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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha received the Sheriff Grover Cleveland Award, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association Institutes’ most prestigious honor.

Maha became joined the department as a deputy in 1967 and was promoted to senior investigator two years later. In 1977, he was promoted to chief deputy in charge of criminal investigations and in January of 1988, interim sheriff. He has since been elected to seven terms as sheriff.

Noticeable contributions under Maha’s tenure include the implementation of the state art Enhanced 911 Emergency Communications Center, the joint drug task force with the City of Batavia and Village of Le Roy police departments and a culture of cooperation that has been established among all the county law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers working in Genesee County.

Maha is a past president of the New York State Sheriffs’ Association and currently serves as chairman of that organization’s Executive Committee. Governors from both parties have appointed him to criminal justice committees and councils, including the Law Enforcement Accreditation Council, New York State Interoperable and Emergency Communications Board and the New York State Committee on Counter-Terrorism.

On the national level, Maha is active in he National Sheriffs’ Association. He serves as vice chair of the National Sheriffs’ Criminal Justice Information/Technology Committee and is a member of the organization’s Homeland Security Committee.

He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and holds an associate’s degree in political science and bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.


NativityMiguel Middle School eighth-graders Mikeisha Frazier, Mikaila Frazier and Adalia Romero-Horta were recognized by the African American Commission and Office of Cultural Diversity of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo at its annual Mass of Celebration in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In selecting the scholarship winners, the committee sought students who exhibited both academic achievement and service to church, community and school – students who exemplify what King meant when he wrote, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”


Victor Berg, a volunteer at the Amherst Center for Senior Services since 2008, was proclaimed “Senior of the Month” for February by Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Randall Hoak, Erie County commissioner of Senior Services.

Poloncarz noted that of 923,000 people currently living in Erie County, about 200,000 are senior citizens. Each month, the county honors one person who “exemplifies the service and dedication that the Department of Senior Services likes to see from fellow seniors,” he added.

Berg, who said he was inclined to decline the award, accepted it as an opportunity to thank the staff and employees of the Amherst Center for making it such a great place.


People Enterprises appointed Robert O’Leary president of its board of directors. O’Leary, vice president of Parkview Health Services, has been an active People Inc. Foundation board member for the past 10 years, currently serving as its treasurer and a member of the investment committee. Also, the agency appointed Denise Bienko secretary of the board. Bienko, vice president at People Inc., has more than 28 years of experience at the agency. She is responsible for overseeing the agency’s corporate governance affairs, grants, program development, long-range planning, marketing communications and government and community relations, as well as family advisory functions. She also serves as executive director of the People Inc. Foundation.

Board members will serve one year, renewable terms and will be responsible for reviewing plans and strategies, offering insights and acting as a sounding board for new business development. They include: Christopher Jacobs, Erie County clerk; David Pawlik, president of Creative Structures Services; Laura Ryan, president of LAMA Innovation, a facilitation and training firm specializing in creative problem solving and strategic planning; and Timothy Vaeth, owner of JTVaeth Development.

People Enterprises is a for-profit corporation that was recently formed to ensure People Inc., a Western New York health and human service agency, continues to be a leader and stay ahead of the curve as the system of care for individuals with developmental disabilities converts to a managed-care environment


Army Pfc. John W. Scott Jr., a cannon crewmember with the 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regimen, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan., was deployed with the “Dagger” Brigade for nine months to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The unit’s mission is to support trusted regional partners with bilateral and multilateral military exercises and theater security cooperation activities in the Central Command area of responsibility.

Operation Enduring Freedom is the official name given to anti-terrorism military operations involving U.S. troops and allied coalition partners. Active-duty and reserve component members from all branches of the U.S. armed forces have been deployed to support the war against global terrorism outside the borders of the United States. Scott is a 2008 graduate of East High School, Buffalo.


Jeremy Wood has received an Army ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) scholarship to attend SUNY Brockport. Scholarships are awarded on a merit basis, reflecting academic achievement, extracurricular activities, physical fitness, specific performance or accomplishment, leadership abilities, and personal interviews. Scholarship recipients are enrolled as members of the Army ROTC battalion at their colleges.

The scholarship entitlements include tuition and fees, as well as an annual book allowance and a monthly stipend for up to 10 months of each school year the scholarship is in effect.

Upon graduation from college and completion of the ROTC program requirements, the student receives a bachelor’s degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Army. All scholarship students are required to serve eight years in the Army, either in active duty or the Reserve.

Wood is the son of Ronald and Cheryl Wood, Town of Tonawanda.

He is a 2014 graduate of Kenmore East High School, Town of Tonawanda.


Troop 483 of Reserve Fire Company, West Seneca, recently celebrated the achievement of Alan Monaghan, Brendan Adamczyk, Kevin Morgan, Nicholas Raczka and Matthew Wasierski, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.


Claire Elise Brawdy, a senior history major at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., was named to the dean’s list for the fall semester. A graduate of Eden Junior/Senior High School, she is the daughter of Dennis and Joanne Brawdy of Eden.


Canisius High School juniors Joe Arno and Warren Arno, and Canisius High School senior Joe McEachon achieved the highest rank in Boy Scouting and were honored recently in an Eagle Scout ceremony held in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, Amherst. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, was guest speaker.

Only six percent of all boys in scouting achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, and it is considered rare to have three boys from the same high school achieve the honor at the same time.

For his Eagle Scout project, Joe Arno built and installed 15 bat houses that can accommodate up to 700 bats at Beeman Creek Park in Clarence.

Warren Arno, Joe’s twin brother, took on a project that involved cleaning, reorganizing, building and installing shelving in the rectory basement at St. Gregory the Great Church. The new shelving provides storage space for four priests.

Joe McEachon’s Eagle Scout project also benefits St. Gregory. He designed and installed – complete with lighting and memorial plaques – outdoor Stations of the Cross at the church’s grotto.

All three boys attended grade school at St. Gregory’s.