this year, a $2 million fundraising campaign was announced to fix the USS The Sullivans. The granddaughter of one of the men for whom the ship was named recently chatted with WBFO to provide an update on that effort.

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 has been signed into law by President Trump. It extends benefts to veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange while serving on ships off the coast of Vietnam. The co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo), talked with WBFO's Howard Riedel about the measure, Wednesday's Democratic Presidential debate and other issues top of mind this week.

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We are learning more about a disabled veteran who prompted a bomb scare at North Tonawanda City Hall earlier this week.

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