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Buffalo Bisons, Duffs, Kearns team up to send 1,000 veterans to 'Thank A Vet Day' at ballpark

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Wed, Apr 24th 2019 10:50 am

Tickets purchased to benefit Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County

On Tuesday, at home plate in Sahlen Field, Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns, Duffs Famous Wings of Orchard Park and the Buffalo Bisons announced hometown heroes will be honored for their service to this country via a free event. “Thank A Vet Day at the Ballpark” is slated for 1:05 p.m. Saturday, May 18.

Thanks to the generosity of the Bisons and Phil Kinecki, owner of Duffs Famous Wings of Orchard Park, 1,000 veterans enrolled in the Erie County clerk’s “Thank A Vet” discount program will be offered a free ticket voucher to the game.

“Duffs Famous Wings of Orchard Park is happy to purchase tickets to thank our veterans for their service. I think it’s important that local businesses support our veterans,” Kinecki said.

These ticket vouchers will be available at Kearns’ office (92 Franklin St., Buffalo) and at his “Clerk On The Go” outreach events. Those details are posted on Kearns’ website, erie.gov/clerk.

“Our veterans seldom receive the amount of thanks and recognition they deserve. As a community, I am hoping to be able to thank as many veterans as possible at this game,” Kearns said.

The “Thank A Vet” discount program is a division of the clerk’s new “S.A.L.U.T.E.S” program. It partners with local businesses to offer discounts to veterans who get their honorable discharge papers on record at the clerk’s office. The veterans are issued a photo ID that they can show to over 1,400 local businesses participating in the program.

“There are currently over 23,000 veterans enrolled in ‘Thank A Vet,’ and this number grows daily. Any veterans who are not already enrolled in the discount program are encouraged to get their original or certified honorably discharged DD214 on file with the clerk’s office,” Kearns said.

The Buffalo Bisons, a proud “Thank A Vet” business, has volunteered to offer a discounted rate of $14 per ticket when anyone visits the “Thank A Vet” event page on the team website (bisons.com). When one visits this site and purchases a ticket, half of the proceeds will go to Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County. This organization is dedicated to restoring and improving veterans posts.

“We’re excited to partner with the Erie County Clerk’s Office for this great event that will honor the military and raise money for a very important cause,” Buffalo Bisons Assistant General Manager Anthony Sprague said.

All proceeds from “Thank A Vet Day at the Ballpark” will be used to make handicap accessibility improvements at area posts.

“Some of our veterans could not even stay for the full duration of a meeting, because their spouse had to pick them up so they could use the bathroom. The opportunity to make handicap accessibility upgrades is extremely important to us,” said Gary Oakes, president of Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County.

“Attending a Bisons game, where veterans were asked to stand and be recognized, was a turning point in my life. This was the first time I began to think about the other veterans who had the same challenges that I had,” said Jerry Kowalski, vice president of Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County. “From there, I was able to put the past behind me and move forward in community with the other veterans.”

The ballgame will be an opportunity for veterans to come together at a fun event where they will be recognized for their service in community with other veterans and veteran supporters.

“I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to help coordinate this event where we can thank the many brave men and women who have fought for our freedom. This exciting day will be a small way to show our appreciation and recognize our veterans for all they have done,” Kearns said.

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