CSEA Veterans Day Ceremony

Buffalo, NY—On Saturday, November 14, more than 100 people attended the 15th Annual CSEA Western Region Veterans Day Ceremony held at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park in downtown Buffalo. The event was sponsored by the Western Region Veterans Committee and Western Region President Flo Tripi.

CSEA members and guests paid tribute to the many men and women who have selflessly served our country. There are many veterans amongst the CSEA membership who have served in various capacities in the armed services, and some who are still presently serving as reservists as we speak. We honor their service and sacrifice.

The ceremony was complete with a color guard salute and the laying of the wreath to honor our veterans past and present. Guest speakers included Western Region President Flo Tripi, Colonel John Higgins representing NYS Senator’s Robert Ortt’s office; Robin Schimminger, NYS Assemblyman District 140; Mark Schroeder, Comprtoller City of Buffalo; Chris Jacobs, Erie County Clerk and Richard Lipsitz, Jr., President of WNY ALF among others.

President Flo Tripi gave a special thanks to Western Region Veterans Committee Chair, Bob Pyjas. Pyjas has chaired this event since its inception and was given a special mention and rousing ovation at the ceremony. Tim Finnigan was master of ceremonies at the event. A BBQ reception immediately followed the ceremony.

Special thanks go to bagpiper Joe Baschnagel, Dave’s Famous BBQ and Paul Marzello, Director of Development & Special Projects for the Naval & Military Park and Museum.

Naval & Military Park Anchor Project Full Steam Ahead


Progress is being made on the installation of an anchor that was formerly atop the USS Little Rock. Paul J. Marzello Sr.,  Project Coordinator for the Naval & Military Park Landscape Project, informed me that on July 8, 2015, the anchor was craned to a flat bed truck and hauled away by Atlas Steel to General Welding & Fabricating (Made in America Store) in Elma where it will be sandblasted, painted, and several chain links will be welded together…

Read the full article here.

From BuffaloRising.com

Written by  

Aug 19, 2015

Thomas Higgins, Vets 4 Vets to receive Louis R. Palma Veterans Appreciation Tribute Awards on Aug. 29, 2015


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BUFFALO (August 19, 2015)—Former Erie County Sheriff and Korean War veteran Thomas F. Higgins and Vets 4 Vets will receive the individual and organizational awards during the 5th annual Louis R. Palma Veterans Appreciation Tribute Award Ceremony on Saturday, August 29 at 1 p.m. in the Hall of Honor building at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

Laura A. Zaepfel, Vice President of Uniland Development Company, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Naval & Military Park’s Board of Directors, will Chair this event.

“It gives us great pleasure at the Naval & Military Park to recognize an individual and organization each year that has gone above and beyond in their efforts to assist our veterans and their families,” Ms. Zaepfel goes on to say. “We look for a veteran who has, upon return to civilian life, continued to demonstrate exemplary service to our country and community. We also seek organizations that have served our veterans and their families over an extended period of time.”

Thomas F. Higgins, former Erie County Sheriff and United States Marine Corporal dutifully served our country during the Korean War from 1951-54. During that time his division was ordered to guard against an attack on South Korea while peace talks were underway.

Although many veterans and journalists reflect on the Korean War as America’s “forgotten war” because it was waged a few years after World War II, Higgins has consistently devoted resources to the care and recognition of WNY’s Korean War veterans through a variety of ways. Over the years he has spent considerable time with Korean War veterans and specifically, veterans from his 2nd Marine Division—East Coast Chapter. He also led the committee to create, fund and build the Korean War Memorial on the grounds of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

As a civilian, Higgins entered the law enforcement field and rose the ranks to become Sheriff of Erie County which he retired from in 1997. He has worked tirelessly to garner support and raise awareness and funds for the military community and for those Korean War veterans who fought so bravely so others could live with peace, freedom and dignity.

Vets 4 Vets is a non-profit outreach program that works in conjunction with the Buffalo Department of Veterans Affairs (The VA). Among their service goals is the effort to assist veterans in receiving their VA benefits. Over the past six years, Vets 4 Vets has worked tirelessly to obtain numerous donations that directly helped our veterans including food for them and their families; clothing and shelter. This service group is obtaining recognition for their outstanding contributions to such agencies as the Wounded Warriors, the VA Family Day at the Naval & Military Park, the national Veterans’ Golden Age Games and to women veterans and their families.

Vets 4 Vets collects and distributes baby supplies to visitors of the Women’s Wellness Center at the VA and they have donated gift cards for Vets, they have paid overdue gas or electric bills and they have assisted veterans with their monthly rent or mortgage payments.


Ralph C. Wilson and Bob Kalsu Honored for Military Service

On July 10th, the Buffalo Naval & Millitary Park held a reception for the unveiling of the late Ralph C. Wilson Jr. and the late Bob Kalsu displays. Mr. Wilson, the former owner of the Buffalo Bills, served in the U.S. Navy and Kalsu, a former Bill was the first NFL player to die while serving in the Vietnam War.

The National Football League’s Hall of Fame has loaned to the Naval Park for two months 13 military medals earned by Mr. Wilson during World War II when he served with the US Navy. His family has also donated to the newly constructed display the uniform he wore and other military memorabilia. The Bob Kelsu Memorial Display will feature the cover of a Sports Illustrated magazine, his Buffalo Bills’ helmet and card and other items. Ed Rutkowski, President of the Bills Alumni, and Greg Trantor, football historian and curator, will speak.

The Wilson family has designated the Naval Park as the site for a “permanent display” of Ralph’s medals.

Click here to download a copy of the event’s program. (PDF 2.5MB)


2015 Wall of Honor Ceremony Held July 4, 2015

On July 4th, The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park honored Harlan Swift, Robert Kresse, Donald Beebe and William Dolce. These veterans names will be inscribed on the Wall of Honor. Click here to download a copy of this event’s program

The Buffalo Naval and Military Park takes you inside history with incredible exhibits and displays including actual historic documents, uniforms, military gear, photographs and so much more. Take a self-guided tour of the ships or schedule a military docent for larger groups today.


Opening Reception for our Salute to Services Weeks Features New Ralph Wilson and Bob Kalsu Displays

This year’s Opening Reception for our Salute to Services Weeks will be highlighted by the opening of the Ralph Wilson and Bob Kalsu Displays. We are honored to have Rear Admiral Barbara Sweredoski of the US Navy in attendance.

The Opening Reception will be held at the Naval & Military Park, Hall of Honor Building at 6:00PM, Friday July 10, 2015. Please RSVP to Donna Garcia at (716) 362-0400, ext. 221.

We hope to see you at the Reception and thank you for your support of our Veterans and the Naval & Military Park.