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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Eugene P. Vukelic, chairman and chief executive officer of Try-It Distributing Co., is serving as chairman of the ninth annual fund drive of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. A goal of $154,000 has been set for the campaign, which continues through January.

Mark Zirnheld, executive director, said the society has assisted some 80,000 families this year. Its volunteers visit the sick, deliver bags of groceries to those in need during the holidays, distribute winter coats to needy children, help with home repairs and conduct a pharmacy assistance program.


Alexa Wajed, of Buffalo, has been named "Protege of the Year" by the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program, a joint venture of the University at Buffalo School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the UB Center for Urban Studies.

Wajed, of Emani Kemet Enterprises and Gallery 51, received a $1,500 prize.

Awards for second and third place went to Buffalo residents Harriett Black of Hair Concepts by Duchess and Carrie DeGeorge of The Laundry Basket, Too.

Participants entered the program as proteges last January and were assigned mentors from the business community. Donald J. Hahn, of Hahn and Associates and Conway Porter, CPA, Wajed's mentors, received "Mentor of the Year."

Applications for the 2006 program are due by Jan. 20. To be eligible to apply, the entrepreneur must be a woman or a member of a recognized minority group (African American, Latino, Native American of Asian) and must own a business in the Buffalo-Niagara region. For information, visit or call 885-5715.


Dr. G. John M. Abbarno, a philosophy professor at D'Youville College, is the 2005 recipient of the Humanitarian Award presented by the San Fele Association of Western New York.

The award honors Italian-Americans, who are descendants of a family from this small town in Italy, for their public works.

Abbarno is a longtime member and board president of the Friends of the Night People. He has taught in state prisons for more than 25 years. He devoted much of his time on the ethics boards at the Episcopal Church Home, and the Catholic Health System's long-term care facilities.


Eugene Fiegl Sr. has been re-elected president and Robert Karl re-elected fire chief of the Main-Transit Fire Department, in Williamsville, for 2006.

Other elected administrative officers include the vice president, David Henning; secretary, Richard Chudy; treasurer, Harry Schick; financial secretary, Carol Jackson, and sergeant-at-arms, Brian Rusin.

Board members are Fiegl and Carl Fischer, John Karl, Robert Karl, William Karl, James Lawida and James Rusin.

Bruce Krebs was elected director of Amherst Fire Control

They will be installed at the annual banquet Feb. 1 at the fire station.


Al Ziemecki, retired member of the Buffalo Police Department, has been installed as president of the Pulaski Police Association of Buffalo and Western New York.

Other officers installed Dec. 3 at the association's dinner at the Polish Falcons facility in Depew, include the vice president, Marty Bochinski; second vice president, David Gorski; third vice president, W. Kantorski; secretary, Richard Zolnowski; treasurer, Ron Skotnicki; financial secretary, Paul Manno; and sergeant at arms, Mike Stack.

Gregory Chojdak of WXRL Radio, was honored as the organization's Man of the Year and Chester and Alice Opala, owners of National Liquors, were cited as Business Persons of the Year.

Scholarships were presented to Jessica Chwojday, a student at Hilbert College; James Niwinski, a student at Erie Community College; Monika Balaziuk, a student at the University at Buffalo, and Jordan Imiola, who attends Genesee Community College.


Linda Amabile, of Amherst, recently graduated from an eight-month New York State Partners in Policy Making Program at Syracuse. She was one of 30 people selected to participate in the program, which provides training in disability advocacy.

Amabile, a graduate of Empire State College, is employed at the University at Buffalo Office of Disability Services.

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