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Warrior House plans busy weekend on Sept. 14-15

Photos by Ginny Kropf: This farmhouse on Salt Works Road in the Town of Shelby has been donated by owner Pete Zeliff Jr. as a getaway for veterans. The site is known as the Warrior House.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 5 September 2018 at 11:44 am

Kneeling before the helmet, rifle and boots of a deceased soldier is how a soldier pays tribute to a fallen comrade, as depicted in this statue on the lawn of the Warrior House.

SHELBY – It may not look like much – an old farmhouse surrounded by cornfields.

But to the veterans who get to come there, it is a paradise.

The home on Salt Works Road is called the Warrior House where, on Sept. 14 and 15, a weekend of events has been planned for a handful of veterans.

After purchasing the farm on Salt Works Road, Pete Zeliff Jr. knew he didn’t want the farmhouse. It didn’t take him long to find a use for the old home.

Zeliff knew Joe Pionessa of Oakfield, who in turn introduced him to Ed Spence of South Alabama. Spence, a  Marine and Army veteran, at the time was New York state director of Operation Injured Soldier, and was actively involved in developing events to support veterans.

Soon after meeting, the three came up with the idea of a retreat, where veterans could come and spend quality time, just relaxing or enjoying sporting events.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Warrior House in West Shelby hosted six veterans in early November 2015 for hunting and fellowship. These three include, from left: Albert Gonzalez from Theresa, near Fort Drum in northern New York; Shannon Girard from Lafayette, La.; and Shane Weyant from Holidaysburg, Pa.

The Warrior House became a reality in 2015.

Zeliff fixed up the interior and had 12 beds built to fill the downstairs.

The first event was a hunt, set up by Operation Injured Soldier, which paid to bring veterans from all over the country to the Warrior House. Three more sporting events were sponsored the first year, including a string of chartered fishing trips on Lake Ontario.

The Sept. 14 and 15 event will be a goose hunt, and will include participation by ABATE, an Albion-based motorcycle group that will sponsor a dice run. The dice run will begin at the Medina VFW at 10 a.m. and continue to other VFWs in the area, ending with a pig roast, live band and basket raffle at the Warrior House.  Last year’s event raised about $13,000. For more information, contact dice run leader Todd Wilcox at (716) 566-0365.

The Warrior House is now a 501-3C, and donations of cash, food and raffle baskets is always welcome.

They are also looking for volunteers, and anyone interested can call (716) 560-0697.

Spence said they recently took in some homeless veterans and gave them temporary shelter at the Warrior House.

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