One of the nicest parts of my job as Erie County Legislator is being able to honor special people from my district during legislative sessions in Old County Hall. The building itself has seen a lot of history and the ornate chamber is a perfect setting for recognizing the accomplishments of individuals who have made our community so special.
Earlier this year our new chairwoman, Betty Jean Grant, established the practice of naming a Citizen of the Month and inviting them to accept their award before the full legislature. She selected the first honoree and the task has since been rotated among the members of the body. When it was my turn to pick a Citizen of the Month last spring I named two of them, Don and Nancy Holler of the City of Tonawanda. Following the death of their son, an avid skateboarder, Mr. and Mrs. Holler turned their grief into a triumph by spearheading the drive to construct the Gregory Hayes Holler Memorial Skate Park at Ives Pond Park in the City of Tonawanda. This state-of-the-art facility addresses the needs of an often overlooked group of young people and serves as a fitting tribute to the Holler’s son’s passion for the sport. Even though my sport growing up was baseball, not skateboarding, I know I hit a homerun with my first Citizen of the Month selection in May.
More recently, I honored World War II veteran Lawrence Titzler at the start of a session of the legislature. In my introduction I recalled my favorite quote from former Buffalo Bills’ coach Marv Levy. When asked if an upcoming contest was a “must-win,” Levy responded that World War II was a “must-win” and that Sunday’s game was just a football game. That quote put things in proper perspective. Mr. Titzler, like hundreds of thousands of other young men, risked his life for that genuine must-win fight and gave us the country we are privileged to live in today. He was there for the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, one of the fiercest battles of the conflict. After the war, he served our community as a City of Tonawanda teacher and school administrator. My legislative aide, Susan Gregg, is one of his former students and tells me he was one of her favorite teachers. I was humbled to host Mr. Titzler and his wife, Irene, in the legislative chamber last month. I am humbled often in my job, as I get the chance to meet so many outstanding people like the Hollers and the Titzlers who have done so much for our nation, our community and our humanity.
If you have thoughts you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. I can be contacted by phone at 858-8672 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.