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Chamber of Commerce honors distinguished business owners, citizens

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce held its 21st annual Awards Dinner on Thursday at the White Birch Golf Club in Lyndonville. The following were recognized, front row, from left: Mark Zambito, co-owner of Zambito Realtors in Medina, Phoenix Award; Courtney Henderson, owner of Milk & Honey in Albion, New Business of the Year; Greg Reed, executive director of the Orleans County YMCA, Business Person of the Year; Amy Sidari, owner of Cabaret at Studio B in Albion, Hidden Gem Award; and Tim Winters, CEO of Western New York Energy in Medina, Business of the Year. Second row: John Burris, Hands 4 Hope, Community Service Award; Ellen Eaton, director of Recruiting and Employee Experience for Takeform, Employer of the Year – presented by Orleans Job Development; Dr. Dan Schiavone of Holley, Lifetime Achievement Award; Aaron Schifferie, human resources manager for H.H. Dobbins in Lyndonville, Agricultural Business of the Year; and Jerry and Molly Ulrich, owners of Ace Hardware in Albion, Small Business of the Year.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 October 2019 at 12:28 pm

LYNDONVILLE — The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce honored several businesses and community members on Thursday during the 21stannual awards dinner.

About 120 people attended the event at the White Birch Golf Club in Lyndonville. The event had a theme, “Linking Business with Community.”

Darlene Hartway, Chamber executive director, said the honorees all give back to the community that supports them.

“They are wonderful examples that business is bigger than revenues and profit margins,” Hartway said. “They understand the power they have to bring positive, measurable change to both the community and to their businesses.”

The following were recognized (Most of the write-ups were provided by the Chamber):

Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Dan Schiavone

Dan Schiavone is honored for lifetime achievement by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Dan Schiavone, a Holley dentist, graduated from Holley in 1986. He opened his dental office in Holley in 2000 after a major transformation to a former hardware building in the Public Square.

Schiavone’s key to success in the dental business is re-investing, adding technology, delivering his product with great customer service and staying involved in the community. He sees his practice growing through the utilization of new technology and an “in-house” business style.

Schaivone has been involved in the community. A former Clarendon volunteer firefighter, he also served as Holley’s mayor and is currently president of the Holley Development Corporation, which has worked to find new life for distressed properties in the village.

Schiavone also sponsors and volunteers for the Holley June Fest and Night of Lights, and also donates to community causes through the Holley Rotary Club and Holley Central School.

Schiavone also spends a week each year as a volunteer on a dental trip to the Amazon in Peru. He has done that for more than a decade.

He praised all the award winners for running successful businesses, which he said is a challenge in Western New York and New York State.

Business of the Year – Western New York Energy

Tim Winters, Western New York Energy CEO, accepts the award on behalf of the company.

Western New York Energy started production 12 years ago at its ethanol plant on Bates Road in Medina. The company employs 50 people.

Originally designed to produce 50 million gallons per year of fuel-grade ethanol, the company has increased production capacity to about 60 million gallons per year.

It will grind 20 million bushels of corn this year and produce more ethanol per bushel of corn than ever before. In addition to producing clean burning ethanol that saves people money at the pump, WNYE produces high quality co-products such as distillers’ grains for animals, feed grade corn oil for feed or biodiesel, and raw carbon dioxide processed into beverage-grade carbon dioxide.

The company spent $90 million building the ethanol plant, and has since invested another $15 million in what is one of the most efficient ethanol plants in the country.

Tim Winters, a Medina native who is the company CEO, said the ethanol plant buys as much local corn as possible, which has helped local farmers. The company also donates to many community causes, and helps reduce gas prices.

“Most people don’t realize all the good that we’re doing right in their backyard,” he said.

Agricultural Business of the Year – H.H. Dobbins

Aaron Schifferie, human resources manager for H.H. Dobbins in Lyndonville, said the company has invested in its Lyndonville facilities and values the local workforce.

H.H. Dobbins started as a small family farm in 1905. It is now a vertically integrated apple growing, packing, storage and sales organization with offices in Lyndonville and Yakima, Wash., and customers from around the world.

The company has 75 employees in Lyndonville, with most from Orleans County, said Aaron Schifferie, human resources manager for Dobbins.

