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Shelby honors 2 firefighters for 50 years of service

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Steve Seitz, left center, and Sidney “Buster” Watts, were honored Saturday night for 50 years of membership in the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. They are pictured with fire company president Tim Petry, left, and fire chief Jason Watts, right. Seitz and Buster Watts are holding a wooden plaque with firefighter’s emblems, which was presented to Jason Watts as incoming chief.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 January 2020 at 3:07 pm

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company also swears in officers during annual meeting

SHELBY – Two members of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company were honored Saturday night for 50 years of dedicated membership.

At left, Orleans County legislator Bill Eick, State Sen. Rob Ortt and Assemblyman Mike Norris line up to shake hands with Steve Seitz on his 50 years of membership in the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Steve Seitz and Sidney “Buster” Watts each joined the fire company in 1970.

Seitz said he joined right out of school. His family had been members and he always liked coming to the fire hall and see the parades in which they participated. Besides, he and Buster grew up together.

One of the most gratifying things for Seitz was receiving the President’s Award three times.

“That showed I was really appreciated,” he said.

For Watts, belonging to the fire company was all about family and the respect he got as a firefighter. His father was a charter member of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company and growing up, Buster and his siblings spent most of their time at the fire hall with their parents. His mother was one of the original members of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary.

During their 50 years of membership, both Seitz and Watts were active in the fire company.

Seitz was chairman of the fall gun raffle for 30 years. He works all through the year on discounts and raffle prizes to save the fire company money.

“The Fall Gun Raffle is always a big success due to Steve’s dedication every year,” said Tim Petry, president of the fire company. “Steve always lends a hand to all the chairman of our other events.”

Seitz volunteered to be the bride in a mock wedding the fire company had in the 1980s, and he also donates and cooks a variety of game at Shelby’s annual chicken barbecue.

Sidney “Buster” Watts is congratulated by Kenna Liddell, a representative of the Firefighters’ Association of the State of New York, on being honored as a 50-year member of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Watts has always supported the fire company and shown his appreciation for them. He served many years as president, vice president, secretary, bingo chairman and Nevada chairman. He was one of the starters of the Christmas party and served as an usher in the 1980s mock wedding.

Both Seitz and Watts received plaques from the fire company and certificates and/or proclamations from Orleans County Legislator Bill Eick, Shelby deputy supervisor Jeff Smith, Senator Rob Ortt, Assemblyman Mike Norris (who also represented Assemblyman Steve Hawley, whose district used to include Shelby) and Kenna Liddell from the Firefighters’ Association of the State of New York.

Pat Fuller, president of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary, and chaplain Phil Keppler presided over a memorial service in honor of four members who died during the past year: Charlie Wilson, Kenneth Schaal, Anthony Satkowski and Robert Fuller.

Petry introduced master of ceremonies, Stefano Napolitano, chief of the city of Batavia Fire Department. Napolitano shared his reasons for becoming a firefighter, having joined the fire service 33 years ago in Herkimer County. He gave up a career as a mechanical/nuclear engineer after joining his local fire company as a volunteer. He became a fire inspector at the State Firefighters’ Academy, where he wrote curriculum.

He told the firefighters leadership was getting everyone to act in a way to achieve a common goal. He said leadership is a gift which can’t be bought. It can only be obtained in one way.

“You have to earn it,” he said.

Napolitano also stressed how important it is when a new firefighter comes up with a new idea.

“That’s very positive,” he said. “We’ve often heard someone say, ‘It was done this way for the last 50 years and we’re not going to change.’ If you have that attitude, you’re never going to get better.”

He urged all in the room to try and be a hero to somebody.

“Every day, do something nice for someone,” he said.

He added he was very blessed to lead 33 people in the city of Batavia Fire Department.

Newly installed officers of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company are, from left, fire chief Jason Watts, deputy chief David Moden, assistant chief Scott Petry, firematic captain Zach Petry, firematic lieutenant Crystal Luckman and EMS captain Jeff Lyons.

