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Friday, June 13, 2014 at 6:59 am

Duty. Honor. Sacrifice

post by Julia Ferrini in Memorial, pembroke, Post 626, veterans

Monetary value can not be placed on the cost of freedom. It has been, and continues to be, paid with the blood, sweat and tears of a nation’s people. 

Opening ceremonies for the Cost of Freedom Memorial Wall were held Thursday at Pembroke Town Park. Kicking off the day’s events was Bobbie Metcalf’s stirring rendition of the National Anthem. Following, Brigadier General Frank Cipolla spoke briefly of the number of men and women who have lost their lives during times of war. He further spoke of the strength of the American people.

While the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall had made an appearance in Western New York in 2010, the Cost of Freedom Memorial Wall is making its first debut in the area. This monument commemorates every veteran that has fought and died in battle from the Revolutionary War up to and including the war in Afghanistan. 

“This wall commemorates every veteran that has fought and died for our freedom,” Timothy Burch said. “Including firefighters, policemen and first responders of 9/11.”

The memorial spans the length of almost two football fields, resembling the Wall in Washington D.C..  A permanent monument, donated by Galley Monuments, Batavia, has been set at the site as tribute to fallen soldiers. Furthermore, the American Legion opened a contest to local schools and asked the question, ‘What does the cost of freedom mean to you?’. Of those who participated, Abby Shaw, of Pembroke, won the contest and her poem titled ‘The Cost of Freedom’, is inscribed on one side of the stone. 

“I’m very excited to be a part of this event,” said Burch, a member of the Oakfield-Alabama American Legion Post 626 . “I joined the Legion almost a year ago and I fell into this face-first. I wanted to be involved. I have an emotional attachment to those who have volunteered to serve during wartime. Both my grandfathers served, as well as my father.”

“So many people from the community are involved in this,” said Joe Joyce, Vice Commander of Post 626. “It’s amazing”

According to Joyce, bringing the memorial to the area was almost two years in the making. Donations and fundraisers were held to generate enough capital to secure a date for the memorial.

“Not one person turned me down when we (the Legion) asked for a donation,” Joyce said. “The response from the community was outstanding.”

“This display will educate people to really show what the cost of freedom is,” Burch said, “and shows how many people sacrificed their lives so that we remain a free country.

“My Uncle’s name is on this wall. He died in Korea,” Burch continued. “My service was insignificant by way of comparison to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. They should be honored every day.”

According to the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, the organization whose mission is to bring the Cost of Freedom Tribute and The Traveling Wall to as many communities as possible, this event is the first to hold separate days to honor each service area.

 “We are setting a precedence for the wall. We are making history with this event,” Burch said.

Alan Myers, a WWII veteran, said, “It’s awesome, isn’t that what the young people say, really emotional, to be involved in this event. It makes people aware of just what the military goes through.”

Myers, who served three years with the 13th Defense Atlantic Fleet, led the motorcade Wednesday with his quarter-ton WWII jeep. According to Myers, the jeep he was driving came off the line the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and was also used during the war. 

In addition to the memorial, displays throughout the grounds include a tribute to the attack on the Twin Towers, as well as, information on each branch of the military and police and firefighters. The four-day event itself is free, however, donations will be accepted to help defray the cost of bringing the wall to the area. Closing ceremonies will be held Sunday starting at 1 p.m..

“When you listen to our National Anthem, I mean really listen,” Burch said. “It was written during the Revolutionary war during a long battle. Francis Scott Key was simply writing about what he was seeing at that time. That’s war. That’s the cost of freedom.”


Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Photos: Black bear on Lake Road, Pembroke

post by Howard B. Owens in animals, bears, pembroke

David Thuerck submitted these photos of a black bear he spotted on Lake Road, Pembroke.


Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 8:39 am

Photos: Vietnam Moving Wall escorted from Batavia to Pembroke

A motorcade of several motorcycle organizations, as well as, state, county and local police, firefighters and first responders, escorted the Vietnam Moving Wall from Batavia to Pembroke Wednesday morning.

The 17-mile trek was spotted with patriots waving flags and holding signs.

Upon reaching the town park in Pembroke, veterans and supporters who participated in the escort held a brief, solemn ceremony to commerate the wall's arrival.

The effort to bring the moving wall back to Genesee County for another visit was spearheaded by members of the Oakfield-Alabama American Legion Post 626, with support of area community members.

A dedication ceremony at the park begins today at 11 a.m. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Vietnam Moving Wall arrives in Genesee County

post by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, pembroke, veterans

The Vietnam Moving Wall returned to Genesee County today and was transported in with an honor escort from Batavia to Pembroke this morning.

The wall will be on display as part of the Cost of Freedom Tribute sponsored by Oakfield-Alabama Legion Post #626 at Pembroke Town Park through Sunday.

For a schedule of events, click here.

These four photos were taken in Oakfield this morning.

We have more photos and coverage coming.

Mel Osborn placed flags in front of his residence in Oakfield in anticipation of the escort passing through the village.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Opening ceremonies are Thursday for Cost of Freedom Tribute at Pembroke Town Park

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, corfu, Oakfield, pembroke, veterans

The Oakfield-Alabama American Legion Post #626 is hosting a series of events this week as part of its Cost of Freedom Tribute at the Pembroke Town Park, located next to Pembroke High School, 1145 Main Road (Route 77) in Corfu. On Thursday, June 12, opening ceremonies will take place.

