After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, James B. Neider volunteered to serve his country in the United States Army in 1968. Mr. Neider served in Germany with the 3rd Armored Division’s 503rd Military Police Co. as a logistics specialist. He was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Expert M-14 Badge for his meritorious service.
Upon returning to his community, Mr. Neider earned a Master’s of Science in Education on the G.I. Bill, and soon started teaching at an elementary school in Alexander, New York. He retired in 2000 after 30 years of service. Mr. Neider also served as Town Justice in Batavia for 14 years.
Mary Anne Sears has helped to ensure that seniors remain healthy, active and independent members of the Chili community for nearly a decade! Currently, she serves as the Director of Programs for the Aging at the Chili Senior Center. Under her leadership and guidance, she has brought the Center back to life.
Since she began, Ms. Sears has increased membership to almost 2,000 seniors, from only a few hundred, years ago. She has worked to foster a warm, caring environment by providing enrichment activities such as lectures and local trips. These initiatives are vital to help meet some of the social, cognitive, physical and emotional needs of many seniors in the community.
Staff Sergeant William R. “Billy” Wilson III is a true American hero described as a soldier’s soldier with a passion to serve his community and country.
Known as “Billy” to so many of his family and friends, he grew up in Getzville and graduated from Williamsville North High School in 2003. In 2005, Staff Sgt. Wilson enlisted in the United States Army to protect his fellow citizens. He completed Basic and Advanced training at Fort Knox, graduating five months later.
Ginger Lindner has made outstanding contributions in enriching the quality of life for the community and beyond.
As a member of the Ladies Auxiliary at the Clarence American Legion, Ms. Lindner approached her fellow members with the idea to send care packages to troops serving overseas. They agreed and, for the past seven years, Ms. Lindner and her fellow members have organized, prepared and sent over 3,000 care packages to men and women of the Armed Forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a tribute for her service, she received an American Flag that had been flown over a hostile region in Iraq, from Lt. Col. Mark Ables of the 914th Air Lift Wing on behalf of his C-130 Unit.
Harry “Hal” Kreter entered the U.S. Marine Corps in June of 1971 and never looked back. Serving on active duty for 24 years, he was honorably discharged in 1995 as a Master Sergeant. For over four decades, Hal has provided exceptional service to our country, the military and its veterans.
During his career as a Vietnam era veteran, Hal’s journey in the Marine Corps took him to Vietnam and Okinawa. He served almost two years of Foreign Service, as well as six months of sea service. Sixteen years of Hal’s military service were devoted to career recruiting duties in various areas of New York State. During this time, he received numerous awards as an outstanding recruiter and as the Non Commissioned Officer In Charge of recruiting sub stations.
Colleen C. DiPirro began her illustrious career with the Amherst Chamber of Commerce 30 years ago as the single staff person after graduating from Alfred College. Under her leadership, the Chamber has seen an increase in membership from fewer than 200 businesses to over 2,500. Similarly, the annual budget has grown from $24,000 when she started to today’s high of nearly $2 million. The Chamber currently boasts eight full-time, professional staff and operates out of a suite of offices in Williamsville.
Ronald J. Pilozzi served as a Commissioned Second Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1970 to 1972. During that time, Ron served as an Artillery Officer with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and then as an Executive Officer of the 81st Artillery in West Germany. For his service and dedication to his country, Ron received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star with “V” Device, Vietnam Campaign Metal with "V" Device, Air Metal, National Defense Service Metal and Vietnam Service Metal awards.
Millie Tomidy-Pepper has long been a champion for the rights of those afflicted with mental illness. She has earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues and has also become a trusted and reliable resource as Executive Director of the Mental Health Association in Genesee County.
Ms. Tomidy-Pepper has an impressive history of selfless volunteerism. Her impact reaches far beyond the walls of her office by taking time to serve her community as well. Among the numerous organizations that are benefited by Ms. Tomidy-Pepper’s vast contributions are the Community Services Board-Mental Health Subcommittee, Mental Health Court, Crime Victims’ Rights Week Planning Committee, Genesee Veterans Support Network, GCC Human Service Committee and the Genesee Area Personnel Association.
Patrick W Welch, Ph.D., Sgt. USMC (ret) started his military service as an infantry squad leader with the 3rd Division in Vietnam in 1965. Welch was awarded the Purple Heart after being badly injured in combat. As a result of his injuries, Patrick spent the next two years in rehabilitation and had to learn how to walk again. Most recently, Daemen College named Patrick the Director of the Center for Veterans and Veteran Family Services Office.