New Veterans Initiative: Erie County Clerk's SALUTES Program

Modified: March 2, 2018 11:07am

February 22, 2018

One action, two words, unlimited number of ways to say ‘Thank You’ 



Showing Appreciation Loyalty and Unity Towards Erie County Servicemembers


Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns announced his new veterans’ services initiative, the Erie County Clerk’s S.A.L.U.T.E.S. Program. The acronym S.A.L.U.T.E.S. stands for Showing Appreciation Loyalty and Unity Towards Erie County Servicemembers.


The SALUTES Program will encompass the various veterans initiatives sponsored through the Clerk’s Office, including Clerk Kearns’ newest initiative, the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Honor.


Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns announces SALUTES ProgramFebruary 22nd, 2018 marks the 86th anniversary of General Douglas MacArthur creating the ‘modern day Purple Heart.’ To commemorate this anniversary, Kearns, alongside Senior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart 187, Russell Ward, announced the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Honor. Named after the Buffalo native who is known as the ‘Father of American Intelligence’, Donovan was a World War I veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart. The William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Honor will contain the names of Purple Heart veterans from Erie County and will be formally unveiled this summer.


“One thing that has surprised me through my work with Erie County Purple Heart Veterans is the lack of records about these veterans,” said Clerk Mickey Kearns. “There is no database of all Purple Heart recipients, and it is up to the recipients themselves to disclose their award. As the chief document holder for the county, it is my goal that we acknowledge as many Purple Heart veterans as possible in the William J. Donovan Purple Heart Recipients Book of Honor, which will remain a permanent fixture of the Clerk’s Office.”  


“Purple Heart recipients did not serve their country for the recognition or awards,” said Russell Ward, Senior Vice Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart 187. “Many of our Purple Heart recipients are far too modest to let people know of their medal. I thank Clerk Mickey Kearns for his hard work and dedication on behalf of Purple Heart recipients in Erie County and for making this a part of the SALUTES Program.”


The SALUTES Program also facilitates partnerships and collaboration among the various veterans’ organizations throughout Erie County. World War II veteran Dr. John Long, and Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park Board member Marlene Roll, will co-chair the ‘Thank-A-Vet’ program. The County Clerk would also like to acknowledge additional partners in the program including the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park, the Veterans One- stop Center of Western New York, and the WNY Veterans Housing Coalition. 


“During my time in elected office, I realized that there were many things we as a community can do to show our veterans the respect and appreciation they deserve,” said Kearns. “In the Clerk’s office, we have found a way to bring all of those different initiatives together under one umbrella. SALUTES represents the various ways in which Erie County can honor our veterans and their families. I look forward to continuing to work with our great partners on solidifying and expanding veterans’ programs.”


“I am proud of the fact that County Clerk Kearns has brought to the forefront all of our veteran services in the county, including the Naval Park, which I believe represents the heart and soul of every veteran in WNY. As a veteran of World War II, I will continue to support all efforts of the Clerk’s to expand programs for our veterans,” said Dr. John Long, ‘Thank-A-Vet’ Discount Program Co- Chair and World War II Veteran.


“County Clerk Mickey Kearns has always been a strong advocate for members of the Armed Forces,” said Captain Brian Roche, USCG (ret), Executive Director of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park. “The new SALUTES Program, which formally recognizes veterans and their families for the sacrifices they’ve endured in support of this great country, is exceptional.”  


“We, at the Veteran’s One-Stop Center, applaud the efforts of Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns in his announcement of the S.A.L.U.T.E.S. initiative.  The goal of facilitating partnerships and collaborations with the various veteran service organizations can only enhance each effort to best serve our veterans,” said Col. John Higgins (retired USAF), Board Chair. Erie County Clerk's SALUTES Program      


Each of the initiatives under the SALUTES Program seeks to either, provide a service, such as the popular ‘Thank-A-Vet’ Discount cards offering veterans discounts to more than 1,400 Erie County businesses, or to pay tribute to veterans’ sacrifice and dedication, such as through the Purple Heart Combat Wounded Designated Parking Spaces. Other initiative under SALUTES include Valentines for Vets, and the W.N.Y Veterans Housing Coalition Family Christmas Drive.


Kearns announced the SALUTES program on what would be the 286th birthday of President George Washington, founder of the original Purple Heart (Badge of Merit).