Today, Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that she secured $25,000 in state funding for WNY Heroes, Inc. Operation B.O.O.T.S. peer-to-peer program. WNY Heroes, Inc. was founded in 2007 by Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Chris Kreiger in order to provide vital financial assistance to disabled veterans and a strong support system for veterans who are at risk of issues like substance abuse, homelessness, chronic unemployment, and familial breakdown.
Operation B.O.O.T.S. (Battle Buddies on our Troops’ Side) brings together veterans and their families in casual, non-clinical settings in order to foster teamwork, networking, and friendship.
“Our brave service-members who risk everything for our nation deserve generous benefits and a robust support system upon their return to civilian life,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “By better funding peer-to-peer support programs, we can ensure that veterans can access networks and build relationships to help them thrive. Thank you to Chris Kreiger, Lynn Magistrale, and the amazing team at WNY Heroes, Inc. for their service to our nation and for supporting our brave veterans.”
“This is an especially difficult time for many veterans who served in recent conflicts, which makes our programs all the more essential,” said Lynn Magistrale, program director of WNY Heroes, Inc. and an Iraq War veteran. “Peer-to-peer programming can help veterans cope with these difficult feelings and re-acclimate to civilian life, as well as help those still serving to heal from unseen combat injuries, such as PTSD. Thank you to Assemblymember Wallace for securing funding to help us continue these vital programs.”
Assemblymember Wallace has long been a champion for veterans, recently securing $25,000 for the Lt. Col. Matt L. Urban VFW Post 7275 in Lancaster and passing legislation to create a Women’s Veterans Advisory Committee to review and improve services for women veterans. She also co-sponsored legislation to improve compensation for Gold Star families, extend the hire-a-vet tax credit, and allow SUNY academic credits for military training, as well as secured $10,000 in state funding for the Veterans One-Stop Center of Western New York to bring a Women Veterans Network (WOVEN) to WNY.