All officers of the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company lined up for this photo after their 51st installation banquet Saturday night at Shelby Firemen’s Recreation Hall. Front row, kneeling from left, are EMS captain Jeff Lyons, secretary and EMT Tiffany Petry, sergeant-at-arms Vincent Viterna and lieutenant Crystal Luckman. Standing in front are steward Dawn Petry and assistant chief Scott Petry. Back row, from left, are chaplain Phil Keppler, assistant chaplain Karl Haist, president Tim Petry, vice president Gary Lamar, treasurer Kirk Myhill, chief Jason Watts, trustee Lee Hellert, captain Zachary Petry, deputy chief David Moden, trustee Marcus Watts and trustee Andy Benz.

Tim Fearby installed Shelby’s new officers. They are Executive Board members Tim Petry, president; Gary Lamar, vice president; Kirk Myhill, treasurer; Tiffany Petry, secretary; Vinny Viterna, sergeant-at-arms; Phil Keppler, chaplain; Karl Haist Jr., assistant chaplain; and Dawn Petry, steward.

Outgoing fire chief Andy Benz, right, pins the chief’s badge on Jason Watts, who is beginning his third term as Shelby fire chief.

Trustees installed are Andy Benz, one year; Lee Hellert, two years; and Marcus Watts, one year.

New firematic officers are Jason Watts, chief; David Moden, deputy chief; Scott Petry, assistant chief; Zach Petry, firematic captain; Crystal Luckman, firematic lieutenant; and Jeff Lyons, EMS captain.

Members of the Ladies Auxiliary were installed by Tracy Hendricks. They are Patricia Fuller, president; Elaine Watts, vice president; Robin Watts, secretary; Lori Myhill, treasurer; Brianna Wheeler, sergeant-at-arms; Stacy Benz, chaplain; Rosemary Pray, three-year trustee; Delores Wolters, two-year trustee; and Sharon Wright, one-year trustee.

Chief Jason Watts installed new Junior Firefighter officers. They are Alex Benz, president; Degan Bragg, vice president; Maddison Simpson, secretary; and Frankie DiCureia, sergeant-at-arms.

The awards ceremony began with president Tim Petry announcing the winner of his President’s Award.

“Every year it is really tough to pick a winner,” he said. “But this year was easy.”

In an unprecedented move, he named members of the entire fire company as the recipients of his award.

“During this past year, this fire company has become even more of a family,” Petry said. “That’s why I’m presenting my award to the complete fire company.”

For his award, he had a wooden plaque made with symbols of the fire company. Incoming chief Jason Watts accepted the award for the department.

Watts is beginning his third term as fire chief. Five years ago, Watts said he turned the position over to Andy Benz, and now Benz has turned it over to him.

Tim Petry, left, president of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company, holds a check for $10,000 which had just been presented to him and outgoing chief Andy Benz Saturday night by Pat Fuller, president of the Shelby Ladies Auxiliary.

Benz completed his term by choosing Zach Petry as recipient of the Chief’s Award. He said Petry has really matured during the last year and he is going to make a fine officer.

Benz announced the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company responded to 197 calls during 2019, most of which were EMS. They have one new EMT, Josh McKeehen; one new certified first responder, Nick Brown; and Joe and Lori Kyle were both re-certified as EMTs.

Shelby was awarded the most EMS training hours in the county, with 789.

Three new firefighters, John Palmer, Jenna Prince and Trevor Fox completed the Firefighter Officer I class taught by Napolitano.

In his farewell speech, Benz urged all new firefighters to take all the training they can.

“Be a leader and learn how to speak, not only to fellow firefighters but to members of the community, especially law enforcement,” he said. “Take new members under your wing and teach them all you can.”

Members of Shelby Volunteer Fire Company’s Junior Firefighters line up behind president Alex Benz, who announces the Junior Firefighters had raised money to purchase three new lights for the company’s fire trucks.

Alex Benz and his Junior Firefighters do fundraising each year, and this year they raised enough money to purchase three sets of lights for Shelby’s fire trucks.

Pat Fuller said the Auxiliary had a very busy year. She presented Auxiliary secretary Elaine Watts with a gift certificate for her hard work as purchasing agent for the department.

Then Fuller explained how the firemen work side-by-side to help the Auxiliary any way they can. As a result of their fundraising efforts, the Auxiliary was able to present president Tim Petry and outgoing chief Andy Benz with a check for $10,000.

Recognition was given to Rusty Hoffmeister for his work in developing the new parking lot on the corner of South Gravel Road and Allegany Road. The fire company is also going to be looking at remodeling their building next door, Petry said.

