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Some local veterans are finding a sense of purpose and peace as they ride horses, plant and harvest crops, and learn about agriculture at the EquiCenter in Mendon.

"I could feel the weight of the world lifting off my shoulders, saying ' this might be something that could help, ' " said Luanne VanPeursem, a 33-year Air Force veteran who said she was having trouble re-integrating into civilian life until her counselor recommended therapeutic riding.

Veterans from across the Rochester area were in Perinton on Friday for a ceremony marking the 65th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. This was just hours after 55 cases of what are believed to be the remains of American service members who died in the war were handed over to the U.S.

"I'm just overwhelmed that they're doing this. It means so much to us to have our brothers back," said Roger Hill, president of the local Korean War Veterans Association.

Soaring Valor Program shares the stories of WWII

Jul 25, 2018
Alex Crichton

29 Rochester-area World War II veterans boarded a plane Wednesday morning to New Orleans, where they will receive a hero's welcome, then visit the National World War II Museum to share their memories of the American experience of that war.

The trip is part of the Gary Sinise Foundation's Soaring Valor Program, in conjunction with American Airlines.

Bobby George with the Sinese Foundation says these local veterans of World War II will share their memories which will be archived at the museum, which tells the stories of the war that changed the world.

Vintage airplanes will be in the skies over Geneseo this weekend for the 38th annual airshow put on by the National Warplane Museum.

The theme of this year’s airshow is “Wings of Western New York,” and a spokesman for the show, Dave Cooper, says it will highly the contributions to aviation that came from this part of the state.

Canandaigua VA

The Canandaigua VA Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday to launch the construction of a new outpatient clinic space.

The project was awarded in January and will be managed by the United States Army Corp of Engineers.

David Price, Major Project Manager at the Medical Center says phase one is a revamp of outpatient services.

"Specifically primary care and specialty care, and will include new space for radiology and our dental programs, as well as some administrative spaces."

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The County of Monroe is urging local veterans to visit the Veterans Service Agency to make sure they’re receiving the entirety of their benefits earned during service.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo announced that the county VSA filed 986 claims approved by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017. That’s an increase from 716 filed in 2016.

Those are record numbers for the county, and those over 900 claims brought $4.24 million to local veterans, on average about $5,000 per claim.

photo courtesy of Lindsay Cray

Members of the Rochester community say local veterans owe a debt a gratitude to Tom Cray, founder of the Veterans Outreach Center.

Cray died of brain cancer last Friday at the age of 67.

He served two tours in Vietnam and then returned home and worked to get veterans access to the services they needed.  Former VOC board member Fred Elliott said Vietnam veterans didn't always get a warm homecoming, but Cray said you had to separate the warrior from the war.

photo courtesty of Lindsay Cray

A key figure in local efforts to help Vietnam and other veterans has died. Tom Cray died Friday at the age of 67.

It was disclosed in January that he was suffering from brain cancer.  His daughter Lindsay had noted at the time that her father served two tours in Vietnam and when he came home to Rochester he worked with government agencies to establish services for veterans.

As Veterans Day approaches, Compeer Rochester is reminding local veterans that a program it offers can help them ease back into civilian life.

CompeerCORPS has been around for five years.  It brings veterans together for group and community activities with the ultimate goal of establishing one-to-one connections.  Program manager Mike Buckpitt, who is a U.S. Army veteran himself, says it's all about the personal connections.

U.S. Amy captain Sam Brown is in Rochester to share his story of recovery and resilience. While responding to an ambushed patrol in Afghanistan in 2008, he was set on fire when his vehicle drove over a bomb. He now uses his experience to helped wounded soldiers and returning veterans.

Captain Brown is a guest of CDS Life Transitions for its “Salute: A Toast to Our Veterans," event, but first, he joins us in studio to share his remarkable survival story. Our guests:

  • Captain Sam Brown, U.S. Army (retired)
  • Sankar Sewnauth, president and CEO of CDS Life Transitions
  • Wendy Dettmer, Warrior Salute program manager at CDS Life Transitions

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