“I don’t know what H.H. Dobbins would be without Orleans County,” he told the Chamber crowd.

The company continues to have very dedicated employees locally in a “very tight labor market,” Schifferie said.

Dobbins provides a stable workforce for a great team of associates who are extremely loyal and dedicated to the success of the company and being a productive member of the community. The company’s future plans include expansion of its orchards, and grower base to support sales increases of 30 to 40 percent. It has achieved success with their pledge, “No matter our source, we promise the highest quality with a commitment to food safety, the community and the environment.” H.H. Dobbins has been a trusted fruit handler, manager and marketer providing exceptional work in the Orleans County community since 1920.

New Business of the Year – Milk & Honey

Courtney Henderson, owner of Milk & Honey, accepts the award. She thanked the community for supporting her business in Albion.

The New Business of the Year is presented to Milk & Honey in Albion. Courtney Henderson, the buisness’s owner, combined her love of shopping with her desire to do more for herself and other women in her community when she opened a boutique specializing in women’s and children’s clothing.

Knowing that “It feels good to dress good,” she strives to provide women a local option to shop for themselves, family, friends and children. Her background in business and photography, are very visible in her trendy shop located in Albion, and on her company website.

Henderson serves as the interim president of the Albion Merchants Association and as a beginning Girl Scouts troop leader. She is also a very busy, raising three active children who are involved in dance, karate and other activities. Her future plans include helping develop a program to help low-income, unemployed or women of need with dressing for prom, school, interviews or work.

“I have received great support from the community on a daily basis,” Henderson said.

Phoenix Award – Zambito Realtors

Mark Zambito, co-owner of Zambito Realtors, accepts the Phoenix Award. The business relocated its office to Maple Ridge Road this year, in a building that had been vacant for years.

The Phoenix Award goes to a business that not only gave a vacant building a complete upgrade but also implemented a new approach to office space.

The Zambito family opened a real estate brokerage in the fall of 2007. Driven by the core values and tireless work ethic instilled by their mother, Rita, the Zambitos eventually grew enough to purchase the building at 339 N. Main St. and expand their office space.

The business continued to expand and last year, Zambito Realtors closed over 400 transactions with over 30 licensed agents. With plans of eventually utilizing the North Main Street space as a full-service event venue on the Erie Canal, the Zambitos turned their attention to a long-vacated garage space on Maple Ridge Road, and replaced the office space on Main Street with a smaller, efficient, modern floor plan.

The new space on Maple Ridge would eliminate personal desks, 1,000 square feet of space and all personal offices. This July, Zambito Realtors opened its second office in Niagara County on Wrights Corners.

Zambito has seen growth of over 20 percent in sales volume year-to-date.

Mark Zambito, Rita’s son and co-owner of the business, said the family is grateful to work in the Medina community, where many entrepreneurs are making big investments.

“The infusion of growth and energy has been amazing,” he said.

Community Service Award – John “Jack” Burris of Hands 4 Hope

Jack Burris started Hands 4 Hope, which brings food and clothing to sites in Orleans County on Saturdays, and also takes prayer requests.

It was about four years ago when Jack Burris started Hands 4 Hope with a mission: “To serve as God’s Hands in the streets, sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ to reflect His glory.”

Burris, with “Clifford the Big Red Truck” by his side, serves Orleans County, rain or shine, on Saturdays. The Hands 4 Hope Van can be seen all around the county, providing food and other necessities to those in need.

The truck is out the first Saturday of the month in Medina at Starr and Orient streets, the second Saturday at the Holley Public Square, the third Saturday at the Hoag Library in Albion and the fourth Saturday at the Lydun Drive apartments in Albion.

Burris has also provided additional service at Christ Church Community Kitchen in Albion.

Burris said the ministry has been dedicated volunteers and donors. He used his acceptance speech to solicit help from the Chamber crowd. He asked for drop-off sites for donated socks. Dr. Dan Schiavone agreed to be a drop-off site in Holley, while the Bank of Castile will accept socks in Medina. In Albion, 39 Problems on Main Street and the Sewing Box in at the Arnold Gregory Office Complex will be sites.