Three men who are not even members of the fire company were acknowledged for their efforts in selling raffle tickets for Shelby’s events. Buddy Watson, Bob Clark and Gary Brien all step up to sell an enormous number of tickets each year.

Petry also commended Shelby and three other local fire companies who joined to sponsor a boot drive to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. On Sept. 7, Shelby, East Shelby, Lyndonville and Ridgeway raised $7,152.15 in two and one-half hours.

Final recognitions were paid to Mike Fuller, who served 44 years in the Shelby Highway Department and was a strong supporter of the fire company; and to Junior Wilson’s Sportsmen’s Club.

Junior Wilson donates generously to the fire company, without even being asked, Petry said.

The evening concluded with gag gifts being presented to Howard Watts, Andy Benz and Stefano Napolitano.

Shelby Volunteer Fire Company poses with members of three other fire companies who joined them on Sept. 7 to conduct a boot drive to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Those who participated with Shelby were East Shelby, Lyndonville and Ridgeway, who raised $7,152 in 2 1/2 hours.

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3 highway superintendents retiring after century of service

Photo by Tom Rivers: These town highway superintendents – from left, Larry Swanger of Clarendon, Mike Fuller of Shelby, and Ron Mannella of Gaines – are pictured at Tillman’s Village Inn on Wednesday. They were honored at the monthly meeting of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2019 at 8:45 am

Swanger, Fuller and Mannella led their towns through major waterline expansions

GAINES – Three town highways superintendents in Orleans County are retiring, with the trio serving 106 years combined as highway workers, including 70 years as the highway superintendents.

Larry Swanger of Clarendon, Ron Mannella of Gaines and Mike Fuller of Shelby have each put in many new miles of water districts, in addition to leading their departments in maintaining and plowing roads.

The superintendents were honored on Wednesday at the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association. They received citations from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley and the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways. That group’s president, Joel Kie of the Town of Dickinson near Binghamton, attended the meeting and praised the three local highway chiefs for their service.

Larry Swanger, left, is presented with citations for his service by Joel Kie (center), president of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways; and Michael Niedert, Albion town highway superintendent and president of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

Swanger is retiring after 30 years as Clarendon’s highway superintendent. When he started, there was one water district in Clarendon, and it was privately owned and served Thomas Estates. Now, Clarendon has 13 water districts spread over 50 miles with 830 customers. About two decades ago, the town built a water tower.

Swanger is the water superintendent, in addition to the highway leader. Mannella and Fuller also serve in both roles.

“I’ve liked the people and the other highway superintendents,” Swanger said. “It’s the people that you get involved with.”

Swanger said the job is more complicated than people realize.

“People don’t see the behind-the-scenes paperwork, the contracts you have to deal with,” he said.

Swanger didn’t seek re-election in November. Tracy Bruce Chalker was elected to the position and starts Jan. 1.

Ron Mannella is presented citations for his service by the president of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways and the president of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association.

Ron Mannella is retiring after 26 years as the Gaines highway superintendent. Before working in Gaines, Mannella was a motor equipment operator for six years with the Town of Albion Highway Department.

When he started with Gaines, the town had 8 miles of waterlines. Now there are more than 50 miles with 750 to 800 water customers. The expansion of public water is a big accomplishment for the town, Mannella said.

Gaines also used a grant to cover most of the costs of a salt storage shed. In 1999, the town highway garage collapsed after a heavy snow storm. A rebuilt garage opened in 2001.

Although Mannella is retiring as the highway superintendent, he will stay in public service as a new member of the Gaines Town Board. He received the most votes in November among four candidates. Mark Radzinski was elected in November to succeed Mannella as the highway superintendent.

“It was a good run,” Mannella said about the 26 years as highway superintendent. “The people of Gaines are really nice.”

Mike Fuller smiles after receiving his citations for a 44-year career with the Town of Shelby Highway Department.

Mike Fuller has worked 44 years with the Town of Shelby Highway Department, starting as a motor equipment operator when he was 21. The past 14 years he has been highway superintendent.

The town built its first water district in 1972 with 125 customers in the hamlet and on South Gravel Road. During Fuller’s career, the town expanded to 12 water districts serving 800 customers. Shelby also built a salt storage shed.

“We put in a lot of waterlines,” Fuller said. “Those are big projects.”

