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BABY REUNION REMAINS A TREAT FOR ALL KENMORE MERCY UNIT CLOSES BUT TRADITION GOES ON

Senior baby alumnus John Krieger held his 4-day-old daughter, Jenna, with pride on the lawn of Kenmore Mercy Hospital Thursday afternoon.

Little Miss Krieger was dubbed youngest honorary alumna during the hospital's 35th Annual Baby Alumni Reunion. Her father was born in the Town of Tonawanda hospital in 1961.

Prizes went to the youngest and oldest alumni, best male and female costume and the annual parade's queen and king were chosen.

Timothy Byrnes, at age 38, is the oldest alumnus. He said the reunions are an tradition.

"I used to come every year with my mother when I lived on Liston Road, near Sheridan Drive," Byrnes said. "Now I come every year with my wife and two sons."

Displaying his prize of rulers and pens, Byrnes said they'd come in handy at his job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Niagara Street.

The queen, Julie Sciandra, 3, and king, Kevin Backlarz, 5, both of the Town of Tonawanda, led the baby alumni around the hospital's front lawn.

Julie flashed an ice cream-covered smile after she was selected in a drawing.

"They just recently opened this event to the public and each year I think it gets better," said Julie's mother, Debbie Sciandra.

Pony rides, clowns, jugglers as well as a special appearance by a Pee Wee Herman impersonator were among the festivities of the day.

More than 300 moms, dads and costumed kids attended the event, according to Jo Ann Cavanaugh, the hospital's director of community relations.

She said despite the loss of the 21-bed obstetrical unit, a victim of declining use and rising costs, the event will continue with an invitation going out to neighborhood children -- Kenmore Mercy babes or not.

"Over the years children throughout the community have been welcome to join in the activities at this event," she said.

Winners for best costume were Justin Dulniak of Buffalo, who dressed as a green and purple dragon, and Andrea Koch of Kenmore, who dressed as a Hershey's Kiss.

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