Arby’s in Batavia donates $14,500 to Warrior House in West Shelby

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Members of the Knights of Columbus in Medina on Sunday morning presented a check from Arby’s in Batavia to Pete Zeliff and his family, representing the Warrior House in West Shelby. The check, for $14,500, was a result of a promotion in October run by Arby’s franchise holder, Bill Meland. Kneeling are Dave Bellucci and Jim Mirand. Standing, from left, are Zach Baldwin, Skip Draper, Howie Gardner, Bob Fox, Archie Washak and the Zeliff Family, Pete, Gatlin, Sue and Ethan.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 15 November 2021 at 8:00 am

Bill Meland, owner of Arby’s in Batavia, holds a check for $14,500 which he donated to the Warrior House.

MEDINA – A Batavia businessman with roots in Lyndonville has made a generous donation to the Warrior House on Salt Works Road.

Bill Meland, owner of the Arby’s franchise in Batavia, has golfed on a four-man team for the Knights of Columbus in Medina for several years. Meland is no stranger to the Medina area, so when he learned of the Knights’ support of the Warrior House on Salt Works Road, he stepped up to help.

During the month of October, Meland agreed to donate 10 percent of his restaurant’s proceeds to the Warrior House. On Sunday morning, the Knights’ members presented a check for $14,500 on behalf of Arby’s to Pete Zeliff and his family.

Zeliff donated a farmhouse on land he had purchased to be used as a retreat for veterans. He outfitted the rooms with six cots and collaborated with Operation Injured Soldier to bring veterans to the location for four hunting weekends a year – two deer (one bow and arrow and one firearm), a goose and a turkey hunt. Pete’s mother Kathy comes and cooks meals for the veterans.

The Knights became involved with the Warrior House as a result of their golf tournament. They had established a scholarship fund years ago, but it had become well-funded, said golf chairman Dave Bellucci. Several years ago, they had been asked to sponsor a veteran on Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s patriotic trip to Washington, D.C., and they thought that was a good cause.

“However, we realized that would help only one veteran, and we wondered if there wasn’t something we could do to help more veterans,” Bellucci said.

They learned of the Warrior House and chose to donate the profit from their golf tournament for the veterans. While playing golf, Meland learned what the Knights were doing and wondered what he could do to help.

Pete Zeliff, right, who donated a farmhouse on his property as a retreat for veterans, looks at a check for $14,500, just presented to him for the Warrior House by Archie Washak of Medina Knights of Columbus on behalf of Arby’s in Batavia.

Zeliff said this is the largest single donation the Warrior House has received since it has been in existence.

“Meland is a very generous man,” he said.

Zeliff said the money will be used to fund new programs they are developing for the veterans next year.

Any veteran is welcome to apply to take part in a hunting weekend at the Warrior House. They can find information on the Warrior House website.

In the past, veterans have come from Florida, Louisiana and all across New York, with several from Watertown, Zeliff said. The Warrior House also offers to pay for travel expenses, if needed.

The last hunt of 2021 will be Dec. 4 and 5.