Shelby used to have its town building on Maple Ridge Road, where ALDI is located today. That site had contaminated soil from fuel. Fuller led the effort to have the soil removed from the site and relocated to the town property on Salt Works Road. The town used a bio-cell where micro-organisms improved the soil, which was cleared by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Fuller said that project was an interesting challenge for the Highway Department.

He also is pleased with the town’s efforts in helping to put in infrastructure and clear land for the Medina Business Park. Shelby teamed with the Medina Department of Public Works and Orleans County Highway Department for projects at the Business Park.

Fuller lost a close election last month to Dale Root for highway superintendent. Fuller said he will remain active in the community. He is past chief and current president of the East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company. He also serves with the Knights of Columbus and has a part-time job with Mercy EMS in Batavia.

“I’ve enjoyed serving the people,” he said.

Mike Neidert, president of the Orleans County Town Highway Superintendents Association, is finishing his first four-year term as Albion’s superintendent. He said the local highway leaders embraced him when he started. He urged the group to continue that approach with the three new highway superintendents.

“Everyone took me under their wing and welcomed me in and I encourage everyone to do that with the new guys coming in,” Neidert said.

Joel Kie, president of the New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways, attended the meeting, driving from near Binghamton. He said the town highway departments will need to press the state legislators to maintain funding for road maintenance. Kie said he is concerned about the state funding, especially with the state facing a shortfall.

He urged the highway superintendents to attend lobbying days in Albany on March 3-4.

“This year will be extra tough because of the deficits,” he said.

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Shelby man makes ‘vehicle’ from scrap parts, old lawn tractor

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 December 2019 at 9:35 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dan Fuller proudly stands by this vehicle he made entirely out of items he found around his house. He started with an old Cub Cadet lawn tractor his uncle gave him.

MEDINA – It could hardly be classified as an antique, although almost everything it is made of is “old.”

In fact, owner Dan Fuller doesn’t know what to call it, except maybe a “toy.”

Fuller’s toy was on display in the parking lot of Medina High School during the toy show oin October, where it received a lot of attention.

One of the first to stop and look it over was Gary Brockel of West Shelby, who wasn’t sure whether to admire it or question it.

The red vehicle had wheels, exhaust pipes coming out of the top of what was obviously an engine, and an unlikely driver sitting behind a steering wheel of sorts.

Fuller said he could never afford a real hot rod, so this was his compromise.

It all started when his uncle asked if he wanted an old Cub Cadet lawn tractor. Fuller did, and spent the next couple of years transforming it.

A neighbor’s old wheelbarrow became the seat; his daughter’s bunk bed yielded material for a shelf; a bumper off a 1957 Cadillac became the hood; metal from an old foosball table framed the windshield; a balance plate was fashioned from an old ash tray belonging to his parents; two souvenir copper mugs served as headlamps; a discarded wrought iron railing formed holders for the windshield; part of an old desk and steel plate from his son’s wheelchair became the grill, with a cross cut out of it.

Fuller said he started building his hotrod last fall and then finished it in the spring.

He has several more ideas for projects in the future. He has a silage wagon in his yard which he plans to turn into a “she shed” for his wife.

Then he has purchased a 1948 Farmall Cub tractor, which he intends to make into a World War II-era airport tug, such as would be used to move airplanes.

As an Air Force veteran, Fuller said that is tops on his “to-do” list.

Gary Brockel of West Shelby checks out this vehicle on display in the parking lot of Medina High School during the first ever toy show this fall. The “toy” was built by Dan Fuller of Medina from odd parts he found laying around his house.

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East Shelby church welcomes community for Old Fashioned Christmas

Provided photos: Lorna Klotzbach of Pembroke gives horse and buggy rides during an Old Fashioned Christmas at East Shelby Community Bible Church.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 December 2019 at 2:30 pm

Kyle and Anneliese Wroblewski are Mary and Joseph during Old Fashioned Christmas on Sunday.

MEDINA – An Old Fashioned Christmas has become an annual tradition at the East Shelby Community Bible Church.

This year’s event will be from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday and will feature a variety of activities which honor Christmas celebrations from the past.

Old Fashioned Christmas takes place in the historic 1800s miniature village of West Jackson Corners. Named for what East Shelby was called in the 1800s, West Jackson Corners is across from the church at 5278 East Shelby Rd.

The annual event features Dickens-style caroling, horse and buggy rides, hands-on activities, (such as making your own swag) and enjoying hot chocolate and other homemade Christmas treats.

