VA Western New York Healthcare System
Welcome Home 2014
VA Western New York Healthcare System celebrated its 10th Welcome Home Picnic at the Buffalo and Erie County Military and Naval Park for all Veterans and their families. All guests were able to enjoy a beautiful summer day with tours of the naval ships, snacks, entertainment, SSG Christopher Dill’s Cruise-In, motorcycles and tour the monuments in the park. The event was in partnership with the Vets4Vets Pathfinders, a group of Vietnam Veteran volunteers who are ambassadors for VA health care in the community. Their generous donation and hard work was inspiration to over 3,700 people who attended this year’s event.
Veterans and their families spoke to representatives from over 40 VA programs, community agencies, employers and colleges to learn about VA benefits and health care services, employment opportunities, and Veteran Service Organizations. At noon, the roar of power boats came through the Buffalo River to begin the tribute to Western New Yorkers who served in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn and lost their lives since 9/11. They were honored in a moving Memorial Ceremony at the Western New York Vietnam War Memorial. The Pathfinders dropped a flower into the water as each name was read with a tolling of the USS Little Rock Bell as a tribute to their lives and service. The sound of echo Taps filled the summer air. Motorcyclists representing Veteran groups from Western New York revved their engines in closing.