Small Business of the Year – Albion Ace Hardware

Jerry Ulrich, owner of Ace Hardware in Albion, accepts the Small Business of the Year award from Chamber Executive Director Darlene Hartway (center) and Paula Knaak, Chamber president.

Albion Ace Hardware set out over 13 years ago to find the perfect home and settled in Albion, where it thrived. Each year, Ace Hardware has consistently added employees, contributed more money to the tax base and has had a greater impact on the community as a whole.

It plans on continual growth as it looks forward to the next decade. Ace Hardware conducts extensive research to enhance its product base. It is a local business, run and staffed by local people.

Business Person of the Year – Greg Reed, executive director of the Orleans County YMCA

Greg Reed accepts the award as Business Person of the Year. He leads the Orleans County YMCA.

The Chamber recognized Greg Reed, director of the Orleans County YMCA, as the Business Person of the Year.

Reed was hired as the Y’s executive director in 2017. He had been working in Denver, where he worked in middle and high school physical education and developed state-sanctioned athletic program from the ground up, while being the No. 1-ranked school in Denver during his time. Since leading the Orleans County YMCA, membership has increased by over 43 percent. Reed has secured more than $200,000 in grant funding and tripled the services, programs, and partnerships now available to the community through the Y.

He’s led with humility and courage, and has embraced the growing process of trial and error. In the next five years, Reed is aiming for the YMCA to be a community hub for wellness and to be a fiscally self-sustaining entity.

Reed said the GLOW YMCA has been a  great resource for the Orleans County Y, and many community members have been dedicated to the organization’s success.

“I have an amazing staff that deals with all of my crazy dreams,” he said.

Reed is impressed with the rural community, how so many organizations and businesses are working hard to engage local residents. A busy local calendar, including on weekends, shows just how committed the local businesses and organizations are to connecting with people.

“The community is invested in its growth,” he said. “It’s hard to run programs and events because there is always something happening in the community.”

Hidden Gem Award – The Cabaret at Studio B in Albion

Amy Sidari, owner of Gotta Dance by Miss Amy and the Cabaret at Studio B, thanked her family, her staff and the performers for making the cabaret a success.

This year’s Hidden Gem Award award goes to the Cabaret at Studio B, which opened in 2013 on East Bank Street in Albion. Amy Sidari has hosted many professional singers and other performers at the show. This summer she welcomed six bus tours for shows by Gary Smboli, an Albion vocal teacher and musical director who is an accomplished performer himself.

Sidari started Gotta Dance by Miss Amy as a one-room dance studio in 1997. In 2001, she turned garage space into a dance studio.

Sidari has gone above and beyond to include all forms of art within her dance studio, including singing lessons, guitar lessons and piano lessons.

Sidari and her team have brought in tourists from all over, drawing them to well-known and well-publicized productions. Often featured in the Cabaret performances are artists such as Phyl Constable, Josie Waverly, Ron and Nancy Onesong, and Jimmy Mazz, among others.

As Sidari would say, “Why not in Albion?” For the tour buses this summer, Sidari took the initiative to include several of Albion’s downtown businesses as well. She wants to help the other businesses succeed.

The buses would arrive at 39 Problems and have the opportunity to shop and walk around downtown before the show began.

Employer of the Year Award – Takeform

Ellen Eaton, director of Recruiting and Employee Experience for Takeform, accepts the award on behalf of the company.

The company started in 2003 with nine workers and now has 200. Takeform designs signs and creates architectural graphics for many hospitals and other businesses.

The company last year completed a 15,500-square-foot expansion to an existing 30,000-plus-square-foot building on Maple Ridge Road. It has been experiencing a 27 percent growth rate, and sees more growth in the future.

Takeform’s expansion in Medina included a patio area for employees. The company is sensitive to a work-life balance for employees, and wants them to succeed at their jobs and in their personal lives, said Ellen Eaton, director of Recruiting and Employee Experience for Takeform.

The company has a philosophy of hire right, train right and treat right, she said.

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Scouts recognize Jonathan Doherty, an active volunteer in Albion

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 October 2019 at 10:03 am

Provided photo: Jonathan Doherty, left, is pictured with his friend Ben Metcalf on Thursday in Elba when Doherty received an Award of Merit from the Iroquois Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Doherty, an Eagle Scout, has remained active with scouts in Albion as an adult, including his current role on the Program Planning Committee for Troop 164.

