September 2015
Dependability vs. Inconsistency
Dependability is fulfilling what I have consented to do, even if it means unexpected sacrifice.

October 2015
Thoroughness vs. Incompleteness
Thoroughness is knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected

November 2015
Determination vs. Faintheartedness
Determination is purposing to accomplish right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition 

December 2015
Thriftiness vs. Extravagance
Thriftiness is allowing myself and others to spend only what is necessary.

January 2016
Availability vs. Self-Centeredness
Availability is making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I serve.  

February 2016
Deference vs. Rudeness
Deference is limiting my freedom so that I do not offend the tastes of those around me. 

March 2016
Compassion vs. Indifference
Compassion is investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others. 

April 2016
Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness
Persuasiveness is guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblock 

May 2016
Wisdom vs. Foolishness
Wisdom is seeing and responding to life situations from a perspective that transcends my current circumstances.

June 2016
Alertness vs. Carelessness
Alertness is being aware of what is taking place around me so I can have the right responses

July 2016
Decisiveness vs. Procrastination
Decisiveness is the ability to recognize key factors and finalize difficult decisions. 

August 2016
Joyfulness vs. Self-Pity
Joyfulness is maintaining a good attitude, even when faced with unpleasant consequences.

(Click Below to Download)
Virtue Schedule 2015-2016
Virtue Schedule 2016-2017
Virtue Schedule 2017-2018
Virtue Schedule 2019-2020-coming soon

This program to honor character excellence in action began, with great success, in March of 2009 with the character trait of “Sincerity”. This “Integrity In Action” recognition was presented during the 1st Annual “Creating a Culture of Character” Conference at Hilbert College , Friday, March 20, 2009. Subsequent “Integrity In Action” recognitions are made monthly at the Hamburg Town Board meeting.

Nominations can be made by submission to: or “Integrity in Action” c/o Character Council of WNY, Inc. P.O. Box 613, Hamburg, New York 14075. Submissions should include the following: Your name, email or mailing address and phone number; Nominee’s name, email or mailing address and phone number; character quality; a narrative describing what the nominee did to exemplify this character quality, and what was the benefit of their actions. Honorees will be featured on the Character Council of WNY’s website.

Nominations for upcoming character qualities can be made by the 15th of the month prior to the month of honoring.


Congratulations Midge Harrington November 2013~Initiative


For November 2013, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Initiative. By our definition, initiative is “recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it.” This evening it is my distinct pleasure to recognize Midge Harrington for her exemplification of this character quality.

Midge serves as the current Vice President of the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) at Hamburg High School.

“Someone with initiative looks for needs, seizes the moment, thinks ahead, and spends time wisely.  I can think of no other individual that displays this particular character trait more vividly than Midge Harrington.  To say the least Midge is a “trail blazer.” She recognizes needs throughout the Hamburg community and then sets forth to assist in any way possible to address those needs in a favorable and encouraging manner.

Everywhere you go and everywhere you look, there is Midge Harrington.  She gives of herself unselfishly on a daily basis to assist those less fortunate.  She is a volunteer for “meals on wheels” one or two days a week, delivering food to those in need.  Additionally, Midge is very actively involved in Hamburg High School’s PTSA. You can enter the High School on any given day and you will find Midge selling tickets, organizing the Athletics Booster Club, running the Post Prom Party, gathering items for fundraising-basket raffles, assisting with the PTSA scavenger hunt, decorating hallways, and serving as the “official” seamstress for middle and high school musicals… this is just to name of few of her initiatives.

Quite frankly, Midge is everywhere.  Where there is a need, Midge Harrington shows up to enthusiastically fill it.  She is an inspiration to all who have the privilege of meeting and knowing her.  Her energy is contagious as she uses it in a positive fashion to lend a benevolent hand.

Midge strongly believes in giving back to her community.  The Union Pleasant science fair was brought back mainly due to Midge’s determination and perseverance.  She is a true servant leader.

Midge has impressive organizational skills and has solid time-management skills.  She does not wait for others to do something. Midge identifies a need and then sets forth aggressively, though thoughtfully, to assure that the end results are constructive in nature.  Truly a sincere, kind and compassionate individual, Midge clearly puts others needs before her own.  Midge’s “random acts of kindness,” are witnessed throughout the Hamburg Community on a daily basis as she demonstrates availability for the greater good.

Those throughout the Hamburg community admire Midge for her consistent and positive outlook.  Her choice to focus on solutions enables her ability to accomplish much for the benefit of so many. She sincerely believes in Hamburg, our schools, students and families.  As an inspiration and praiseworthy role model, Midge sets forth an authentic example for others to strive to emulate. Indeed, Hamburg High School and the entire community of Hamburg are better places because Midge Harrington is here.”

