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Ortt, Walmart present WNY Warriors Flight with $20,000 grant

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Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 06:50 pm
Pictured, from left: WWII vet John Lukasik, Sen. Robert Ortt, WWII veteran Sil Dan Sr., Walmart's Jason Klipa; WWII veteran Stanley Maziarz and North Tonawanda Walmart Store Manager Chris Lazarou.
Pictured, from left: WWII vet John Lukasik, Sen. Robert Ortt, WWII veteran Sil Dan Sr., Walmart's Jason Klipa; WWII veteran Stanley Maziarz and North Tonawanda Walmart Store Manager Chris Lazarou.

Senator said funds will make trip possible for many WWII and Korean War veterans

The Western New York Warriors Flight received a grant of $20,000 from the Walmart Foundation Thursday as part of both organizations' commitments to serving this nation's heroes.

New York State Sen. Rob Ortt and Walmart officials awarded the grant to the WNY Warriors Flight at a ceremony held at the North Tonawanda Walmart store. This grant will help to provide local veterans with the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to visit the World War II memorial, Vietnam and Korean War memorials, as well as Arlington National Cemetery.

The WNY Warriors Flight is designed to recognize the bravery of WWII and Korean War veterans by helping them to visit the war memorials built in their honor. This trip, led by Ortt as one of the volunteer "guardians," serves as many veterans' first visit to the memorials in the nation's capitol.

Members of the "Greatest Generation," now mostly in their 80s and 90s, are provided with meals and transportation for the trip funded by the Niagara Area Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm honored to carry on this tradition former Sen. Maziarz started several years ago," Ortt said. "This trip wouldn't be possible without Walmart's generosity and support. These veterans are in their late 80s, early 90s, and without this day trip, they may have never had the opportunity to see the memorial. Our veterans have given so much for our country. This trip allows us to honor and thank them for their service while remembering their sacrifice."

Walmart Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations Jason Klipa said, "Walmart remains committed to giving back to our nation's heroes and military families across the country. It is a privilege to be able to help honor and thank the veterans who have made many sacrifices to serve this country, and we hope that those able to participate in the WNY Warriors Flight have a memorable experience."

About two-dozen Western New York veterans are expected to take part in the Warriors Flight this fall. Though a majority of the spots for the trip have been filled, there are a few spots that remain open for WWII and Korean War vets. Any interested veterans who have never before visited the memorials in D.C. can call Ortt's district office at 716-434-0680 for information on how to apply.  

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