He was called a perfect representative for the Boy Scouts, and an eager promoter of the values of the program.

He also is active with the Self Advocate All Stars through the Arc of Genesee Orleans. Doherty helped start that group in 2006.

He also volunteers with the Albion Alumni Association, Strawberry Festival Committee and other community organizations.

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Orleans/Niagara BOCES names employees of the year

Posted 2 October 2019 at 2:15 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

The school year at Orleans/Niagara BOCES started on a great note with the announcement of its 2018-2019 Employees of the Year. District Superintendent, Dr. Clark Godshall, announced the winners at the opening day celebration at the North Tonawanda High School.

Anne Carnahan

Anne Carnahan, a Cosmetology teacher at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, was named the Teacher of the Year.

“I have been lucky enough to have worked at our career and technical centers for 14 years,” Carnhan said. “I began my career here as a substitute teacher and then was able to work as a teacher’s aide for four years, rotating between almost all of the classrooms. My teaching career began in 2011 in the Cosmetology Department at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center and after two years there, I transferred to Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. Through all the years I have been with this organization, I have been blessed to work with absolutely amazing co-workers, friends and students. We call ourselves a “family” and it is so evident that even by the students notice and make mention of it.”

Anne says she has always had a passion doing hair.  “Even though I still work part-time at a salon, I find a greater satisfaction in teaching my students my trade,” she said. “One of my favorite parts of teaching is, during a lesson, when the students all feel they can’t master it, and then, the lightbulb goes off. They get that look in their eyes and the pride in their smiles as they realize that they can accomplish anything with practice and determination.  My goal each year is not to just teach cosmetology, but to help them get ready for “the real world”.   So many of my kids come back after graduation and share their new life experiences and thank me for helping them with their goals.”

She says she is both honored and shocked that she was chosen to be “Teacher of the Year.”  “There are so many more deserving people that I work with. I would like to thank whoever nominated me and also say that I am blessed to be a part of such an amazing group of people.”

Paulette Hamilton-Koehler

The Administrator of the Year was Paulette Hamilton-Koehler, coordinator at the Royalton-Hartland Learning Center. She has been with Orleans/Niagara BOCES for 18 years.

“My favorite part of my job is being privileged to work with the children that come to our school,” she said. “I am so appreciative to have been nominated to receive this award. I have been fortunate to work with the special education administrative team, the vision and hearing teachers, counselors and the staff at the Roy-Hart Learning Center. I am privileged to work with the hardest working, compassionate and caring staff that I have ever worked with. Making a difference in the lives of our students and their families at the BOCES has been my dream career and I could have never have done it alone.”

Judy Bennett

The Clerical Person of the Year is Judy Bennett, who works at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. She has been with BOCES for 10 years.

“My favorite part of my job is interacting with the students, teachers and all the amazing staff at Orleans/Niagara BOCES,” Bennett said. “I was in shock when I heard my name being called by Dr. Godshall. I am honored that someone nominated me among all of the outstanding clerical staff that I work with. It takes everyone coming together as a team to accomplish our jobs. I will work hard to uphold the title ‘Employee of the Year.’”

Greg Klopfer

The Custodian/Maintenance Person of the Year is Greg Klopfer. Greg has worked for BOCES for 20 years.

“I really enjoy driving around as a courier and getting to stop at all our sites and talk to everyone for a few moments a day,” he said. “We have such amazing staff here. It was such an awesome feeling to know that my peers nominated me as an employee of the year. I am so grateful to them.”

Susan Diemert

The Staff Specialist of the Year is Susan Diemert, who has worked at BOCES for more than three decades.

“I have worked at BOCES for 32 years and started as a GED teacher before becoming a Staff Specialist in 2002,” Diemert said. “My favorite part of the job is watching youth and adults achieve their goals every day. Whether it is to obtain a high school equivalency diploma, become employed, enter post-secondary, find housing, learn English, or enroll in a training program, we see positive outcomes that will help the individual move forward to improve his or her life. The incredible adult literacy staff provides a coordinated program that helps students overcome barriers and gain success. This past year we had 169 students receive their high school equivalency diploma and hundreds obtaining jobs and training. I am very fortunate to have a job that is challenging and rewarding. I am much honored to receive the Employee of the Year award for a job I love.”

