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John Feuz, the general sales manager of Skill Buick and the chairman of the United Way of the Tonawandas, is a friend with a problem.

His group of volunteers is charged with raising $502,000 for the United Way. But as Feuz stressed recently, a large chunk of that money came from the Durex Division of Occidental Chemicals, National Grinding Wheel and Spaulding Fibre.

What do all three of those outfits have in common? They are all shut down. But the need for neighborliness goes on.

That report brings to mind the time a United Way volunteer told me that only two of the Bills, one of the basketball Braves and none of the Sabres gave contributions in Buffalo.

That information was printed and the situation was changed as the teams were educated. In 1996 Pat LaFontaine, former Sabres star, did a video for the United Way, and Andre Reed does a lot for the cause. Indeed, Lindy Ruff is scheduled to appear at the Boys and Girls Club of the Tonawandas on Oct. 23.

Anyway, now is the time for the "Day of Caring," which should go 365 days a year.

Some letters have asked me about different veterans organizations that are unknown to me. As the wise person said, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

Please keep in mind my story about the late Mafalda DiTomasso going to Laos, where someone offered to sell her her late son's bones. They were actually dog bones. And Mafalda saw through the ruse.

But that story proves that there are people willing to make a buck out of misery.

Robert Malloy of Kenmore wrote: "Thanks to you I now have the Purple Heart license plate on my car. Like many other eligible people, I always wanted one, but felt it was wrong to charge $35 for it. When your Aug. 10 column advised that the fee was waived, I applied at once.

"The enclosed photo is the result."

Mr. Malloy, you made my year. And you'll soon be hearing from someone at Purple Heart Chapter 187.

Ed Cudney, curator of the Buffalo Boxing Museum, asked, "Why not stage a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Harold Ickes Jr. and put the bite on everyone?"

Cudney is looking for volunteers at the museum. The phone there is 851-4295.

Several readers have asked about a book I wrote called "The $400,000 Quarterback, or the League That Came Out of the Cold." Some years back I was told by the people at Macmillan, the publisher, that it was out of print. So, too, is the soft-cover version.

I am trying to get another publisher interested in reprinting the book, which was originally published in 1965.

A lot of people who for, eligibility reasons, can't get into the American Legion or another such veterans organization have asked about an outfit that will welcome them.

Said outfit is, I gather, for veterans and anyone who "feels good about veterans." In that way it reminded me of the Touchdown Club in New York City, whose only membership requirement was that you had to feel good about football.

Paul Rudnicki of theVALOR group (Veterans Assistance Local Ongoing Recognition) reports that the 1996 Campaign and Welcome Back Ball XI were so successful, the committee was able "to turn over $14,424 in cash and hundreds of dollars in donated food to the Food Pantry."

Paul, I agree that a follow-up to my column of Oct. 27, 1991, is in order.

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