We are very pleased by the generous response to this year’s campaign for our friends at the VA Medical Center in Buffalo. Thank you for responding from your hearts. Because of you, we are able to provide the recreation therapist at Willow Lodge with just over $1,500 to use at her discretion to provide those special, extra treats for the residents on the 9th floor. All money received goes to purchase gift cards for such things as pizza parties, donuts, and other spur-of-the-moment goodies.
If you would still like to contribute, you are able to do so. Simply send your gift, made out to North Presbyterian Church, to 300 N. Forest Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221, and write “Veterans Project” on the memo line.
North Star (summer edition) Story and photos by Cynthia Machamer
The place should come with a disclaimer that reads something like this: “Enter here and you may just want to stay awhile and get to know a veteran!” That’s how I felt after just 45 minutes touring and chatting with four special veterans at Willow Lodge at the VA Medical Center on Bailey Ave. in Buffalo.
Before I arrived at my destination—the 9th floor of the medical center—I encountered numerous veterans waiting to receive care. Many used canes or were seated in wheelchairs. I had never before been to the VA. In 2015 when our church served there during Service Sunday I hosted a different site.
I rode the elevator up with many veterans and a few hospital staff, and by the time I reached the 9th floor, I was alone with my thoughts. I have seen ads on TV asking for help for veterans, and I felt sympathetic, but never was I faced with the need so personally myself. Until today. Seeing real people. Real people in my own backyard who served to secure my freedom. I was dumbstruck by the enormity of this and inspired to give back. Some how. Some way. Immediately when I stepped off the elevator on the 9th floor, I was greeted by Nancy Kaszynski, recreation therapist (CTRS), who has worked at the VA for 27 years. My energetic and amazing “tour guide” told me that Willow Lodge is a 20-bed facility for men and women who need palliative or rehabilitative care. Some of them become well enough to go home; some don’t.
Allow me to introduce four of the brave men who served our country.
Service: Army Air Corps, WWII
Favorite TV program: news
Favorite pet growing up: dog, a mini Schnauzer
Service: Army, 1943-45
Favorite TV program: “Family Feud”
Hometown: Niagara Falls
Service: U.S. Army, 1963-66
Favorite TV program: “Price Is Right”
Favorite pet growing up: German shepherd named Argo
Service: U.S. Army, 1980-2000
Favorite pets growing up: Prince (Shepherd) & Duke (Husky)