Ann Stimm

Substitute of the Year is Ann Stimm, who was hired as a substitute clerical person in October 2018. In March 2019, she began a five-month assignment at the North Tonawanda Learning Center and was reassigned in August as a substitute account clerk typist at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center. 5

“What I enjoy most is being able to share my years of business and secretarial experience to make filling in a seamless transition,” Stimm said. “I enjoy meeting all of the wonderful employees and students of Orleans/Niagara BOCES.  When I opened the letter from Dr. Godshall, I was shocked, elated and proud to be recognized. I would like to thank BOCES for this recognition and my peers who took the time to write a letter on my behalf.”

Maggie Lupo

Teacher Aide of the Year is Maggie Lupo, who has worked at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center since 2004.

“I started as a personal care aide,” Lupo said. “I then worked as a special education teacher aide until 2011. I came to the Orleans Career and Technical Educational Center in January of 2011, where I am currently working as a Diesel Tech teacher aide and helping out where I am needed.  I enjoy my work very much. I am fortunate to have work that I really take much satisfaction from. My favorite part of the job is the people! The students love coming to school here and that just makes work enjoyable. My co-workers are some of the best educators you could ever work with! They care about the students and their futures and this is evident on a daily basis. I was quite surprised to be selected as employee of the year. I was very honored and humbled to receive such a recognition. This positive affirmation will help guide me though the semesters ahead.”

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3 dance groups from Holley studio make it to finals at State Fair

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 September 2019 at 8:59 pm

‘Bad Guy’ makes top 10 at talent show

Provided photos: This group from Lisa’s Dance Studio placed ninth in today’s talent show at the State Fair in Syracuse. The group performed a number called, “Bad Guy.” Lisa’s had two other groups make it to the finals, which included the top 25 acts at the State Fair.

SYRACUSE – Three groups from Lisa’s Dance Boutique competed in the finals of the talent show today at the State Fair, with one of the groups placing ninth overall.

That group performed a routine called “Bad Guy.” Lisa’s had two other groups make it to the final 25 in the finals.

Lisa’s had six groups advance to the semi-finals in the maxi division (ages 13 and up), including: Cold Hearted Snake, Tribe, Perm, Bad Guy, Brave and You Say.

Lisa’s also had three groups in the mini-division (12 and under), including A Little Bit Too Much, Fierce and Cruella DeVil.

The groups from Lisa’s advanced to the State Fair after a strong showing in July at the Orleans County 4-H Fair’s talent show.

This group advanced to the finals today. “Tribe” includes front row, front left: Brianna Drennan, Julia Frederick, Leah Kania, Madison Isenberg, Deanna Schubmehl, Tori Allen, Charley London and Leah Weinbeck. Back row: Allison Amoroso, Kamryn Berner, Savanna Isenberg, Olivia Amoroso, Abby Connelly, Madigan Neumann, Kylie Towne and Hannah Coolbaugh.

Brave also made it to the finals today.

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Holley man re-enlists in New York Army National Guard

Staff Reports Posted 24 July 2019 at 12:03 pm

Major General Ray Shields, the Adjutant General, announces the recent reenlistment of members of the State National Guard in recognition of their continuing commitment to serve community, state and nation as part of the Army National Guard.

Staff Sergeant Patrick Giancursio from Holley re-enlisted to continue service with the Company A (Distribution), 427th Brigade Support Battalion.

“It’s great to see soldiers staying in the Army and continuing to serve their State and Nation in the New York Army National Guard,” Shields said. “The most important Army asset we have is the individual soldier. The dedication, skills, and leadership traits they bring to our community and their employers are invaluable.”

“By choosing to stay in the Army National Guard they directly contribute to our nation’s security and to the governor’s ability to respond to disasters, all while building a bright future for their family through the Guard’s retirement, education, and health insurance programs,” Shields said.

