BankOnBuffalo has joined “Operation Appreciation” to help make veterans’ posts in Erie County safer and more accessible for veterans with physical handicaps by donating $20,000 toward needed building renovations at American Legion Post 735 in West Seneca.
The announcement of BankOnBuffalo’s support and that of additional contributions from seven community partners was made today by Erie County Clerk Michael “Mickey” Kearns, Gary Oakes, president of the non-profit Veterans Post Restoration (VPR) of Erie County, NY and Martin T. Griffith, BankOnBuffalo president.
BankOnBuffalo’s monetary support will be combined with further in-kind labor and materials donations to renovate the restrooms to be handicap accessible and to construct an outside handicap accessible entrance ramp as the start of the post’s compliance effort with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Community partners donating in-kind labor and materials for the renovations include:
• Cheryl Henry Architectural – In-kind architectural labor for both restrooms, ramp
• Cassillo Development – In-kind general contractor
• Cellino Plumbing & HVAC– In-kind plumbing labor
• IBEW Local 41 (Electrical Union) – In-kind electrical labor
• Ferguson – Donated plumbing materials
• Vets H.E.R.D. Inc.– In-kind labor
• Union Concrete and Construction Corporation - Donated labor/materials for ramp
“We have a long way to go to make all of the older American Legion posts in Erie County safer and more accessible for both older veterans and the next generation,” said Kearns, who first began looking at government funding opportunities for posts renovations when he was a member of the New York State Assembly and now is a volunteer member of the VPR Advisory Board. “Through the generous support of BankOnBuffalo and our contributing community partners, we will begin to make a difference in the lives of our local veterans.”
“We chose the day after Veterans’ Day to make this announcement because we should be honoring and thanking these men and women every day of the year for their sacrifice and courage,” Griffith said. “BankOnBuffalo is very proud to join Mickey Kearns, the Veterans Post Restoration and other supporting organizations and businesses in helping to make these posts safer and more accessible for all veterans in appreciation for their service.”
Many veterans’ posts were built before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The Buffalo chapter of the American Institute of Architects volunteered to inspect local posts and make recommendations on required maintenance and compliance with building codes.
The Veterans Post Restoration has launched Operation Appreciation to repair and upgrade these posts so they are handicapped accessible and can be enjoyed by aging veterans who are in wheelchairs or are disabled from loss of limbs.
Post 735 in West Seneca is one of 18 American Legion posts in Erie County identified by AIA as needing funding to comply with federal laws guaranteeing access for veterans and other individuals with disabilities. Post 735 serves as a community gathering place for not just the American Legion but also for several other veteran organizations in the surrounding area.
About Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc.
Formed in 2017 in response to a detailed analysis, Veterans Post Restoration of Erie County, NY Inc. is a not-for-profit comprised of 18 veterans' posts around Erie County, NY whose mission is to raise the necessary funds to improve and modernize the participating posts around the county to make them accessible and pass them down to the next generation of veterans. These necessary updates were professionally identified through a partnership with the American Institute of Architects. Participating posts are affiliated members of the American Legion, AmVets, 40&8, Marine Corps League and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
As a community bank, BankOnBuffalo, a division of CNB Bank, is being developed by local people and businesses. This local decision-making increases the level of service provided to the communities in and around Buffalo and brings growth to the entire region.