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Army Spc. John K. Zittel of Springville will return home Aug. 6 on leave for two weeks after undergoing surgery and rehabilitation for injuries he suffered April 10, when the Humvee he was driving in a convoy in Baghdad was hit by an explosive device.

The 21-year-old son of Kenneth and Jan Zittel suffered three fractures and a severe laceration of his left arm in the explosion that killed another soldier in the vehicle. He was flown to Germany, where he underwent surgery, and later to Fort Hood, Texas, where he was presented the Purple Heart by Brig. Gen. James E. Simmons, deputy commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood.

Zittel, who was promoted from private first class, received the medal April 27 in a ceremony at Darnall Army Hospital at the base.

He joined the Army in August 2002 after graduating from Springville-Griffith Institute. He graduated with honors from basic training at Fort Sill, Okla., in November and took training to become an artilleryman. He was assigned to the First Cavalry Division, which left Fort Hood for Iraq on March 13. He was wounded in less than a month.

Zittel has been assigned to light duty while still undergoing rehabilitation and treatment for his injuries. He has been told that this may take up to a year.

Meanwhile, Zittel has been thanking the people who wished him well after he was wounded.

"Your thoughts and prayers have been absolutely overwhelming, not to mention the gifts, flowers and hundreds of get well cards," he wrote. ". . . I am quite well now, out of the hospital and on my feet again.

"I am extremely grateful to be alive and in the States," he added, "but I would give anything to be back over there with my team. Again, thank you. . . ."

Norman J. Sfeir, M.D., of East Amherst has been named chairman of the department of medicine at Sisters Hospital.

He joined the hospital's medical staff in 1985 and was medical staff president in 1991 and 1992 and director of the intensive care unit from 1994 to 1997.

Sfeir, who also is managing partner of the Pulmonary Group of Western New York in Williamsville, is board-certified in internal and pulmonary medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Pulmonary Medicine. He also has clinical teaching appointments at the University at Buffalo and the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is a member of the American Thoracic Society and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

He also serves as medical director of the respiratory therapy department at St. Joseph Hospital in Cheektowaga and is a member of the board of directors of the Catholic Independent Practice Association.

A graduate of Fordham University and UB, he received his medical degree from the University of Kentucky. He completed his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in respiratory diseases at the UB School of Medicine.

Four faculty members and a director of business affairs at the State College of Ceramics at Alfred University have received State University of New York Chancellor's Awards for Excellence.

The recipients of the SUNY awards include Martha G. Anderson, Ph.D., professor of art history in the School of Art and Design, for excellence in scholarship and creative activities; Doreen Edwards, Ph.D., associate professor of ceramic engineering and materials science and graduate program director, School of Engineering, for excellence in teaching; and James R. Varner, Ph.D., professor of ceramic engineering and undergraduate program coordinator, School of Engineering, for excellence in faculty service.

Also, Mark A. Smith, associate librarian/information systems librarian at Scholes Library, for excellence in librarianship, and Brice Weighman, CPA, director of business affairs, for excellence in professional service.

"Each of these five awardees has a long record of outstanding service to Alfred and the New York State College of Ceramics," said David Szczerbacki, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic and statutory affairs at Alfred University.

Jill M. Atkinson of Lancaster has been promoted to co-director of admissions at Canisius College.

She joined Canisius in 2003 as associate director of admissions. She previously worked as an international admissions adviser at the University at Buffalo and as assistant director and coordinator of undergraduate admissions at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Atkinson has a bachelor's degree in photography from RIT and a master's degree in student personnel administration from Canisius.

Melody Ann Miller of North Tonawanda recently received a scholarship to help defray costs of her forthcoming academic year at Oswego State College.

A senior majoring in public justice, she was one of only five students nationwide selected for a scholarship by the Copper and Brass Servicenter Association, an international trade group that awards scholarships to children of employees of its servicenter or associate member companies.

John P. Davanzo, president and chief executive officer of Mercy Hospital, has been elected chairman of the board of trustees of the Western New York Healthcare Association for a two-year term.

Other officers include the chairwoman-elect, Betsy T. Wright, president and chief executive officer of WCA Hospital, Jamestown; secretary, Angelo G. Calbone, president and chief executive officer, Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston; and treasurer, Mary E. LaRowe, president and chief executive officer, Westfield Memorial Hospital.

Lucille K. Sheedy, chief executive officer of Wyoming County Community Health System, is the immediate past chairwoman.

Members of the board of trustees include Clare A. Haar, Richard H. Ketcham, Timothy A. McCooey, Virginia A. Opipare and John R. Fudyma.

The association, founded in 1931, is the regional advocate for hospitals and other health care organizations in the eight counties of Western New York.

Mark A. Ferm, CPA, a senior manager and head of Tronconi Segarra & Hore LLP's Corporate Governance Services Group in Williamsville, has been elected to the Alfred University Alumni Association Council. He graduated from Alfred in 1994.

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