For more information about the New York Army National Guard, visit

Local residents graduate from RIT

Staff Reports Posted 10 July 2019 at 10:02 pm

ROCHESTER – Rochester Institute of Technology conferred some 4,200 degrees this academic year. The university held its 134th annual commencement celebration in May. The following local residents received degrees:

Dakota Clay of Kendall received an MBA in business administration in December 2018.

Michael Fischer of Albion received a BS in chemical engineering in May 2019.

Roland Sanford of Albion received a BS in computational mathematics in May 2019.

Amber Smarpat of Albion received a BFA in illustration in December 2018.

Traci Westcott of Holley received a BFA in photographic and imaging arts in December 2018.

Kenneth Westveer of Holley received a BS in electrical engineering technology in May 2019.

Ganna Yaroshchuk of Holley received a BS in diagnostic medical sonography in May 2019.

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,000 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

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Medina’s Alissa Blount wins Silver Medal at National SkillsUSA Competition

Posted 5 July 2019 at 1:28 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

Alissa Blount

MEDINA – Orleans/Niagara BOCES is proud to announce that Alissa Blount, a senior from Medina High School, has taken home a second place medal from the National SkillsUSA competition.

The National Leadership and Skills Conference was held in Louisville, Kentucky at the end of June. More than 19,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 600 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated. There were 103 hands-on skill and leadership competitions.

Alissa attended the Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Allied Health program at Medina Memorial Hospital taught by Melissa Brigham. Alissa won her silver medal in the Health Occupation Professional Portfolio competition.

The contest recognizes students for their successful development of a professional portfolio. The competition evaluates the ability of the students to present themselves to a prospective employer.

The contestants use their portfolio to showcase communication skills. The contest consists of two parts: a portfolio notebook and a live presentation by the contestant.

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Several residents from Orleans County named to RIT Dean’s List

Staff Reports Posted 1 July 2019 at 4:48 pm

ROCHESTER – The following local residents made the Dean’s List at Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2019 spring semester. Degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean’s List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400; they do not have any grades of Incomplete, D or F; and they have registered for, and completed, at least 12 credit hours.

Brian Bogan of Lyndonville, who is in the manufacturing engineering technology program.

Carson Zgoda of Medina, who is in the medical illustration program.

Ganna Yaroshchuk of Holley, who is in the diagnostic medical sonography program.

Ricky Daniels of Albion, who is in the chemical engineering program.

Keaton Freitag of Kendall, who is in the game design and development program.

Isaac Barrett of Holley, who is in the software engineering program.

Gillian Gallets of Holley, who is in the industrial design program.

Anne Jewell of Holley, who is in the diagnostic medical sonography program.

Madeline Gibbs of Albion, who is in the dietetics and nutrition program.

Michael Fischer of Albion, who is in the chemical engineering program.

Stella Russo of Medina, who is in the physician assistant program.

Toby Kiebala of Medina, who is in the mechanical engineering program.

Tommy Follman of Albion, who is in the criminal justice program.

Nicholas Ettinger of Albion, who is in the electrical engineering technology program.

Riley Starr of Lyndonville, who is in the mechanical engineering program.

Rochester Institute of Technology is home to leading creators, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers. Founded in 1829, RIT enrolls about 19,000 students in more than 200 career-oriented and professional programs, making it among the largest private universities in the U.S.

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Bellavia will receive Medal of Honor today

Staff Reports Posted 25 June 2019 at 8:24 am

David Bellavia

WASHINGTON, D.C. – David Bellavia will become the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the Medal of Honor today.

President Donald Trump will present the nation’s highest military honor to Bellavia during a ceremony scheduled for 3:25 p.m. in the East Room of the White House.

Bellavia, 43, lives in Waterport and is a Lyndonville graduate. He is a former staff sergeant in the U.S. Army. He is being recognized for his actions defending fellow soldiers while serving in the second battle of Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 10, 2004.

While serving as a squad leader in Operation Phantom Fury, a 2004 American offensive on the western Iraqi City of Fallujah, Bellavia saved his entire squad when he cleared a housing block of enemy combatants who had pinned down his unit. Once Bellavia secured the safety of his squad, he re-engaged with the enemy combatants, re-entered the house where enemy fire was located, proceeded to kill four enemy insurgents, and wounded a fifth.

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