Donation will pay for wreaths at veterans’ graves in Yates for many years to come
Press Release, Lyndonville Area Foundation
LYNDONVILLE – At the Lyndonville Area Foundation’s annual July meeting, its Board of Directors were presented with a significant monetary gift from Lyndonville resident Anna Stelianou.
Accompanying Ms. Stelianou at the meeting was Mr. Steve Goodrich, Commander of Houseman-Tanner VFW Post 1603 of Lyndonville.
Ms. Stelianou’s donation will enable the Foundation to fund memorial wreaths to be placed upon each military veteran gravesite within the Town of Yates on an annual basis. There are approximately 400 gravesites – each painstakingly identified and mapped out by Mr. Goodrich. After the first wreath purchases later this year, Ms. Stelianou’s substantial donation allows the Foundation to invest the remainder and thus continue to purchase the wreaths each year into perpetuity. The wreaths will be purchased through the Houseman-Tanner Post and the “Wreaths Across America” program.
The gift by Ms. Stelianou to the Lyndonville Area Foundation was made in the memory of her parents, Konstantina and Ary Stelianou, who arrived in Lyndonville in the early 1920s as immigrants from the small island of Lemnos, Greece. The Stelianous set up business with a small store serving lunches, candy and ice cream. By 1933 they had six boys and a baby girl, all living in a small apartment above the store.
As Ms. Stelianou relates, “The Depression was on and I’m sure they had a difficult time. I have an idea there were a lot of community members helping them.” She adds, “Many thanks for all those who made my parents feel welcome in this new world and in helping them achieve the American Dream.”
Her donation was also made in memory of Ms. Stelianou’s five older brothers – all of whom were veterans of either WWII or the Korean War.
“When Steve Goodrich emailed me regarding this donation and shared a little of Anna’s background, quite honestly, I was floored,” said Darren D. Wilson, president of the Foundation. “I know Steve was, too.”
Speaking to her brothers service to our country, Mr. Goodrich reminded us, “We are immensely humbled by this gift, but it is we who cannot repay the debt.”
The “Wreaths Across America” program takes place on Dec. 14. Beginning in September, Mr. Goodrich will be reaching out via Facebook and other outlets seeking volunteers to assist himself and members of the Houseman-Tanner Post to lay the wreaths at each gravesite.