WBFO Veterans News Desk

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

Six former prisoners of war were among the guests Thursday, as the VA Western New York Healthcare System hosted its annual ceremony marking National POW-MIA Recognition Day.

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.

Bath National Cemetery

The Veterans Administration has awarded a $23.3 million contract to a suburban Rochester company for development of the long-delayed veterans cemetery in Pembroke.

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.


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

Google Maps

North Tonawanda Police have arrested a North Carolina man after receiving an alert about a possible armed man at City Hall.

Orleans County native David Bellavia was presented with the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony Tuesday.

Bud Gardner

A reunion of Vietnam War veterans who served in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade continues in Buffalo this week. They'll take in the sights, sounds, and even some tastes of Western New York. But to many of these veterans, the annual reunion brings a renewed opportunity to bond - and heal from old wounds, some of which are unseen.


An estimated 90,000 veterans who served in the Vietnam War are closer to receiving medical benefits for presumed exposure to Agent Orange. The U.S. Senate has passed legislation which would open VA medical care for Agent Orange-related illnesses to Blue Water Navy veterans.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Officials at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park marked their Flag Day by hosting dozens of Vietnam War veterans for a special ceremony.

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.


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.