Partnership in Patriotism - Lockport Journal Articles

Partnership in Patriotism

Lockport Journal Articles

The articles below were taken from the archives of the Lockport Journal....

CITY OF LOCKPORT: Ceremonies honor veterans for service to the nation

Staff Reports
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

The blue sky and clean, brisk chill of the air welcomed hundreds of guests for Wednesday morning’s Veterans Day ceremony at Outwater Park in Lockport to honor those who served and died for their country.

The color guard and rifle squad of Lockport began and ended the ceremony by raising flags and firing a gun salute to veterans.

Chaplain Charles Leavitt of American Legion Post 410 began the ceremony with a prayer, then handed the microphone to several veterans who spoke on behalf of the fallen soldiers, as the flag flew at half-staff.

“We honor our veterans today who gave the will to live and die for our country,” First Vice Commander Doug Haak said.

Guests shed tears for their loved ones and reflected on what the day means to them.

Louis Reinny of Lockport said he never served, himself, but had family who served in Korea. He said he attends Veteran Day events each year to show his appreciation. Being in a wheelchair, Reinny was unable to give a standing ovation to veteran speakers, but that didn’t stop him from shaking the hands of veterans and thanking them for protecting our country.

Another special guest who attended was Mayor Michael Tucker, who stood before the crowd and saluted the flag. Kids from the Lockport school district recited a poem in honor of veterans.

Sgt. Jim Pickard, who served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Korea, said he could not stress enough how proud he is to be able to serve.

Wednesday is a time to reflect

With November's chill in the air, our personal calendars already reflect the happiness of the upcoming holiday season. However, let each of us remember the loneliness of our soldiers, serving so far from home, and each of our veterans, whose holiday memories are too often punctuated with the horrors of war. Let us keep our prayers America's Gold Star families, for whom each holiday brings heart-wrenching sorrow.

Please mark your calendar to attend Lockport's annual Veterans Day ceremony on Wednesday at Outwater Park. Sponsored by B. Leo Dolan Post 410 American Legion, the 11a.m. gathering serves as a moving and graphic reminder that freedom is not free. Let us come together to honor generations of Americans who have sacrificed so much in freedom's cause.

The ceremony will include Dolan Post's award-winning Color Guard, a gun salute by the Lockport Devil Dog Detachment Marine Corps League and the haunting melody of "Taps" played by Lockport High School senior, Allison Bartkowiak. Unique to our local ceremony is an intergenerational recitation of war poetry by Lockport's schoolchildren, in response a reading of "In Flander's Fields" by members of the Barge Canal Optimist Club and other adult community volunteers. This national award-winning initiative has evolved into a Lockport tradition over the past 19 years.

Wherever you are on Wednesday, please do fly your flag, thank our veterans and pause to reflect on the price they paid for the precious freedoms we all enjoy.

Renee A. Knight, Chairperson
Partnership in Patriotism Coalition
Member Organizations:
B. Leo Dolan Post 410 American Legion Family
Barge Canal Optimist Club
Lockport City School District
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
City of Lockport
Town of Lockport

Donate extra airline miles to servicemen, families

When traffic congestion, long lines, faulty air conditioning, or daily inconveniences stress us out, it might be worthwhile to consider what our deployed soldiers face every day — without the welcome escape of “going home” at the end. Shouldn’t we all feel just a teensy bit guilty for even complaining?

Suppose you knew of a simple way to help relieve some of their stress, without even writing a check or donating a dime? Perhaps those unused airline miles you “don’t know what to do with” might help reunite a soldier with his loved ones. Maybe you have too few airline miles to take a trip, but... adding your miles to a “bank” of others could take family members to their hospitalized soldier, far from home, such as Lanstuhl Medical Center in Germany or Walter Reed Hospital in Washington. Just a few clicks — at a well chosen Web site — could bring a soldier home for a visit or bring another the comfort of his family’s loving arms.

If you have fewer than 25,000 airline miles, yours could be added to others, at Operation Hero Miles ( Airline miles totaling to 25,000 or more donated to Operation First Response ( ) will bring tremendous personalized comfort to our severely wounded soldiers at far away hospitals. Simply visit one of these sites to make a huge difference for America’s wounded warriors. It will be a “good” day when you do.

Renee A. Knight, 1st Vice President

B. Leo Dolan Unit 410 American Legion Auxiliary

For the freedom keepers

PARTNERSHIP IN PATRIOTISM: Upson publishing a student-soldier letters book to support veterans memorial

By Joyce M. Miles/
June 25, 2006
Students and staff at Charles Upson Elementary School are doing a bit of fundraising for the national Veterans Disabled For Life memorial, by publishing a book of the letters they’ve written to soldiers engaged in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Students in every class wrote letters to soldiers this past school year as part of a national “4thetroops” morale-boosting campaign, spearheaded locally by fourth-grade teacher Sherry Sansone.

