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City Hallways (Aug. 29) A Military Park tribute to late director

Bravo Zulu

The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park honored one of its own last weekend with a new exhibit featuring Col. Patrick J. Cunningham.

Col. Cunningham, who died in March, spent 30 years in the Army and then became executive director of the Naval & Military Park from 1993 until his death from a respiratory illness attributed partly to his exposure to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam.

As executive director,  Cunningham has been credited with creating the nation’s largest inland naval park and guiding it from lean years into Buffalo’s first major Canalside tourist attraction, sometimes refusing to accept a paycheck while secretly paying other workers’ salaries.

In addition to his war service, Cunningham later supervised the Army’s budget while he was assigned to the Pentagon, where he worked for 13 years. He returned to Buffalo in 1989.

Col. Patrick J. Cunningham, director of Naval & Military Park dies; guided park through lean times

Cunningham, who grew up in Kenmore, was laid to rest earlier this month with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

During an awards ceremony  Saturday, park officials unveiled the new display that includes his Army mess dress dinner jacket with medals, an array of photos and a portrait.

The exhibit will be displayed in the Hangar Building for the remainder of the season and later moved to the USS Little Rock’s Chief of Staff office for permanent display.

'Tis the season

It’s that time of the year again: back-to-school.

That means the race is on to buy new clothes, run down school supplies and get kids back into the daily routine.

In the midst of the frenzy, find time to head over to Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Thursday for the Masten District Backpack Giveaway.

There will also be an announcement about the Masten Little Free Libraries program that fosters neighborhood book exchanges while promoting reading.

The Little Libraries program provides books 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No registration is required. There are no forms to fill out and no late fees.

The concept is simple: take a book and/or leave a book.

Thursday's event is sponsored by Masten District Council Member Ulysees O. Wingo Sr. and will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in the park's Tribute Plaza.


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