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Niagara Honor Roll for week of May 8

David Whalen, director of Niagara University’s First Responders Disability Awareness Training Program, was named Advocate of the Year for 2016 by Deaf Access Services of Buffalo.

Whalen will receive the award during the organization’s Spring Gala on Friday at Grapevine Banquets in Depew.

Whalen has facilitated statewide first responder disability training in New York, Arkansas and New Jersey.

The Niagara program is customized for each first-responder discipline – emergency management, firefighters, 911 operators/dispatchers, emergency medical services and law enforcement. Created in cooperation with all major first-responder associations, councils and state offices, the training is designed to give first responders the knowledge necessary to best serve and respond to individuals with disabilities.

Established in 1983, Deaf Access Services connects Western New York communities of deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing people using American Sign Language in the pursuit of everyday access through advocacy, education, employment and interpreting services. Additional information can be obtained at


Old Fort Niagara honored Thomas O’Brien of Youngstown as the 2015 Volunteer of the Year recently at its Volunteer Recognition Breakfast. O’Brien contributed 272 hours to the fort’s 41,398 total volunteer hours in 2015. His name has been added to a plaque displayed in the fort’s visitor center that recognizes each volunteer of the year.

O’Brien has volunteered at the fort since 2012 and has assisted in many areas, including tour guide, parking, touring with school groups, guide of the day, lighthouse, hospitality, Castle by Candlelight, Haunted Fortress, food sales and history interpreter.

He is retired from the U.S. Army, where he worked in active duty and the reserves for 25 years. He also volunteers at Heart, Love and Soul in Niagara Falls.

More than 100 volunteers attended the breakfast and received certificates of recognition. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and State Sen. Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, addressed the honorees, praising their volunteer services and emphasizing the importance of preserving history.


Cameron Calandra, a senior at Starpoint High School, recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest honor. Cameron has been an active member of the Boy Scouts of America since 2005 and achieved Eagle Scout rank through Pendleton Troop 47, under the leadership of Dave Fischer.

His Eagle project involved a large-scale donation drive for U.S. troops serving overseas. He created custom care packages for entire platoons as well as individual soldiers and included handmade cards and thank-you letters from local children.

In an effort to show their appreciation to Cameron, members of the 914th Airlift Wing Division of the U.S. Air Force held a ceremony and presented him with a logistics readiness squadron coin, an award reserved for those who go above and beyond the call of duty.


Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center reappointed James C. Roscetti, an attorney with the Niagara Falls law firm Roscetti & DeCastro, chairman of its 2016 board of directors. Other officers: are: vice chairperson, Cynthia A. Bianco, superintendent of the Niagara Falls City School District; treasurer, Charles G. Rader, retired chief executive officer of IsleChem; and secretary, Margaret M. Toohey, Lewiston Insurance Agency.

Re-elected to three-year board terms were: Robert L. Bradley Jr., principal, Gaskill Preparatory School; Ronald R. Campbell, former chief operating officer, Washington Mills Corp.; Stephanie Williams Cowart, executive director, Niagara Falls Housing Authority; the Rev. Harvey L. Kelley, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church; and Don J. King, The Polly King Gallery.

Continuing on the board will be: Daniel J. DiPofi, former executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Buffalo Sabres; Matthew Feldman, an attorney at Feldman Kieffer, Dr. Robert J. Gadawski, president of Memorial’s medical staff; Murray R. Hewitt, general manager, Greenpac Mill; Marnie LaVigne, president and chief executive officer of Launch NY; Dr. Mark D. Perry, Memorial’s chief of radiology; Salvatore Santarosa, president of Buffalo Fuel Corp.; Joseph A. Ruffolo, Memorial’s president and chief executive officer; and Timothy J. Waterman, chief executive officer, Seneca Nation Health System.

Serving ex-officio is Dr. Vijay Bojedla, Memorial vice president and chief medical officer.


Sheriff James R. Voutour, in conjunction with the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, presented the 2016 New York State Sheriffs Association Institute annual scholarship to Christie Lilienthal, a criminal justice student at Niagara County Community College. Lilienthal currently maintains a 3.65 GPA and plans to continue her education in criminal justice at a four-year institution.

She plans to work in federal or local law enforcement upon completing her studies. In addition to being an outstanding student, she also performs volunteer work in her community.