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Friends plan fundraiser for Pirowski

Friends of Henry "Hank" Pirowski, who was instrumental in shaping the Buffalo City Court's COURTS program into a national model for helping nonviolent troubled individuals, are banding together to help him, now that he is recuperating from a massive stroke.

As Pirowski, 57, recuperates at home, friends are assembling "Pirowski Fest," scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. July 22 at Erie Community College's City Campus, 121 Ellicott St.

Donations of goods, services, food and entertainment are being sought, said Genevieve Capizzi, administrator for the Eighth Judicial District.

Pirowski, who has headed the Court Outreach Unit: Referral and Treatment Service program since 1994, faces a lengthy rehabilitation, and money is being sought to make needed modifications to his home and to purchase rehabilitation equipment, Capizzi said.

Capizzi said tickets to the fundraiser can be purchased at www.pirowskifest.com.

Inducted into the National Drug Court Hall of Fame in Washington eight years ago, Pirowski is a product of Lackawanna High School and Erie Community College. He is credited with developing a computerized management system for the Buffalo program that is now used by drug courts throughout the world.

Buffalo City Court Judge Robert T. Russell Jr. and Chief City Court Judge Thomas P. Amodeo, who work closely with Pirowski, also credit him for the recent creation of the Buffalo City Court's Drug Treatment, Mental Health and Veterans courts.

Pirowski's expertise in devising programs to assist nonviolent offenders over the past two decades has resulted in his lecturing, training and providing technical assistance to similar court programs across the world.

He is "an extraordinary man who has helped make the Buffalo program one of the nation's best," Russell said.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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