The day will begin with a Christmas concert at 12:30 p.m. by the church’s Band of Renown. As always, there is a visit from Santa.

Visitors this year will be glad to learn the church has a new, larger parking lot which will accommodate all of their guests, while keeping them closer to the festivities.

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Tractor trailer jackknifes in Shelby on 31A

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 November 2019 at 2:52 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – A tractor trailer from Grand Island hit a guard rail and slid off the road at about 1:30 p.m. today. This photo is looking east on Route 31A, just west of Townline Road near Barre.

The driver of the truck for JS Trucking wasn’t injured.

This is looking west at the scene. The accident closed a section of Route 31A. Shelby and East Shelby firefighters were on the scene with a crew from the Albion Fire Department called to help clean up leaking fuel from the tractor trailer, which was empty.

Road conditions are slick due to the freezing temperatures and falling snow.

No other information was available.

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Kids get to ride fire trucks, spray water at Shelby open house

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2019 at 10:01 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

SHELBY – Zach Petry, a Shelby firefighter, makes sure kids are buckled in before taking them on a ride in Shelby fire truck today during an open house at the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company.

Shelby firefighters also shared fire prevention tips, and served hot dogs.

Kara Zambito and her son Vinny, 1, spray water at targets. The fire company set up obstacles, games and activities to give people a feel for being a firefighter.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department also did a child ID program. A fire prevention trailer from Orleans County Emergency Services also was on-site for families to practice an escape plan in case of a fire.

Mercy Flight also stopped by with a helicopter and the Holley Fire Department brought its new ladder truck.

Lukin Szatkowski, 8, of Medina takes a turn with the hose with some guidance from Melinda Canham.

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Shelby has open house at fire hall on Saturday

Staff Reports Posted 18 October 2019 at 5:34 pm

SHELBY — The Shelby Volunteer Fire Company will have an open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the fire hall, 4677 South Gravel Rd. (Route 63.

The public is welcome to tour fire trucks, the fire hall, and kids can attempt an obstacle course where they learn fire prevention and response tips, such as Stop, Drop and Roll, and to crawl under tables in case of a fire.

Kids can also spray water from a hose at targets. They also will receive goodie bags and plastic fire helmets.

The event is free and open to public. Hot dogs, chips and beverages will also be available.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department will be doing a child ID program. A fire prevention trailer from Orleans County Emergency Services also will be on-site.

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200-plus raise $35K at Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 6 October 2019 at 7:03 pm

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Marie Hartway, center, of Medina is flanked by her sister-in-law Jennifer Bansbach of Lyndonville, left, and sister Bridget DiCureia of Albion as they wait for the start of the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run Saturday at East Shelby Fire Hall. Hartway is undergoing chemotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute for breast cancer, and said she is walking to “give back.”

EAST SHELBY – The 31st annual Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run on Saturday was again a resounding success, raising more than $35,000 to help families dealing with cancer in Orleans County.

Sandy Persons of Kent stretches her muscles as she waits for the start of the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run on Saturday. A 10-year breast cancer survivor, Persons said she had a friend who walked in a body cast, and if she could do it, so could Persons.

Top finishers were Alden Cayea, 19, of Medina (male) in 19 minutes, 10 seconds; and Mollie Mark, 40, of Medina (female) in 23 minutes, 37 seconds, according to Stacey Knights Pellicano, daughter of the late Richard Knights for whom the race is co-named.

More than 200 of all ages registered to participate in the event, from grandparents to children in strollers to entire families.

The walk was started 30 years ago as a fundraiser by the Knights and Kaderli families who had lost loved ones due to cancer, Richard Knights and Sue Kaderli. Participation has grown each year, allowing the fund to provide thousands of dollars in assistance to cancer patients and their families.

The walk/run annually draws repeat supporters, such as Kristin McAdoo of Medina who has taken part for 20 years. She competed this year with her two sons, 20 and 21, and granddaughter, 5. She wanted to support the race because they helped her father-in-law with expenses before he died, she said.

Twins Darlene Rich and Sharlene Pratt of Medina have run every year as a family. Older sister Fonda Carr is their cheerleader, Rich said. This year they ran with Pratt’s daughter Katie, her two children, her boyfriend and his two children.

