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WNY Heroes News & Announcements
Early August saw WNY Heroes take a group of local combat Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan to New York City. The men and women paid tribute to the fallen at the site where it all started for them, the site of the twin towers and the 9/11 memorial, thanks to the Joseph P. Dwyer program. The local Veterans were joined in NYC by Buffalo Sabres alumni Rob Ray, Martin Biron, & J. P. Dumont, who wanted to thank America’s best for all they and their families sacrificed for our country.
PFC Joseph P. Dwyer was an Iraq combat medic that returned from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a brain injury (TBI). Because many veterans live with the side effects of PTSD and TBI, it became clear that a program was needed to provide peer-to-peer support to these heroes. As a result, the PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Program was created as a part of the 2012-2013 NY State budget to help veterans meet with other veterans in a secure, comfortable atmosphere to help each other cope with the effects of PTSD & TBI. The Vet-to-Vet approach of the program allows for complete anonymity without fear of reprisal. The PFC Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran’s Peer to Peer Programs goal is to link Veterans together for socialization and friendship. This program utilized peer support from those who can relate to the struggles of transitioning into civilian life.
As long as there’s Veterans, there’ll be a need for assistance. The annual Red, White, and Blue Gala on Nov. 8, 2019 is critical in raising funds so WNY Heroes can continue the programs that help those who’ve taken the oath. Anyone interested in donating new items to be raffled off can bring the much needed items, such as gift cards, to our office between 9-5pm M-F. Thanks for everything you do to enable WNY Heroes to achieve its mission. Together, we can make the 10th annual gala at the Seneca Niagara Casino the biggest success yet! The winners are our neighbors, friends, and relatives, who served us all.
Thank you, Department of Veterans Services, for being a huge asset to our first annual female Veterans retreat. Thanks for your amazing services and the incredible feedback from the 91 female Veterans who attended!
One in five Americans lives with a mental health condition, yet only 40% of people seek professional help. Stigma can be a barrier to those with mental illnesses. WNY Heroes has joined the Erie County Anti-Stigma Coalition This is the Year of the Pledge and we are making progress toward eliminating the stigma of mental illness in our community. Please consider taking the Pledge to End Stigma. Visit www.letstalkstigma.org, take the pledge to end stigma and find resources regarding mental health issues.
WNY Heroes cannot say thank you enough to the amazing staff at Precious Plate & Precision Process for their 12 years of continuous love and support. They’re just one of the local companies sponsoring a table at our Nov. 8th Gala. We will continue to work hard and keep you all proud.
WNY Heroes annual program, Operation Backpack ran from Aug. 16 – Sept. Veterans and those still serving got free backpacks and supplies for the up-coming school year. Applicants just needed proper military ID or a discharge along with a school supply list. What makes our program special is the fact that we take the time to provide exactly what each student needs, rather than tossing items in backpacks that may not be needed, thereby wasting the donated supplies. Last year we assisted 100 children. This year, we were able to help 258 children with what they needed to be successful in school. Moms and dads wrote thank you letters to donors and saved lots of money!
Want to help local Veterans? Just copy & paste this URL: https://iworldshoppingcenter.com/wny-heroes/ That will take you to our gift registry where you can purchase items. which will be placed in our Nov. 8th Gala basket raffle. Plus, the retail profit from your purchase will also go toward helping our local non-profit. New items will be added to the registry occasionally, so check the site often and as always, thanks for all of your support!
The month of May saw the Clarence Boys Varsity Lacrosse team defeat its worthy opponent, the Akron Tigers, 10-9. Those wishing to attend the game were asked to donate whatever they felt comfortable with to WNY Heroes. After the game, student athletes from both teams came together to show their support for local Veterans and their families. Prior to the game, the faculty at Clarence High School made individual donations to our organization to earn the right to ditch their normal teaching attire and “dress down” during the school day. Thanks guys!
This November 8th will mark the 10th year in a row WNY Heroes has invited supporters of our local heroes to honor, remember, and celebrate those who’ve served and are still serving. Many of these individuals have, or will, benefit from our programs. These programs are only possible because of fundraisers like our Red, White, and Blue Gala. It’s hard to believe that we’ve gone from 30 attendees at our first gala to a projected 1,000 guests this year! Renovations to the venue (Seneca Niagara Casino) have been completed, more parking will be available, and lines at the bars will be moving faster!
WNY Heroes wishes to express its sympathy and condolenscenses to the family of Ezra Castro, aka “Pancho Billa”. Pancho is pictured here with one of our Army Veterans and his service animal. This memory was made possible by the generosity of the dog’s sponsor, Seneca Creek Casino. Training typically takes a year with one of our three local trainers. The Veteran accompanies their dog once a week at various locations including nearby malls. It should be noted that these animals have more rights and protections under the law than emotional support, or therapy dogs.