Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers - The Buffalo News
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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Patrick Wirth, a fourth-grade teacher at Union Pleasant Elementary School in Hamburg, was the top honoree at the fifth annual M&T Bank Touchdown for Teachers Program sponsored by the Buffalo Bills and M&T Bank.

Wirth, the head of the technology program at his school, was cited for looking for new and interesting ways to integrate technology into learning. His interactive classroom website gets thousands of hits from all over the world each week and serves as a portal for his students to view and share work with their peers around the globe.

Each year, his class runs the Bulldogs Pencil Shop, charging a small amount from staff and students for school supplies to benefit communities in need from the hurricane-stricken Staten Island area to Kigali, Rwanda.

As part of his prize, Wirth will receive an in-class visit from a Buffalo Bills player and a $1,000 grant for his school.

The other finalists were: Sam Endich, Heim Middle School, Amherst; Phil Aguglia, Kenmore East High School, Town of Tonawanda; Maureen Bialeszewski, Fredonia BOCES, LoGuidice Center, Fredonia; and Marie Persch, Brocton. A posthumous honorable mention went to John Tronolone, Transit Middle School, Amherst.


Trocaire President Bassam M. Deeb and Sharon L. Hanson, chairwoman of the board of trustees, presented the 2013 Reflections Awards to individuals who have continually reflected their best, putting forth unlimited energies to achieve success while sharing their unique talents for the benefit of others. “Our 2013 Honorees are an extraordinary group of individuals who give back to the local community in so many ways,” Deeb said.

The honorees are:

John R. Koelmel is president of Harbor Center Development, where he oversees the hockey and entertainment complex being developed by the Buffalo Sabres owners. He is the former president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group and also serves as chairman of the New York Power Authority.

F. James McGuire was named president and chief executive officer of The McGuire Group in 2002 after rejoining the family business in 1996.

Jean C. Powers is a partner with Jaekle, Fleischman & Mugel LLP in the real estate and economic and land development practice groups. She is past chairwoman and an emeritus member of the Trocaire board.

Sister M. Celeste O’Bryan received the President’s Distinguished Community Service Award. She is executive director of the South Buffalo Community Table, which served more than 17,000 meals last year. Before that, O’Bryan taught grade school for 30 years at several schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.


Three local nurses from skilled nursing facilities have completed the Foundation for Quality Care’s Nurse Educator Course, a leadership program for nurses in senior management roles who aspire to become or remain leaders in the long-term care profession: Bobbi Jo Clark, associate director of quality and education at Autumn View Health Care Facility, Hamburg; Terry Jaster, inservice coordinator at Absolut Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Orchard Park; and Michele Niedziela, associate director of education and quality at Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Williamsville.


Susan Burzynski has received the Dental Hygienists Association of the State of New York’s Excellence in Dental Hygiene Award for Mentoring. The honor from the statewide association recognizes outstanding contributions in mentoring in career and professional development.

Burzynski is a clinical hygienist in the office of Drs. James A. Hoddick and Thomas J. Balazs in Tonawanda. She holds a master’s degree in education from Canisius College and an associate degree from Erie Community College.

Also, Lorraine Carhart has been re-elected secretary for the state association. She is a dental hygienist for Western New York Dental Group in Williamsville. She has served as eighth district director on the association’s board of directors and president of the Eighth District Dental Hygienists’ Association.


The Pulaski Police Association of Buffalo and Western New York elected officers and honored individuals at a recent event at the Polish Falcons Hall in Depew. The oath of office was administered by the Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruszka.

Elected officers were: president, Al Ziemecki; vice president, Marty Bochinski; second vice president, Dave Gorski; third vice president, Mike Stack; recording secretary, Darryl Borawski; treasurer, Ron Skotnicki; financial secretary, Paul Manno; and sergeant at arms, Jerry Imiola.

Scholarships were awarded to Hannah Gnorek and Anthony Buhbwski. Man of the Year was awarded to Paul Manno and Business Person of the Year, Steven Umstead. Presidents awards were given to Paul Imiola and Ron Mayer for their dedicated service to the association.


Kathleen Graim, community relations specialist of Tops Markets, and Tim Wangler, store manager at the Dick Road Wegmans, are serving as co-chairmen for the eighth annual Sweet Charity to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York, which will be held Feb. 6 in Asbury Hall.


Several military personnel have graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Alec C. Kinney is the son of Mary and Dennis Kinney of Randolph. He is a 2009 graduate of Randolph High School.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Cowan is the son of Rosemary and Roger Cowan of Elba. He is a 2008 graduate of Elba Central School.

Air National Guard Airman Nicole M. Haupt is the daughter of Thomas Haupt of Orchard Park, and Roxann Haupt of Silver Creek. She is a 2007 graduate of Eden Junior/Senior High School.

Air Force Airman Tyler DinaPoli is the son of Nancy and Lou DinaPoli of Frewsburg. He is a 2007 graduate of Frewsburg Central School.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Trae H. Watts is the son of Karen Lisiecki of Amherst. He is a 2009 graduate of Sweet Home High School, Amherst.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Keith W. Wissing is the son of Lisa and Richard Wissing of Cheektowaga. He is a 2008 graduate of West Seneca East Senior High School.

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Gloria R. Allen is the daughter of Valerie Allen of Buffalo. She is a 2006 graduate of San Pedro High School, Los Angeles, Ca. She received a bachelor’s degree in 2010 from Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Air National Guard Airman 1st Class Charles E. Shelvay Jr. is the son of Lindsay and Noah Shelvay of Buffalo. He is a 2009 graduate of McKinley High School, Buffalo.

Air Force Airman Allan J.B. Leiser earned distinction as an honor graduate. He is the son of Kim and Jeff Leiser of Lackawanna. The airman is a 2011 graduate of Lackawanna High School.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com

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