Senator Chris Jacobs Veteran of the Month Program Honorees

Senator Jacobs

November 09, 2017

“We owe our Veterans a tremendous debt of gratitude for their many sacrifices and their service to our country.  After serving with great honor and distinction, many of our veterans continue to make a significant impact through their community service, adding to our desire to say “Thank You!”

That is why I initiated the 60th Senate District’s Veteran of the Month program.  I hope my website visitors will come regularly to this page to meet and learn about the dedicated and talented Veterans committed to their communities, and be inspired to serve as well. 

Click here if you would like to nominate a Veteran you know, and congratulations to the Veteran of the Month Honorees!”

State Senator Chris Jacobs 

Thomas O'Connell

Thomas O'Connell, June 2018 Read More

  •  Thomas O’Connell, Buffalo, NY

 

  • United States Navy, 1965-1969

 

  • United States Naval Reserve, 1969-1971

 

  • Served during Vietnam era, honorably discharged with rank of Petty Officer Third Class

 

  • Awarded National Defense Service Medal for honorable service

 

  • Highly active in local and county American Legion, serving as vice commander

 

  • Life member of Amvets, chairman of Committee for Restoration of Veterans’ Posts in Erie County

 

  • Former president St. Margaret Holy Name Society, named their Man of the Year in 1992

 

  • Active in Grant-Amherst Business Association/chairman of Buffalo Italian Festival for 10 years

John "Jack" O'Connor

John "Jack" O'Connor, April 2018 Read More

  • John “Jack” O’Connor, Kenmore, NY

 

  • United States Army, 1968-1970

 

  • Served in Vietnam with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 25th Infantry Division.

 

  • Awarded Bronze Star, National Defense Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge

 

  • Worked to create nation’s first Veterans Treatment Court in Buffalo, NY

 

  • Serves as mentor coordinator, Buffalo Veterans Treatment Court

 

  • Consultant for Justice for Vets, a division of National Association of Drug Court Professionals

 

  • Member of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 77 in Tonawanda

Allen Prame

Allen Prame - March 2018 Read More

  • Allen Prame, Grand Island, NY

 

  • United States Navy, 1948-1952

 

  • Machinist mate in post-WWII Europe

 

  • Served on USS Waldron and USS Stribling, destroyers in European and Pacific Theaters

 

  • Earned Occupation of Europe Medal and Good Conduct Medal

 

  • Past Commander of American Legion Post 1346, serves on Post’s Color Guard

 

  • Organized annual 4th of July Parade, including escorting of Gold Star Mothers

 

  • Organized and led installation project of flagpole at the Miracle League Baseball Field serving disabled youths and young adults

 

  • Arranges successful Post fundraising drives, including annual Poppy sale  

Matejka Baumgardner

February 2018 Veteran of the Month - Matejka Baumgardner Read More

  • Matejka Baumgardner, Hamburg, NY

 

  • United States Marine Corps, 1999-2003

 

  • Served with 7th Communications Battalion in Japan

 

  • Deployed to Kuwait in March 2003, served in operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom

 

  • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism and Iraqi Campaign Medal with two Bronze Campaign Stars.

 

  • Spearheaded Kids Korner, providing free childcare to veterans receiving services at Buffalo VA Hospital

 

  • Member of this VFW Post #1419 in Hamburg, Erie County Woman’s American Legion Post 1586.

 

  • Past Commander of VFW Woman’s Post 12097 

James Trembath

January 2018 Veteran of the Month - James Trembath Read More

  • James Trembath, Angola, NY

 

  • United States Army, December 1965 – January 1968

 

  • Stationed in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles).

 

  • Involved in the Newell-Faulkner American Legion Post #880

 

  • Member of the Post’s Color Guard and public relations

 

  • Leads the Color Guard during community events and parades

 

  • Received a Purple Heart and 101st Airborne Paratrooper Wings

Dennis Smilinich

December 2017 Veteran of the Month - Dennis Smilinich Read More

  • Hometown, City of Tonawanda, NY

 

  • U.S. Army, 20 years of service, retired as First Sergeant in 1990

 

  • Served in Vietnam as a “tunnel rat” and paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division, 326th Engineer Battalion

 

  • Recipient of Bronze Star and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry

 

  • Life member – Disabled American Veterans, current member of the Vietnam Veterans Chapter #77 in Tonawanda where he serves as Chairman of the “Remembering Vietnam Memorial” committee, was instrumental in bringing combat helicopter to the city’s Veterans Park.

 

  • Past County Commander-American Legion, Past Commander Tonawanda’s Post #264 American Legion, current member of Grand Island Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vice-Chairman of the Twin Cities Veterans Council that plans Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies

 

  • Volunteer advocate for Veterans in need returning from active duty

 

  • Active volunteer with numerous youth, charity and community organizations, including Tonawanda Football Booster Club, Tonawanda 2020 and Lindsay’s Legacy

Ryan Sajdak

November 2017 Veteran of the Month - Ryan Sajdak Read More

  • Hometown, Buffalo, NY
  • U.S. Army National Guard, 10 years, retired as captain in 2016
  • Served in Afghanistan as an aeromedical evacuation officer
  • Returned home, launched North Buffalo Organization, community-based volunteer group
  • Organized community clean-ups and other events for the benefit of residents in the Hertel Avenue neighborhood
  • Teaches special education in the Buffalo School District.
  • Served as volunteer teacher for students at the Health Sciences Charter School