Marie Hartway, 51, of Medina showed her determination by walking with sister Bridget DiCureia of Medina and sister-in-law Jennifer Bansbach of Lyndonville. Hartway is undergoing chemotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute for breast cancer. Although she walked on Saturday, a year ago she ran her first marathon, she said.

“The Knights-Kaderli Fund has definitely helped me, and I want to give back,” she said.

DiCureia previously walked for Kelly Schrader Hurrell, who had the same cancer as Marie.

“The lesson you learn is there is not one family cancer doesn’t touch,” Bansbach said.

The Martin family annually joins to support the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run. Here, Sue, second from left, is joined by her daughter Alicia Dunham and her two children, and son Ben with his wife and son as they wait for the start of the walk.

Hartway, who was diagnosed in February, said exercising helps keep her sane.

“I treat it like my marathon – you just have to keep going,” she said.

Pellicano thanked the families, runners, walkers, those who donated baskets for the raffle and all the volunteers who participated in any way.

Race Management Solutions timed and recorded racers and provided music.

Karen Barber of Medina crosses the finish line with her children Brooks, 5, and Kennedy, 7, during the 31st Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run. The event raised more than $35,000 to help families dealing with cancer in Orleans County.

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Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run returns on Saturday in East Shelby

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 3 October 2019 at 7:08 am

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Two families of friends turned out in full force last October to support the Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run at East Shelby Fire Hall. Gary and Karen Barber of Brockport, at left, and Jay and Julie Mersdorf of Webster pose with children Haley Mersdorf, 8; Kennedy Barber, 6; Paxton Barber, 2; Brooks Barber, 4; and Brett Mersdorf. The 31stannual Knights-Kaderli Walk/Run is this Saturday.

EAST SHELBY – This Saturday will mark the occasion of the 31st annual Knights-Kaderli 5K race to benefit those living with cancer in Orleans County.

The fundraiser originally started as separate events in memory of two lifelong residents of Orleans County – Richard Knights and Sue Scharping Kaderli.

In 1994, their families merged their memorial funds into the Knights-Kaderli Memorial Fund. It was the wish of both families that money raised be used to provide financial support to Orleans County cancer patients and their families. Funds have been used to assist families with prescriptions, medical supplies, transportation costs, nutritional supplements and bills.

Since its inception, the fund has assisted about 600 cancer patients and/or their families, and gives out about $60,000 annually to assist families. The 5K walk/run is a big fundraiser for Knights-Kaderli.

Richard Knights grew up in Knowlesville, a son of the late William Knights Jr. and Sarah Marion Cox Knights. He was also a stepson of Mary Balcerzak Knights. He graduated from Medina High School and attended Morrisville and Kent State universities. He was prominent in an extensive farming operation in the town of Ridgeway under the name of Knights Land Company. He was also owner of Knights Real Estate and a partner in Ridge Sand and Gravel and Orleans Trucking.

Richard spent a decade in a policy-making position with the Republican Party in Orleans County and was a longtime member of the Republican Committee in the town of Ridgeway. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Medina, a former member of the Medina Jaycees, an active member of various farm groups and was president of the West Ridgeway Cemetery Association.

Sue Kaderli grew up in Orleans County, a daughter of the late Earl and Viola Clack Scharping. She graduated from Medina High School in 1955 and worked in the Orleans County area most of her life. She spent the last 15 years of her life as a clerk at Main Liquor Store in Medina.

She was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church and was a dedicated and loving mother to her four children. She is remembered as a very compassionate person, always there to talk with or lend a hand to those in need.

Sue’s family copes with her loss by helping others who are fighting cancer. It is their hope that Sue’s gift of compassion for helping other people will live on through the aid of this fund named in her memory.

The Knights-Kaderli 5K race will take place at East Shelby Fire Hall. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m., with the race starting at 11 a.m. The public is invited to attend the event for lunch and to participate in a giant basket raffle.

Minimum registration fee to walk or run in the race is $20 and includes a T-shirt and lunch.

Online registration is available at

More information or sponsorship and donation opportunities are available by calling Mary Zelazny at (585) 746-8455; Stacey Knights Pellicano at (716) 998-0977 or Melissa Knights Bertrand at (716) 983-7932.