Some of those letters will be appearing in “Letters From The Heart,” a booklet being printed by Orleans-Niagara BOCES for sale to parents and the community during Upson’s fall open house this year. The proceeds will be turned over to the Partnership In Patriotism, which is holding a communitywide drive to raise money for the disabled veterans’ monument that will be built in Washington, D.C., in 2010.

Interspersed with the kids’ letters will be a sampling of return letters from soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sansone had hundreds to pick from, as she’s been collecting them for a couple of years.

While soldiers’ names will be whited out for confidentiality, Sansone can tell the community most are from soldiers serving in the New York National Guard and a few are local guys.

The span of correspondence, from 2004 to June 2006, “is like living history,” she said. “It’s so interesting to read what the students share about themselves with soldiers, the questions they asked and the answers they got back.”

Sansone assembled the booklet scrapbook-style and incorporated postmarks from the envelopes sent from overseas. “It’s a real down-home book,” she said.

Separately, Partnership in Patriotism coordinator Renee Knight said last week the Nov. 10 community concert for the memorial has acquired some new sponsors. Mills Jewelers owner George Fritz has donated a signature pendant and artist Kathleen Giles donated a watercolor painting for raffle; Summit Print & Mail is donating the print job for 1,000 concert admission tickets; and Barry Steel Fabrication has signed on as a cash sponsor.

The concert by Lockport High School’s music department is the Partnership’s primary fundraiser for the memorial, which is in the planning stages now. The Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial Foundation is seeking to raise $65 million from private sources nationwide.

Any group or individual that wants to contribute an item for raffle, raise money on their own or sign on as a concert sponsor can call Knight at 434-3827 for more information.

“Freedom is not free” is the fundraising campaign slogan.

'Platinum' gift kicks off memorial fundraiser

By Joyce M. Miles /
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
June 5, 2006
The local campaign to raise money for a disabled veterans’ memorial has gone “platinum” in its kickoff.

The Partnership in Patriotism, a coalition of Lockport schools and groups promoting outreach to veterans and active soldiers, received the campaign’s first gift, $1,000, from local developer David Ulrich.

The Partnership is soliciting gifts for the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, a monument set to be built in Washington, D.C., in 2010. The foundation in charge is aiming to raise $65 million from private sources; government money cannot be used to fund the endeavor.

“The Partnership in Patriotism Coalition is profoundly grateful for Mr. David Ulrich’s generous contribution to kick off the community-based fundraising campaign (here),” coalition chairman Renee Knight said.

The Partnership will put on a series of public fundraisers this fall, culminating in a pre-Veterans Day tribute concert by the Lockport High School Music Department. It will be the second time district students and the community team up to support memorial construction.

In 1998, students districtwide organized to put on a show in support of the National World War II Memorial. The effort raised more than $10,000 and garnered national attention, since Lockport was the first school district in the country to raise monument money that way.

They’ll be doing it again Nov. 10, Knight said, after the Partnership got in contact with the disabled veterans’ Memorial Foundation earlier this year to inquire about helping and a foundation official suggested a concert. Crystal Carter, executive director of fundraising, already knew about Lockport’s enthusiasm for aiding the World War II monument — and now she knows it as the only community in the United States to be deeply involved in building two monuments, she said.

“Seeing a community as small as Lockport pull together to support veterans is such a boost to them,” Carter said. “It shows parents and children understand sacrifices are being made. We’re so pleased.”

The foundation is aiming to have the money raised for a disabled veterans’ memorial by 2009 and construction done by 2010. “Freedom is not free” is the campaign’s slogan and its national spokesperson is Gary Sinise, a star of “CSI: New York” and the portrayer of a disabled Vietnam veteran in the feature film “Forrest Gump.”

All money raised by concert ticket sales and other fundraisers will be turned over to the foundation, Knight said.

Concert sponsors are being sought. The concert program will list bronze ($20 to $39), silver ($40 to $49), gold ($100 to $499) and platinum ($500 or more) donors. Other suggested ways members of the public can be involved include:

— Donating items to be raffled on concert night.

— Holding private raffles, split clubs and other fundraisers and donating the proceeds.

— Challenging similar businesses or organizations to match donations.

— Having organizations purchase commemorative items for members including a “Freedom Is Not Free” T-shirt ($10), patriotic umbrella ($8) or a bracelet ($7).

The Coalition will be organizing a series of fundraisers including raffles, a bake sale and a book project. According to Melisa Niver, chairman of the school district’s character education committee, elementary-age students will write poetry and letters to soldiers and the works will be compiled into booklets for purchase at each school’s open house in the fall.

Concert tickets will go on sale in September; the purchase price will be tax-deductible, since checks will be written to the foundation.

For more information about sponsorships and assistance of the effort, call Knight at 434-3827.

Program is step above the rest

By Tim Marren / Lockport Journal

Character Education is being touted as part of a new standard that will be taught by the teachers of today to the leaders of tomorrow.