On behalf of the Character Council of Western New York, We are  honored to present Midge Harrington with the Initiative recognition for November 2013.

Nominated by: Kathleen L. Battin, School Counselor, Hamburg High School


Congratulations Nancy MaisanoMaisano   March 2013 ~ Sincerity

For March 2013, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes an individual exemplifying the character quality of Sincerity.  By our definition, sincerity is “eagerly doing what is right with transparent motives”.  One person who exemplifies this definition is Nancy Maisano.

“To be in the presence of Nancy Maisano is to be graced by the purest form of sincerity. Nancy is a person of integrity evidenced by her ability to be transparent in all situations with an underlying truthfulness, compassion, and kindness. Owing to her genuine nature, she remains true to herself and to others in managing both the easiest and most challenging of circumstances. Nancy is a selfless and loving wife and mother, daughter and sister. She and her husband, Mark, have raised two wonderful children, Andrew and Chelsea, who find it necessary to contribute to society in major ways due to the nurturing stability of a model of earnest character. As a reliable friend and neighbor, the parents of her neighborhood entrust their children to Nancy to get them safely to the bus each morning. She is a reliable employer. In her management of and dealing with teenage employees, she understands while maintaining a role of mentorship. She is loved and respected by her employees because they know exactly what is expected of them through mutual respect. Nancy is an excellent teacher by career and by nature.  There are no hidden agendas with Nancy. Nancy’s family, friends, and colleagues lean to her for guidance knowing Nancy will lead with a gentle yet straightforward, thoughtful honesty. Nancy respects others enough to offer a wholehearted candor rather than simply supporting by agreement.

Today, Nancy is recognized for her volunteerism and the beneficial affect she has as a mentor and leader. As a volunteer Nancy is charitable in mind and gracious giving. She is true to her word, trustworthy and dependable. She shows appreciation to and for others. Nancy’s regard and respect for others consistently remains in the forefront in her many endeavors. Her enthusiasm for a project thoughtfully and artfully done is infectious. It is a joyful pleasure to be on a team with her. Dependable and responsible, she is frankly considerate in her relationships with people. In Nancy’s sweet innocence, she sees the good and positive in people while facilitating through goodwill a justice for those she sees as needful of an uplifting of mind, body, and soul. Although Nancy has contributed to the Character Council of Western New York in varietal and numerous ways, her greatest legacy is the Character Carnival. Her leadership has brought a foundational culture of character to our youth and thereby our families through a genuine and fun avenue. This day of character-focus lives on through the days that follow. With many hours of attentive planning and design, countless people are character-enhanced by Nancy’s caring contribution.

Much like our golden star of character, the sincerity of Nancy is represented within each point by associative and supportive character traits that shine brightly upon those people and causes that have the great honor of being nurtured by her earnest and loving ways. Within the many facets of her life, Nancy exudes the grace, trust, and honesty of sincerity with an enthusiasm that permeates the culture she lives within. Her contributions are many and great. It is with heartfelt sincerity and appreciation we recognize Nancy for the integrity of her sincere character.”

  Nominated by: Character Council of Western New York Board of Directors

Congratulations Joseph Hanna
November 2011 ~ Determination

For November 2011, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Determination. By our definition, determination is purposing to accomplish the right

goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition. One person who exemplifies this definition is Joseph Hanna.

“Joe Hanna, a graduate of the University at Buffalo, is an attorney and partner in the Buffalo office of Goldberg Segalla, LLP. He is a native Buffalonian and a passionate supporter of Western New York. Joe is also the epitome of the character trait, determination, especially when it comes to his charitable work.

In 2008, Joe saw a 60 Minutes piece on how the soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan struggle with being away from home and how the stress of their lives overseas can be taxing. Joe immediately knew he wanted to make a difference. As an avid golfer, Joe had an idea. What if he could collect some golf balls and clubs and send them over to the troops? He thought it might offer them a taste of home and a chance to escape the pressures of battle while bonding with fellow soldiers.

Joe didn’t know anything about starting a charity. But determined, he began to make phone calls to friends and colleagues. People began to drop off clubs for his cause. But Joe had a bigger vision. After exhaustive research, he formed Bunkers in Baghdad and began soliciting donations of equipment from golf suppliers and manufacturers. Joe’s focus for his determination was on the troops.

Joe found out it isn’t so easy to mail golf equipment to Iraq and have it end up in the hands of the soldiers. By thoroughly researching regulations and cutting through much red tape, Joe was determined not to give up. Soon, thousands of golf balls and clubs began arriving at his office. Joe saw this as an opportunity to be more than just a charity for the troops, but also as a chance to teach children about giving, so he began to reach out to schools. It took a while, but Joe was determined to share his vision and ultimately had school children volunteering to pack golf equipment and write letters to include with each shipment.

