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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Kaely Kwitek and Daemen College alumna Maggie Dreyer of the Kaely’s Kindness Foundation, which provides support to teens living with cancer, will be honored at the 2014 Daemen College Social Work Humanitarian Fund Dinner, which will be held March 28 at the Hotel @ the Lafayette.

Kwitek, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, co-founded Kaely’s Kindness Foundation after recognizing a need for social, emotional and practical support for teen girls touched by cancer. She’s now majoring in business at the University of Albany.

Dreyer, who is Kwitek’s mother, received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Daemen and serves as board president of the Kaely’s Kindness Foundation. Director of community based services at GA Family Services, she is on the Daemen social work advisory board and is an adjunct professor at the college.

Current Daemen student Mackenzie Knihinicki, who benefited from Kaely’s Kindness, will present the award.

In student honors, Daemen senior Kathryn Procknal will be acknowledged for being named Student of the Year by the National Association of Social Work New York State Western Division.


David Merlo, a Clarence resident and Erie Community College professor, has been chosen by the American Occupational Therapy Association to receive its Occupational Therapy Assistant Award of Excellence at this year’s annual conference and expo April 3 to 6 in Baltimore. The award recognizes individuals who exemplify the highest level of technical skills and knowledge in occupational therapy.

Merlo was recognized for his national promotion of occupational therapy in the field of mental health education, advocacy and innovation. He is a professor and academic fieldwork coordinator in ECC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Department. He also serves on several boards and committees related to mental health locally and nationally.


Sheriff Timothy B. Howard and the Erie County Sheriff’s Jail Management Division won the New York State Sheriff’s Association Institute’s 2014 Innovative Program Award for their Veteran Housing Program.

The 28-bed Veteran Housing Unit was opened inside the Erie County Holding Center in October 2013 to be used exclusively to house veterans. Typically, incarcerated veterans suffer similar ailments, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Housing veterans together at the Holding Center will allow them to talk, relate and lean on each other to get back on the right path. The Holding Center averages about 22 incarcerated veterans on any given day.


Genesee Community College admissions adviser Ebony Ross received a Touching the World Award from Unlimited Possibilities Overcoming Poverty Ministry Inc. Ross was one of 50 Western New York women recognized at the annual awards dinner at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Ross’ sister, Morgan Williams-Bryant, senior vice president of membership and recruitment for Girl Scouts of Western New York, also received the award.


Cattaraugus County Sheriff Tim Whitcomb was elected as third vice president of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association in Albany.

Whitcomb will work with the newly elected president of the association, Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss, and sheriffs across the state to further the efforts of the association through professional training and accreditation programs, public safety programs and advocacy.


St. Bonaventure associate professor of psychology Dr. Gregory Privitera has been chosen to receive the 2014 Most Promising New Textbook Award for his book “Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences.”

The Text and Academic Authors Association will present Privitera with the award during a luncheon at its 27th annual Textbook and Academic Authoring Conference in Baltimore on June 21.


Scott Gardner of Warsaw was recently named chair of the Wyoming Foundation, a division of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo that was established in 1974 as a means to improve the quality of life of residents in Wyoming County. Karen Six of Castile was named vice chairwoman and secretary and Laura Lane was named treasurer. Additionally, Barbara Dominesey of Varysburg and Eric Szucs of Arcade have been named as council members.


Jasmina Tacheva of South Buffalo has received the 2014 Canisius College Dr. I. Joan Lorch Award.

Jasmina, a senior, is an economics, German and philosophy major and a Hypatian scholar.

The Dr. I. Joan Lorch Award, presented annually by the Women and Gender Studies Program at the college, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to women on campus. The award is named after its first recipient, Dr. I. Joan Lorch, professor emerita of biology, who was a driving force behind the establishment of the college’s Women and Gender Studies Program.


Several military personnel have graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Air Force Reserve Airman Jacob P. Choate is the son of Rebecca and David Choate of Tonawanda and a 2013 graduate of Tonawanda High School.

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class James M. Bognar is the son of Stacy and James Bognar of Grand Island and a 2013 graduate of Grand Island High School.

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Michael S. Dingeldey is the son of Michael Dingeldey of Derby and Diane Konieczny of West Seneca. He is a 2011 graduate of Lake Shore Central High School.