Fortunately for the residents of Lockport, required elements of the program have been a part of the district curriculum for years.

Partnership in Patriotism, created by retired district teacher and current Board of Education member Renee Knight, has taught the values of respect, responsibility, honesty, humility and patriotism -- now being mandated by the state under the Character Education title.

The program is now being recognized by the Academy for Character Education in Troy.

"I am excited to be able to do this," Knight said. "This gives other districts the opportunity to use our program in their classrooms."

Knight has been asked to present the topic she literally wrote the book on and discuss how the program has been successful for so many years.

Student volunteer participants help honor veterans by reciting famous poetry as part of Lockport's annual Veterans Day ceremony at Outwater Park.

Knight said the program has not only increased student involvement, but community attendance at the ceremony.

Superintendent Bruce Fraser said Knight's presentation is a great opportunity for the district to show off something it has been doing for some time.

"We are honored that Mrs. Knight was invited to go again this year," Fraser said at a recent Board of Education meeting. "With the partnership we have with the American Legion to promote veterans, this is a great program for other districts to find out about."

Knight created the instructional materials that teach Lockport's children the importance of patriotism at an early age -- just one part of the whole Character Education program.

The Partnership in Patriotism program started in Knight's own classroom, but now has turned into an intergenerational community-based coalition -- a partnership with the B. Leo Dolan Post 410 of the American Legion and the women of the Barge Canal Optimist Club of Lockport.

All as a public display of thanks for veterans.

After Knight's retirement in 1999, the program became part of the district's curriculum to meet the legislative mandate.

The roots were laid when she first started teaching in 1965, when her students in Ohio asked why they had certain days off from school.

"That question started the whole thing," Knight said.

Veterans to be Honored

Partnership in Patriotism memorial set for Tuesday

By Tim Marren / Lockport Journal
November 9, 2003
The annual Partnership in Patriotism public display of thanks for veterans once again will take place Tuesday. Renee A. Knight, chairperson of Partnership in Patriotism, said everyone from students to seniors will gather at Outwater Park to honor those who served and sacrificed their lives for freedom. The tribute begins at 11a.m. “Our veteran organizations give all the time.” Knight said. “They give in service, and then they come home and give some more.”

The event will consist of a recitation of R.W. Lillard’s poem “America’s Answer” by students. The Barge Canal Optimist Club’s will recite “In Flanders Fields”. It is being sponsored by the four member coalition of Partnership in Patriotism of the B. Leo Dolan Post 410 of the American Legion, the Unit 410 American Legion Auxiliary, the Barge Canal Optimist Club, and the Lockport School District.

“It’s one small way that we can say thank you,” Knight said. “It is so little of what we can do and it means so much to these people. If we have a day off from school, we need to know why. This teaches the children exactly why.”

Knight said the students that participate range from fifth to twelfth grade.

Board of Education President W. Keith McNall has helped with the Veterans Day programs for years, but said the Partnership in Patriotism program is in a league of its own.

“All of the efforts will be appreciated by all who realize the importance of this day,” McNall said. “It’s a day where those who sacrificed for us should be recognized in every way possible.”

Knight, a board of education member, created Partnership in Patriotism and the district has used the program to teach the values of respect, responsibility, honesty, humility and patriotism – now being mandated by the state under the Character Education title.

McNall said he hopes the program will continue for many years to come.

Knight said the event has not only increased student involvement, but community attendance at the ceremony.

Veterans honored

By Tim Marren / Lockport Journal
November 12
It seems patriotism can break all boundaries -- especially in a time of war and on a cold, gloomy November afternoon.

More than 200 people turned out Tuesday at Outwater Park for the annual Partnership in Patriotism Veterans Day ceremony that honors all veterans.

Members of the B. Leo Dolan Post 410 of the American Legion, Unit 410 American Legion Auxiliary, Barge Canal Optimist Club, the Lockport school district -- all members of the partnership -- and the local community braved the blustery cold weather to recognize the importance of veterans.

A 10-member color guard and firing squad opened the ceremony for eight veteran speakers that spoke of America's history in conflict and the importance of the day formerly known as Armistice Day that ended World War I in 1918.

Following the speech, dozens of students, along with parents and members of the Optimist Club, recited "In Flanders Fields." Shots rattled through the brisk air with "Taps" and a bagpipe rendition of "Amazing Grace" following.

Jillian Ferris, a senior at Lockport High School, has been involved in the ceremony for three years. A recitation coach for the small children, Ferris, 17, said her level of involvement has increased each year.

Visit the Lockport Journal website

A Different Type of Veteran ** Coalition Members Information ** Charles Upson Elementary's Project SOS
Concert for Disabled American Veterans** Create Your Own Fireworks Show!** Flash Presentations** Support The Troops
Games Page ** Lockport Journal Articles ** Map to Outwater Park** Patriotic Songs** Samples of our Related Activities
Slide Show ** Valentines for Vets** WWII Memorial Society Newsletter Article