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A step closer for African American Veterans Monument

Niagara Gazette - 12/17/2018

Dec. 17--The African American Veterans Monument Committee is one giant step closer to their fundraising goal thanks to a $200,000 joint grant from Delaware North and M&T Bank. Lou Jacobs, co-CEO of Delaware North; René Jones, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, and several African American veterans, who now work at both companies, visited the monument site recently for the donation.

"Delaware North is honored to join our colleagues from M&T Bank to support the African American Veterans Monument, which pays long overdue tribute to those who fought for the very freedoms they were not always afforded at home," Jacobs said. "By adding this monument to Buffalo's bustling waterfront, we ensure that it becomes a fixture in our city's treasure trove of cultural landmarks."

Added Jones, whose African-American father was a veteran of World War II, "America's minorities, or people of color, have fought in every American military campaign from the Revolutionary War to the current engagement in the Middle East, including more than a million who served during WWII. Their bravery and sacrifice deserve to be memorialized, and M&T Bank is honored to partner with Delaware North to help make that happen."

Since January 2017, the African American Veterans Monument Committee has been working to secure funding for the new, first-of-its-kind monument estimated to cost $1.5 million. Today's news brings the fundraising total to over $1.27 million.

"The contributions of African Americans to the country's military are an understated piece of history. We're humbled by the community's support of our effort to shed a light on it here in Buffalo, and look forward to unveiling the monument this spring," said Warren Galloway, US Air Force veteran and chair of the African American Veterans Monument Committee.

When completed, the new African American Veterans Monument will be the nation's first monument dedicated solely to African-American veterans and service members. It will consist of 12, 10-foot tall black concrete pillars representing each of the country's military conflicts that have occurred.

Ground was broken on the monument, which will be located at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park in Buffalo's Canalside area, in November. With hopes for a mild winter, construction is expected to be completed by summer 2019.

The community can honor a veteran through the purchase of an engraved brick paver that will line the walkways of the monument for $250.

Additional information on the African American Veterans Monument can be found at AAVMWNY.org or by calling (716) 800-1137.

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(c)2018 the Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, N.Y.)

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