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WNY Heroes News & Announcements
Our street team is made up of the some of our dedicated volunteers, many of whom haven’t been out of uniform that long. Interservice rivalry is put aside most of the time 😉, events are attended, information is shared with the public, donations are gratefully accepted, relationships are fostered, and local Veterans are assisted because of these amazing people. They’re altruistic, genuine, giving, funny, and well informed. Stop by and say “Hi!” the next time you see them out!
Over 150 families of local Veteran families were sponsored by private individuals and corporations. These families would never have had the kind of Christmas they did without them.
What’s new? How about a chicken wing eating contest at Duff’s with Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary!?! The $50 entry fee went to helping those we serve. How about Veteran families having Thanksgiving with members of the Buffalo Sabres family, including Sabretooth and broadcast personality Brian Duff!?! How about offering up customized, autographed hockey pucks by former number one pick Marty Biron!?! Interested in your own signed puck for just a $10 donation? There are four different designs! Stop by our office, pick out a puck, have a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and talk about our programs with a staff member if you like. Get your puck while they last! They make great gifts any time of year!!
WNYHeroes was proud to be a part of Shop with a Cop this past Christmas season. Santa’s job was made a lot easier because our law enforcement community was able to spend some quality time with local youth, and at least one fury friend. WNYHeroes stands with our first responders, many of whom are Veterans who attend our events and have received assistance.
The 10 th annual Gala continued the tradition of bringing supporters, Veterans, and those still serving together with a common purpose, to meet the needs of our local heroes. The many of the record number of attendees walked away with some fabulous gift baskets, gift cards, silent auction, and live auction items. These items were acquired thanks to the generosity of our supporters, and the endless effort of our volunteers. WNYHeroes was able to provide over $400,000 in assistance to our local Veterans last year, due to the generosity of those who donated their time, effort, and monetary contributions. You did it!
Staff Sergeant Casey Bukowski was 20 years old when his B-17 was shot down over Germany. He lost an eye and was captured. He survived an 82-day forced march while allied forces closed in on his German captures. Casey would also tell you he was lucky. Lucky because 6 of his fellow crew members didn’t survive to tell the tail. Now Casey joins our local WNY Heroes regularly and is treated like royalty. The “younger” Veterans often wait their turn to say “hello” to their newest friend. Because of our get-togethers, Casey has also had the chance to meet a fellow, former Emerson Vocational High School student from the same era!
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.