We have all heard of “Christmas in July.” While not as dramatic, I recently witnessed April in June. Allow me to explain.
Several years ago the then Chairwoman of the Erie County Legislature, Betty Jean Grant, initiated the practice of allowing legislators to designate one of their constituents as Erie County Citizen of the Month. Since I represent the 4th District, my month was April.
A couple months ago I chose Brian Joseph Fose as my designee and we passed a resolution honoring him at our April 27th meeting. Normally we would have Brian in at the beginning of the meeting to receive our congratulations and permit him to say a few words. We could not do this in April, however, as Brian was recovering from heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.
It took a couple months, but we finally were able to honor him properly at our first meeting in June. Hence, April in June. In my introductory remarks I explained that Brian’s open heart surgery in April was his fourth such procedure. I also noted that this was ironic because Brian has one of the best hearts in Tonawanda and perhaps all of Erie County.
Since moving to the City of Tonawanda in 2006, Brian has worked tirelessly to improve the community. In 2014 he utilized a Facebook page to create “Team Up to Clean Up,” a volunteer group dedicated to beautifying the City of Tonawanda. Many weekend cleanup projects later, he is accomplishing this objective. Brian also was instrumental in the creation of “Memory Walk Lane,” which was designed to celebrate the lives of young people such as Jed Woomer who died at an early age. More recently, Brian worked with Mandy Sampson to convert a rundown playground on Luksin Drive in the City of Tonawanda into the Millstream Education Community Gardens. This wonderful community asset with its bird and butterfly garden, and its frog pond provides a place for children to interact with nature. I have fond memories of watching my granddaughter last year as she participated in the Community Gardens’ lady bug release.
By becoming the county’s April Citizen of the Month, Brian Joseph Fose joins a number of 4th Legislative District citizens who were honored in past years. The first ones were Don and Nancy Holler who were the driving force behind the Gregory Hayes Holler Memorial Skatepark at Ives Pond in the City of Tonawanda. The founder of Grand Island’s Miracle League, Teresa Hooper, was the next of my citizens of the month. Her dedication has helped hundreds of physically and mentally challenged children enjoy the sport of baseball. Likewise, Ron Hoeltke was honored for his work with similar youth sports programs for the disabled in the Tonawandas. Last year, Ray Pauley was honored as a long serving member of the Grand Island Fire Company. So Brian Joseph Fose is in excellent company. It has been my observation, though, that Grand Island and the Tonawandas are full of civic minded people, any of whom could be future citizens of the month.
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.