BUFFALO—Erie Community College and its Veterans Affairs Department held a flag presentation, remembrance and news conference with its student veterans and members of the Buffalo Fire Department to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on Tuesday at the memorial flagpole of downtown’s Fireman’s Park, located on Ellicott between North and South Division Street near City Campus.
ECC student vets presented members of the Ellicott Street firehouse (Engine 1, Ladder 2) with a new flag for the park, then raised it in memorial of the noted anniversary. ECC President Jack Quinn, Buffalo Fire chaplains Ken Eason and William Webb, and ECC’s assistant coordinator of Veterans Affairs Dan Frontera—an Iraq War veteran—delivered brief speeches about the solemnity of the day.
“We gather today to commemorate Patriots’ Day and remember our nation’s heroes,” said Frontera. “Eleven years ago, our country faced one of the darkest moments in our history. But, through those attacks, our country found new heroes, born in fire, tested in battle, and resilient in their defense of our country.”
ECC representatives also announced the formation of the college’s Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), which will provide for 12 academic months of support to help our nation’s heroes to receive training and education in high-demand occupations. ECC is the only college in Erie County that provides such vet support, a fact school President Jack Quinn feels sets the institution apart from others in the area.
“We are proud of our veterans and I have made it the enhanced mission of ECC to have a Veterans College within our already expansive community college,” said Quinn. “We’ve established campus offices, career assistance and multi-faceted, second-to-none support system for our region’s returning heroes, and we look forward putting more and more of our servicemen back to work, here at home.
The support initiative is yet another significant commitment to enhance the college’s Western New York-leading and nationally recognized assistance with U.S. veterans. ECC was recently ranked the 11th best community college in America for vets by Military Times EDGE Magazine, and the college’s exceptional veteran mentoring has been featured in the NJCAA Review.