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

United States Army

Following his first public statement about his forthcoming Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House, Iraq War veteran David Bellavia spoke one-on-one with WBFO Radio about his pending decoration, putting his memoirs into writing and the qualities he believes makes an ideal citizen.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He will become the first living Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran to receive the Medal of Honor later this month. Former Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia, a Lyndonville native, will receive the honor from President Donald Trump during a White House ceremony June 25. On Tuesday, he met with local media to discuss an honor he considers a tribute not to him exclusively, but to his many comrades.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He was a member of the famed 82nd Airborne, which participated in the invasion of Normandy that began on June 6, 1944. Commencement of Operation Overlord became better known as D-Day. Grand Island native Charles DeGlopper would lose his life three days later, willingly putting himself in the line of fire to help his platoon, pinned down in a ditch, escape that position.

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Congress is closer to passing legislation which would give tens of thousands of Vietnam Veterans medical benefits - decades after they were exposed to the chemical Agent Orange.

March Field Air Museum / Associated Press

A date has been set to remember a New York airman who died in World War II, 75 years after his bomber crashed in the Pacific.

WBFO file photo/Michael Mroziak

This holiday weekend, ceremonies will be held throughout Western New York, from parades to the more solemn remembrances of those who died while in military service for the United States. While there's no shortage of events, there is a growing challenge to staff one of the most important elements of Memorial Day gatherings: the color guard.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Several men who once served aboard the original U.S.S. Little Rock have come to Buffalo to help give it some repairs and cleanup, in advance of the summer tourist season. They've also loaned their voices to share the Little Rock's story to Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park visitors.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He was born in Germany in 1925. Stephan Lewy and his Jewish family were able to flee that nation just after Kristallnacht in 1938, but he eventually returned to Europe as part of the U.S. Army, serving under General Patton's command and liberating many of his fellow Jews. Lewy, who now shares his life experiences with local students, was honored this week as Erie County's Senior of the Year.

Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park

If you see a huge crane at Canalside Tuesday morning, it is to install a different type of monument at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park. "The Battle Within Monument" is an 8,000-pound steel remembrance to the 20+ veterans who die each day due to PTSD and to those available to provide help.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

She was there in Thailand as U.S. military personnel participated in a daring rescue watched around the world. She represented the U.S. Government as its spokesperson, providing a voice on behalf of those who worked to save a youth soccer team trapped for days in a flooded cave. Air Force Captain Jessica Tait wraps up a visit to Buffalo Monday, having shared her story and some advice to local students since Friday.

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May 18 is Armed Forces Day in the United States. In Western New York, several events are scheduled to mark the day including family-oriented gatherings and one in Buffalo where veterans will be offered information about important services, while having the chance to receive a service at no cost to them.

WBFO file photo

According to federal statistics, there were more than 9,100 people experiencing homelessness in New York State one year ago. More than 1,200 of them were military veterans. Nationwide, veterans account for approximately nine percent of homeless persons. Many slide down a path to homelessness due to mental illness, while others get into economic trouble from which they cannot recover.

WBFO file photo/Chris Caya

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that several dropoffs will be made available for the disposal of old, tattered and faded U.S. flags that will be retired later this month as part of a ceremonial watchfire hosted at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse during Memorial Day Weekend.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A laborer with the Erie County Department of Public Works, let go last summer while away on active duty with the Army National Guard, is being reinstated to his county job, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced Monday. The move was announced just moments before Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and the head of the union representing Sgt. Rapheal Ramos were to host a news conference demanding the employee's rehire.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Human rights issues directly affecting veterans, those still active in the military and their families were dicussed in a day-long conference at the University at Buffalo Friday, hosted in partnership with the New York State Division of Veterans' Services.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The VA Western New York Healthcare System is receiving funding from the federal government that will allow three studies to proceed at the Buffalo VA Medical Center. The researchers leading the respective projects say these will benefit not only the veterans who will receive treatment but also the wider community.

Thank A Vet Day being hosted at upcoming Bisons game

Apr 23, 2019
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Buffalo Bisons will host a game in May celebrating veterans by donating a portion of ticket sales to a project to make capital improvements at more than a dozen local halls and posts. In partnership with the Erie County Clerk's Office and a private sponsor, one thousand veterans will get to watch the Bisons' may 18 home game for free.

April marks Month of the Military Child

Apr 22, 2019
WBFO file photo/Michael Mroziak

Since the 1980s, April has been designated the Month of the Military Child. It's a recognition of the sacrifices children of military personnel must make when their father or mother is called to active duty. Their sacrifices and concerns for their well being are numerous and various.

WBFO file photo

A scholarship program for public colleges and universities offered to New York families whose loved ones are killed while on active military combat duty is expanding its eligibility qualifications. It comes following political backlash over stalled bills to provide free college tuitions to Gold Star families, while millions of dollars were included in the budget for similar tuitions for families of those who entered the US illegally.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Later this week, the New York State Veterans Benefits Advisors office will be moving from its longtime home in Amherst Town Hall to a new location not far to the east along Main Street, where it will join other services available to local veterans under the roof of a not-for-profit which is already eyeing further expansion.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Friday, March 29 was designated as Vietnam Veterans Day and in Western New York, numerous ceremonies were held to honor a generation of soldiers, sailors and airmen who didn't get the heroes' welcomes previous and later generations of service members received.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Veterans and their advocates were celebrating the completion of updated, handicap-accessible restrooms at an American Legion post in Sloan Friday morning. But they looked back on a recent tragic fall at another local post. In light of that incident, Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns and the American Institute of Architects are announcing that an urgent assessment of handicap accessibility at other veteran posts is underway.

provided by Battle Within Foundation

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park is home to numerous monuments which honor the men and women who served and died in various conflucts throughout the nation's history. Ground was broken at the park Thursday morning for a future memorial which will remember those who died from a different battle: depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Discovery Channel screen capture

A motorcycle custom-built as a means to support a project to bring a traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to Western New York permenantly was unveiled in a nationally-televised broadcast Wednesday evening. A local State Assemblyman hopes the Vietnam Veteran-themed chopper can join the replica wall as a permanent fixture in Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A Vietnam Veteran who has lived with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the past 50 years is taking a walk across New York State to raise awareness and support for other veterans, young and old, who are also living with PTSD. He began his journey in Buffalo.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

They willingly gave up their life vests so that four shipmates could be saved. The Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Buffalo hosted a ceremony Wednesday honoring four Army chaplains who sacrificed their lives in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic during World War II, as they recognized three local men - and a d0g - who serve in various volunteer roles.

National Archives

His spontaneous kiss of a passing woman in Times Square was captured on film and published by Life Magazine. George Mendonsa died last weekend at the age of 95 but a part of his life now rests docked in the waters of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Last week, the nation's highest court, by a 5-to-4 unsigned order, allowed President Donald Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military take effect. Proponents of the ban say military operations could be disrupted by including transgender soldiers and sailors. Advocates for the transgender community, as well as one who served in the military, say that's nonsense.

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U.S. Coast Guard personnel, including those stationed in Buffalo and at Fort Niagara, are among those continuing to work without pay amidst a lingering partial federal government shutdown. A pantry has been set up to assist them with basic needs, while the shutdown stalemate in Washington, DC continues.


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It took $733,000 and five years of planning, but Buffalo's VA Medical Center cut the ribbon on its new Intensive Care Unit Tuesday morning.

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