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Homage paid on a night of transition

It was an evening of accolades and an emotional farewell at the Cheektowaga Town Board meeting Monday night.

The Town Board presented its annual Service to Youth and Outstanding Cheektowaga Youth awards, honored Assembly Majority Leader Paul A. Tokasz and heard departing Supervisor Dennis H. Gabryszak reflect on his 22 years in town office.

The supervisor won election to the Assembly seat now held by Tokasz, who did not seek re-election. Gabryszak acknowledged former supervisors Daniel Weber and Frank Swiatek, and lauded town employees.

"Each one is really an ambassador to the public," he said.

Gabryszak choked up when thanking his family, "who all through the years have put up with the time away from them."

Parent Aimee Murcin and Superintendent Delia Bonenberger of the Cheektowaga Central School District and Ken Quigley, commissioner of the North Cheektowaga Amateur Athletic Association, received Service to Youth awards for their outstanding attention to children in the town. The Cheektowaga Community Chorus also was recognized for its Youth Millennium Chorus and for providing children with voice instruction and group work.

Danielle Smith, a senior at John F. Kennedy High School, received the Outstanding Cheektowaga Youth Award. As a member of the Cheektowaga Y.E.S. program since seventh grade, she spent many hours volunteering. She is an active member of St. Phillip the Apostle Parish. Danielle has been a member of the Drama Club, Future Helpers of America and Jazz Band since eighth grade. She has served as an officer in the Future Business Leaders of America, the Girls Athletic Association and the National Honor Society. She has served as class treasurer since ninth grade and is president of the Student Council this year.

Monday's meeting began with Cheektowaga Police Officer Scott A. Scharlau, who serves with the 328th Squadron of the Air Force Reserve at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, presenting two flags to the Town Board. The American flag and the Town of Cheektowaga flag both flew on missions over Iraq, he said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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