First, at 11 a.m., is the Assembly of Color Guards in the athletic field.

Starting at noon:

  • The American flag at the park will be lowered to half staff, led by the 98th Division drill sargeant;
  • The Special Forces Association Parachute Team from Fort Bragg, N.C., will conduct the "Jumping in of the American Flag." Air support will be provided by WYN Sky Diving from Akron;
  • The National Athem will be sung by Harmony Bordinaro;
  • The Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Bobbie Metcalf of Blue Star Mothers;
  • Invocation -- American Legion Post #626 Chaplain Patrick Wilson;
  • Introduction of guest speaker by LTC William Fava (Army retired);
  • Guest speaker -- Brigadier General Frank Cipolla (Army retired);
  • Placement of Memorial Wreath -- American Legion Post #626 & VFW Post #1484;
  • Placement of additional wreaths by the Vietnam Veterans Chapter #193, Blue Star Mothers, Gold Star Mothers, American Legion Post #626 Auxiliary, Genesee County American Legion, and Genesee County American Legion Auxiliary;
  • Benediction -- American Legion Post #626 Chaplain Patrick Wilson;
  • Rifle Salute -- North / South Skirmish Association of WNY;
  • Taps -- Tom Cecere;
  • Fly-over at 1300 hours, if Pentagon approved.

Following opening ceremonies, at 1:30 p.m., patriotic music will be played by Danny B.

The daily closing ceremony is at 8 p.m. with a benediction by Rev. Patrick Wilson of the Alabama Baptist Church; Rifle Salute by the North / South Skirmish Association of WNY; Taps by Tom Cecere and Frank Panepento.

Monday, June 9, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Body of fallen Iraq War vet returning home today

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Medina, pembroke

Flags have been placed on both sides of West Main Street Road, Town of Batavia, adjacent the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral & Cremation Chapel, to honor Sgt. Shaina Schmigel, a paratrooper who died during training last week.

Schmigel is a decorated Iraq War veteran.

Born in Batavia, Schmigel went to high school in Medina.

The Patriot Guard escorted her casket into Genesee County and then to Medina. The procession is expected in Batavia around 7:15 p.m.

Rita Towner helped organize an effort to use flags from Redfield Parkway to line West Main Street. She's asking that any residents along the route today and Wednesday (when the funeral procession will travel from Batavia to Corfu) to put out any flags they have in the parkway or along the roadway.

Below is a video from Route 77 in Pembroke that was submitted by a reader.

UPDATE: Also participating in the flag placement: Kathy Owens, Dennis Altman, Spencer Towner, Laura Mullen, Quinton and Michelle Taylor, the Browns, Lynn Conroy and her cousins.

Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 9:55 am

Fire on roof at Flying J Travel Plaza, Pembroke

post by Billie Owens in fire, pembroke

A fire on the roof, near an air-conditioning unit, is reported at the Flying J Travel Plaza. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding along with Corfu and the city's Fast Team. The fourth platoon is called to stand by in city quarters. The building is evacuated. A first responder on scene reports nothing showing. Command says units already on the road can continue emergency mode.

UPDATE 10:58 a.m.: Fire appears to be out.

UPDATE 11:11: A code enforcement officer is on scene.

UPDATE 11:46 a.m.: Corfu is back in service.

UPDATE 11:55 a.m.: Pembroke command says they are picking up and will be leaving the scene shortly.

Monday, June 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Manure pile on fire on Marble Road

post by Billie Owens in fire, pembroke

A manure pile is on fire at 8122 Marble Road, according to a farm hand there. Pembroke and Indian Falls fire departments are responding. The location is between Akron and Gabbey roads.

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.: The site is next to the alpaca farm. A responder on scene says "it's smokin' pretty good."

UPDATE 1:31 p.m.: Fire is out. Indian Falls is back in service.

UPDATE 1:49 p.m.: Pembroke is back in service.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Collins lauds selection of Pembroke for location of new veterans cemetery

post by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, pembroke, veterans

Press release:

"For too long, Western New York's veterans have been denied the honor of being laid to rest among their fellow heroes right here in our community," Congressman Chris Collins said. "Today's announcement of a veterans’ cemetery in Pembroke finally rights that wrong. This location will allow veterans from all around our region to be properly and locally honored for their service to this country."

Background: The VA has selected a 132-acre parcel on Indian Falls Road in the Town of Pembroke (Genesee County) as home for the long-anticipated Western New York Veterans’ Cemetery. Currently, the closest veterans’ cemetery is located in Bath, approximately 100 miles away.  

Press release from Sen. Charles Schumer's office after the jump:

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 8:59 am

Law and Order: Man accused of giving fake name to police during investigation

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, pembroke

Jarrod K. Fotiathis, 19, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with false personation. Fotiathis was suspected of being involved in a fight Wednesday night on Swan Street. When questioned, Fotiathis allegedly gave a false last name to a police officer. Officers reportedly asked him several times for his real last name and Fotiathis allegedly refused to do so. 

William Scott Smith, 46, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Smith was allegedly found in possession of marijuana at 11:45 p.m. May 16 on Main Road, Pembroke, by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Michael Joseph Elmore, 23, of Summit Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and trespass. Elmore allegedly trespassed on private property and was found in possession of marijuana at 3:10 p.m. May 24 by Deputy Kevin McCarthy.

Kristine Szumigala, 40, of East Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Szumigala was allegedly involved in a fight at 8:57 a.m. Sunday at 16 Bank St., Batavia.

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