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

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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With state lawmakers expected to begin work on what Democrats are vowing will be a politically progressive agenda, WBFO's Veterans News Desk ponders the question: what are advocates for veterans hoping for in 2019?

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Lackawanna's Veterans Stadium is getting nearly a half-million dollars in upgrades to turn the Steel City landmark from a spring-through-fall facility into a year-round recreational destination.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

More awareness is being raised for the mental well-being of veterans after they have finished their service. Many are turning to a special loved one in their reinsertion into civilian life. Those loved ones come in the four-legged variety.

Holiday cheer? Not so easy for a veteran living with PTSD

Dec 28, 2018
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During the Holidays, people are encouraged to be merry. But for many, the opposite occurs and depression or other mental health issues rise to the surface. This is especially so for may veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. WBFO spoke with a psychologist at the VA Western New York Healthcare System to get a reminder of the warning signs and find out how best to help.


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Gov. Andrew Cuomo set the wheels in motion Monday to debate the legalization of recreational marijuana use in 2019. But even if New York State lawmakers ultimately say yes, there will remain some institutions where adult casual use remains banned, while some will be faced with the question of how to regulate its use among its membership.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

New York State Assemblymember David DiPietro announced Tuesday that one of the two traveling replicas of Washington, D.C.'s famed Vietnam Memorial Wall will be acquired and moved to a permanent home in East Aurora. To help fund the project, a local longtime meat producer and motorcycle maker featured on a popular cable television reality show are getting involved.


VA hosts latest Veterans Stand Down in Niagara Falls

Dec 6, 2018
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

It happens once a year in Buffalo, when the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs hosts what is called a Veterans Stand Down. It's a gathering where representatives of various agencies set up and provide information to veterans about their wide range of services. On Thursday, the VA brought the Stand Down to Niagara County for the first time in a decade.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A Buffalo-based contemporary visual arts center will begin hosting a program in January that connects combat veterans to cameras, in an effort to help them express experiences and feelings they may be struggling to put into words as they transition from military life to the civilian world. Helping CEPA Gallery with the Odyssey Workshops will be a combat veteran whose own experiences are already documented in graphic detail.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Ground was broken Friday at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park on the site where a future African-American Veterans Monument will be erected.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Students at a Buffalo-area elementary school got a head start on Veterans Day celebrations, welcoming some local military and first response personnel to their school.

Ronald Peralta, WBFO

The Buffalo City Mission is planning to construct a new One-Stop Community Center on East Tupper Street. Thursday, a local restaurateur and hotel owner pledged $200,000 to fund a wing within that building to support displaced veterans.


Office of Rep. Brian Higgins

It took 100 years, but Pvt. Walter Rydzewski of Lancaster has finally received the Purple Heart and other medals he earned during World War I.

buffaloveteranscourt.org

Ten years ago, Buffalo became the first city in the nation to introduce a court specifically for veterans who, through support and treatment, could overcome issues that put them in legal trouble and were preventing them from living lives as productive civilians. Now, Buffalo's Veteran Treatment Court serves as a mentor for other communities looking to establish the same.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

While Americans are familiar with Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and some are familiar with Armed Forces Day, few may know about Gold Star Mother's Day. It's a day set aside to recognize and honor the women whose children lost their lives in the line of military duty. One local author spent years collecting the stories of mothers who lost sons in the Vietnam War.


logo courtesy DAV.org

Disabled American Veterans will be bringing its service to a Kenmore post Monday, assisting veterans and their families with pending claims for benefits and other assistance.

Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Fundraising for the nation’s first monument to honor African American veterans across all U.S. conflicts is getting a boost from Catholic Health, and the company’s employees are being recognized the process.


U.S. military veterans are a vulnerable population, susceptible to high rates of disease and injury, mental health issues – and addiction.

At the VA Medical Center in Canandaigua, some veterans are turning to music to help them through recovery. Last year, a group of veterans in a music therapy program decided to take their jam sessions to the next level. They formed the deFenders.

Thomas O'Neil-White, WBFO

Congressman Brian Higgins joined local veterans Thursday outside an Amerst-based center that is slated to close at the end of September. Their message to the Department of Veterans Affairs: keep the Adult Day Health Care center open. Higgins also suggested the VA's explanation for closing it doesn't entirely make sense.


Anthony N. Hilkowski / U.S. Navy

About 84,000 service members are married to another member of the military, and some find it hard to balance their marriages with their careers.

Last-known surviving Mohawk Code Talker visits Buffalo

Aug 17, 2018
Michael Mroziak, WBFO

He is among the Native Americans who played a special role in World War II, serving as the famed Code Talkers. Louis Levi Oakes traveled to Buffalo to visit the Marine Corps League National Convention, which concludes Friday at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A center providing healthcare assistance, physical therapy, meals and a social setting for local veterans is scheduled to close at the end of September. Clients of the VA Adult Day Health Care facility on Sheridan Drive in Amherst say they're being forced to find alternative care arrangements. They'd rather see the services moved to a new location. One local Congressman has sent a letter to the VA Western New York Healthcare System seeking answers.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Sixty-seven years after his death, a Buffalo native has received a half-dozen medals - including the Purple Heart - for his service in the Korean War.


Robert Wilkie, who was confirmed overwhelmingly by the U.S. Senate as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, takes over a department that President Donald Trump has vowed to shake up by firing "bad" employees and steering more veterans toward private health care. The head of a veteran support agency in Buffalo says change is good, though no one's talking about replacing or fully privatizing the VA.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Buffalo is closing a suburban clinic and says it is now working with affected clients to find new arrangements.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

More than 100 youngsters are wrapping up a week's getaway at a summer camp in Angola, along the Lake Erie shoreline. It's a summer camp hosted specifically for children of military personnel who have been deployed, are currently deployed or soon will be. It's known as Operation Purple Camp.


Traveling Vietnam memorial wall arriving in Niagara Falls

Jul 11, 2018
WBFO file photo/Chris Caya

A traveling version of the wall bearing the names of tens of thousands of U.S. military personnel who died in the Vietnam War is arriving in Niagara Falls Wednesday. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall, once assembled, will be on display through next Monday in the city's Hyde Park.


WBFO file photo/Michael Mroziak

A project launched on Flag Day to raise funds for various capital projects has resulted in the sale of more than 5,000 cards. While it's only a fraction of the revenue needed to address the needs of participating halls, the Erie County Clerk calls the project a "confidence builder" three weeks after its start.

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