BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park has reached a historic milestone. The Park announced the Save the Sullivans Campaign has surpassed the $1,000,000 fundraising goal. This represents the largest fundraising initiative for the Park since its founding more than 40 years ago. The announcement was made by Terence McGuire, Chairman, Buffalo and Erie County Naval &
Military Park Board of Directors.
“I am thrilled to announce we have surpassed our goal to raise $1,000,000 to save USS The Sullivans.” commented Terence McGuire. “This historic accomplishment would not have been possible without the leadership and passion of many people. On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Kelly Sullivan and Douglas Jemal who served as campaign Co-Captains, Dr. John Long, along with Scott Bieler and Brad Hafner of West Herr Auto Group for their leadership gift early in our campaign. And a special thank you to young Arrow Swartwout, who emptied his piggy bank to donate to the campaign.”
Launched in March 2021, the Save the Sullivans Campaign raised $535,000 from a variety of sources including individuals, foundations, corporations and government entities. West Herr Auto Group provided a lead gift of $50,000 representing the largest single private donation. In October, the Park received a $499,000 Save America’s Treasures grant bringing the campaign total to $1,034,000.
“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the local community and from around the world. The campaign received donations from across the United States, Canada and six other countries.” commented Paul Marzello, president and CEO for the Park. “The money raised from the community allowed repair work to begin in earnest this summer to save this historic ship. It is fitting that we make this announcement today, 15 November 2021, 79 years almost to the day that the five Sullivan brothers paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.”
USS The Sullivans (DD-537), a 78-year-old Fletcher-Class destroyer that saw action in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War is a major attraction at The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park. USS The Sullivans is named in honor of the five Sullivan brothers who, serving together on the light cruiser USS Juneau, were all killed in action on its sinking around November 13, 1942. The ship was christened by the fallen brothers’ mother, Alleta Sullivan, and is a National Historic Landmark. It holds a special place in our nation’s military history and a special place on the Buffalo Waterfront.
In February of 2021, damage to the ship’s hull resulted in leaks that put the ship in danger of sinking. The Naval Park launched a special fundraising campaign, Save the Sullivans, to raise the $1,000,000 needed to complete hull repairs. Douglas Jemal of Douglas Development volunteered to act as Campaign Captain of Save the Sullivans. Kelly Sullivan, the granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, the youngest of the five Sullivan brothers, is Campaign Co-Captain with Jemal. Kelly Sullivan, sponsor of USS The Sullivans DDG 68, is a third grade school teacher in Waterloo, Iowa.
Repair work of the hull is being performed by BIDCO Marine Group, a locally owned specialty marine contractor. BIDCO previously conducted a full bow-to-stern survey of the hull and developed the repair plan which includes applying a two-part epoxy coating to the entire hull below the waterline and the installation of a cathodic protection system that will prevent further corrosion of the USS The Sullivans, the USS Little Rock, and the USS Croaker.
About the Buffalo and Erie County Military & Naval Park
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, is the nation’s largest inland naval park and the home of four U.S. Naval vessels: USS The Sullivans, USS Little Rock, USS Croaker, and PTF-17. Located on Buffalo’s Waterfront, this unique family destination is committed to its mission, which is to honor, educate, inspire, and preserve. The Buffalo Naval & Military Park also features a museum, United States military exhibits, and a beautifully manicured Veterans Park with 14 monuments and memorials dedicated to those who served our country.
More information about the Buffalo Naval & Military Park is available at BuffaloNavalPark.org.