Four Chaplains Interfaith Memorial Service - VA Western New York Healthcare System
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VA Western New York Healthcare System


Four Chaplains Interfaith Memorial Service

February 10, 2017

Print Version (MS Word)


Contact: Evangeline Conley, Public Affairs Officer

Phone:    (716) 862-8753 Cell: (716) 512-9338



Four Chaplains Interfaith Memorial Service

VA Western New York Healthcare System holds annual event


VA Western New York Healthcare System will hold a special memorial service for Veterans, employees, and the community on Wednesday, February 15 at 2 p.m. in Freedom Hall (Room 301), 3495 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, New York. The memorial service honors four U.S. Army chaplains who lost their lives in an extraordinary act of heroism during World War II. United States Coast Guard Master Chief Chris Martin will be our keynote speaker, with VA Chaplain Robert Chambers presiding over the service.  

At this special event, four local citizens will be presented with the Legion of Honor award; Daniel Irwin III (Amherst), Robert C. Koza (West Seneca), Kevin Louis Lawson (East Bethany), and Carol Rhonemus (Buffalo). The Legion of Honor award recognizes and honors outstanding members of society whose lives model the giving spirit of unconditional service to community, nation, and humanity without regard to race, religion, or creed which is exemplified dramatically by the Four Chaplains.

The four chaplains, a Methodist Minister, Jewish Rabbi, Dutch Reformed Church Minister, and Catholic Priest were on a U.S. Army transport ship that was hit by a German torpedo off the icy waters of Greenland in February, 1943. When it became apparent there were not enough life jackets for all on board, the four US Army Chaplains removed theirs and handed them to frightened young soldiers, choosing to go down with the ship. They locked arms together and prayed in the tradition of their own faith. Of the 902 men on board, there were only 227 survivors. The chaplains demonstrated a strong interfaith compassion in their relationship with the men on board and with each other throughout this tragic voyage and in their last moments together.

For more information, please contact Chaplain Robert Chambers at 716-862-8653. All are welcome to attend this special event.