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Big effort from several groups raises $20K for Warrior House

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Dave Bellucci of the Medina Knights of Columbus presented a check for $1,260 to Pete Zeliff Jr. for the Warrior House on Saturday. From left are Bellucci, Zeliff, and Knights members Archie Washak, Mike Krupa and Bob Fox.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 11 August 2019 at 1:20 pm

MEDINA – Saturday was a special day at the Warrior House on Salt Works Road.

Not only was it the third annual fundraiser for the veterans’ retreat, it was a day when several local organizations came together to show their support for veterans in the area.

The day began with a special presentation of a check for $1,260 by the Knights of Columbus in Medina. Members Dave Bellucci, Bob Fox, Archie Washak and Mike Krupa presented the check to Pete Zeliff, Jr., the landowner who donated the farmhouse and land on Salt Works Road which is used as a retreat for veterans.

The donation represents the proceeds of the Knights’ golf tournament July 27. Bellucci said they normally raise about $500 at the tournament, but this year because it was going to benefit veterans, golfers who won monetary prizes donated it all back. Five veterans actually golfed in the tournament.

It was the idea of Washak, a Vietnam veteran, to donate their proceeds to the Warrior House.

“The Warrior House is a great cause, he said.

These are some of the more than 200 Patriot Guard and ABATE riders who attended a fundraiser Saturday at the Warrior House on Salt Works Road, Medina.

“Funding from groups like this allows us to expand the things we do for veterans,” Zeliff said.

Tops on their list of things to do is to expand programs to include veterans and their families, such as picnics and special gatherings. Catherine Schmidt will head this new endeavor.

The Warrior House was founded in 2015 after Zeliff purchased land on Salt Works Road, but had no use for the farmhouse on the property. He met Ed Spence of Oakfield, who was the Western New York leader of Operation Injured Soldier, and the Warrior House was established.

Saturday’s fundraiser grew out of efforts started by Todd Wilcox of Medina, who organized the first one two years ago. It was going to be a simple dice run for 30 to 40 bikes, but his wife Beverly, who tends bar at the VFW in Medina, suggested they add a basket raffle. This year, basket donations reached nearly 300, in addition to big ticket items, such as five weapons, a hand-crocheted blanket with an American flag and soldiers on it, a fire ring donated by the BOCES Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Program, a picnic table donated by BOCES wood shop and more.

Diane Kephart, center, helped with the giant basket raffle to benefit the Warrior House. Kim Lockwood of Medina, right, sold 50/50 tickets during the fundraiser Saturday.

Bev Wilcox coordinated this year’s basket raffle. Other support came from Orleans County veterans’ organizations, including Medina VFW and Auxiliary; Patriot Guard Riders, led by ride captain Joe Joyce of East Pembroke; ABATE; Harley Davidson dealers across the country, who became involved because Medina veteran Jim Freas’ niece works for Harley Davidson; Bad Ash Barbecue, who loaned their food trailer; and M&T Heating in Albion.

Also this year, AMVETS Riders from Blasdell announced they would donate the proceeds of a fundraiser they did to the Warrior House.

Proceeds from the day are expected to exceed $20,000.

“This will go a long way toward helping any veteran in need,” Zeliff said. “This includes food and clothing for homeless vets.”

“It not only means food on the table for a needy veteran, but we have provided a truckload of wood for a veteran in the winter and money for HEAP to help with heating costs,” said Dan Anderson, commander of the VFW in Medina. “We also do a Christmas program, where we provide Christmas dinner and gifts for veterans and their families.”

A highlight of the day’s event included dedication of a new flagpole in the yard. Mark Zacher of Zacher Construction laid out the ground work, Oak Orchard Concrete donated the concrete and BOCES welded the steel design, which depicts a soldier kneeling in front of a cross. The ceremony included singing of the National Anthem and raising of new American, MIA and POW flags. This was followed with Taps, a 21-gun salute by veterans’ Honor Guard and displaying a flag draped casket by Medina’s American Legion and VFW.

The Warrior House will continue to provide hunting and fishing trips for veterans across the country.

“There’s nothing else like the Warrior House anywhere around here,” Wilcox said.

Photos courtesy of Diana Anderson: Members of the Medina American Legion and VFW, along with their Honor Guard, participated in ceremonies Saturday afternoon to dedicate a new flag pole and memorial at the Warrior House.

A silhouette of a soldier kneeling beside a cross was dedicated alongside a new flag pole at the Warrior House on Saturday afternoon.

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