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Grand Island celebrates Veterans Day

by jmaloni
Fri, Nov 16th 2012 10:55 pm
Veteran Jim Zucarelli, who received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star serving in Vietnam, read the names of Island Vietnam vets during Veterans Day ceremonies at the Veterans Park Memorial Wall on Bedell Road. (photo by Larry Austin)
Veteran Jim Zucarelli, who received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star serving in Vietnam, read the names of Island Vietnam vets during Veterans Day ceremonies at the Veterans Park Memorial Wall on Bedell Road. (photo by Larry Austin)
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The largest crowd in years gathered for Veterans Day ceremonies at the Veterans Park Memorial Wall on Nov. 11.

A large contingent of Island Vietnam veterans and their families were honored by name at the ceremony.

Town Supervisor Mary Cooke said veterans "are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have defended our country with honor and distinction. They have taught us about strength, duty, devotion and resolve."

Cooke asked for a moment of silence in memory of Mike Rogan, longtime chaplain of the Pfc. Charles N. DeGlopper Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, who passed away two weeks earlier. Rogan had presided over many Veterans Day services, as well as services on Patriot Day, Memorial Day and Pearl Harbor Day.

Saturday, the Grand Island High School Student Council and Student Advisory Council held its first-ever Vikings for Veterans 5K run starting in Veterans Park. The event raised money for WNYHeroes, Inc., which founder Chris Kreiger said is "a one-stop resource center" for local veterans.

"Our goal was to get 100 people signed up, and we had 120 preregistered. We had over 150 people here," said Bob Simpson, advisor to the GIHS Student Council. "I'm thinking it's only going to get bigger and better from now on. It's something we're going to do every year."

Vikings for Veterans was "great support. It's good to see the younger kids getting more involved now, especially the seniors. Who knows upon graduation who's going to go off and join the military. And at some point down the road, if they do, they might come back home and need our services," Kreiger said.

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