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A place for 'great country living'

*What it's like:

Located in the rolling hills and woodlands of southern Erie County, the Town of Wales is a mostly rural and agricultural area. Incorporated in 1818, the town got its name because of its resemblance to Wales in Britain. The scenic area includes the hamlets of South Wales, Wales Hollow and Wales Center. Originally a farming community, the town of about 3,000 residents enjoys what many of them call "great country living."

*What makes it unique:

Its people, friendly atmosphere and a close-knit community that works to maintain a small-town atmosphere and quality of life.

*Places to go:

While there is still quite a bit of farming in the area, Wales does have a small business community that includes family oriented businesses. Restaurants include the August 25 Restaurant, Mary's Country Cupboard and the Wales Center Hotel. Its proximity to East Aurora and Buffalo provides shopping opportunities for its residents. Events include the annual Memorial Day celebrations, including a chicken barbecue, and Veterans Day celebrations.

*A person you should know:

Dee Zeigel moved to Wales when she married her husband, Bob, 35 years ago and considers Wales to be her hometown. Retired from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Zeigel is the former town historian and is still involved with the Historical Society. Known throughout the community for her volunteer work, Zeigel said she works with veterans groups in town "as much as possible." One of her best-known efforts is "Operation Prayers and Cookies," which involves sending batches of cookies to troops overseas every month. She also worked with local veterans to establish a Veterans Walkway in the town.

>Q: How did Operation Prayers and Cookies come about?

A: I met a young man at a Memorial Day service who was headed to Iraq at the time. I asked him if there was anything I could do for him, and he said: "You can pray for me." He held up a cookie and said, "Some of these wouldn't be bad either." That's how Operation Prayers and Cookies came to be.

>Q: What got you interested in volunteer work?

A: I like the town. I got involved, started going to Town Board meetings and got to know the board members. I enjoy working with veterans. They're terrific guys here in Wales. We're such a small community, we all band together.

>Q: You've lived here a long time. Have you noticed any changes, good or bad in the town?

A: We've had an influx of people. There are a lot of new people. It's a fairly friendly town. Most people work together. It's a lovely thing. You look around and you just see friendliness. We love it the way it is.

email: hjones@buffnews.com