Though the groundswell of support in Buffalo and Western New York was strong, Joe strove to grow his local charitable effort into a national one. Along with the hard work of a small group of dedicated volunteers, Joe’s charity steadily grew.

Bunkers in Baghdad, the charity born in Joe’s Buffalo living room, has collected and shipped more than 3 million golf balls and 50,000 golf clubs to troops in 13 countries around the world! Joe has also partnered with Wounded Warriors programs and delivered golf equipment to all 50 states to be used by soldiers returning from duty or rehabilitating from injury. He has enlisted the support of professional sports teams, celebrities, and most of all, individual people who, like Joe, are determined to make a difference in their community and throughout the world.

Joe Hanna personifies determination unlike anyone I have ever met and it is a privilege to nominate him for this esteemed recognition”.

On behalf of the Character Council of Western New York we are honored to present Joseph Hanna with the Determination recognition for November 2011.

Nominated by: ~ Matthew Chandler, Legal Reporter, Business First

Congratulations, Pastor Greg McClain, Pastor Jim Clements, Pastor Bill Nykyforchyn, Pastor Kevin Beers, Susan Van Hooser, Greg Niver, Stacia Niver, Frank Biela, Dick Woolgar and Bill Desautels!

September 2011 ~ Dependability

For September 2011, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes a diverse team of people from within an organization for exemplifying the character quality of Dependability. By our definition, dependability is fulfilling what I have consented to do, even if it means unexpected sacrifice. One group that exemplifies this definition is from the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg.

“These dedicated individuals have shown the quality of dependability by going to great lengths to help set up an appropriate office as a new home for my counseling ministry at the church. Since I have the challenge of low vision, I am acutely aware of my need to depend on others to accomplish the important goals in my personal and professional life. I fully recognize that unexpected sacrifice is often required from others as they strive to assist me, sometimes in ways that require a generous dose of patience and perseverance to accomplish the important tasks at hand. This group of compassionate individuals has shown great strength of character in their willingness to be attentive to my needs, while also available to address specific facility details that have helped me to be more responsible to my clients.

In readying my new office, extreme care was taken to provide a setting that offered the opportunity for confidentiality for clients… a location within the church that provided reduced noise levels… comfortable living room-style furniture that was arranged (and re-arranged!) to provide a welcoming environment … and a room outfitted with low lighting and sufficient air flow and heating to maximize the comfort level for clients often seeking shelter from the pain and suffering of some very difficult circumstances. To make sure that I felt comfortable in these new surroundings, initiative was taken to provide a sight-guide tour for me to make sure that I was fully aware of the positive features within my new workspace. My ability to offer compassionate guidance to my clients has been enhanced by the homey atmosphere that we visit together for each counseling session.

I am also extremely grateful for the dependability of resources and clerical support provided for me to help in my preparation for teaching personal growth classes offered to parishioners of the church and my private counseling practice. This support allows me to be adequately prepared for teaching with printed materials delivered punctually for the start of a class or counseling session. The addition of a video cart supplied for the classroom serves as a great teaching tool allowing for more varied and effective ways for me to reach out to help class participants as they strive to lead healthier lives.

I am thankful for the dependable resource of pastoral support given so willingly to students that I may refer to The HUB. The dependability of kindness and gentle understanding that a young man or woman receives provides the opportunity to feel accepted in a healing and nurturing environment… even in the midst of having a whole bunch of fun on the basketball court or in the game room!

Lastly, I am most grateful for the dependability of prayer support that I have received from everyone as I work to establish my counseling ministry at the church. Each of these individuals has shown a dependable dedication to me, ensuring that my gift for helping others is able to grow and flourish in my new “home.” I am deeply humbled and extremely honored to work alongside of them in loving service to my Lord, Jesus Christ!”

On behalf of the Character Council of Western New York we are honored to present this diverse team from the Wesleyan Church of Hamburg with the Dependability recognition for September 2011.

Nominated by: ~ Frances Moyer, L.M.H.C., Private Practice and Senior Counselor, Erie Community College

Congratulations, Russ Gugino

March 2011 ~ Discernment

For March 2011, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Discernment. By our definition, discernment is understanding the deeper reasons why things happen. One person who exemplifies this definition is Russ Gugino.

“Discernment requires a keen sense of attentiveness. It requires an awareness of what is going on around you; a degree of intellect to sort through all of the information as it is absorbed; and then thoughtful reflection to discover the underlying meaning for the lessons life has to offer. Discernment fortifies the ability to make sound judgments and then coupled with experience over time, can lead to the attainment of wisdom. Recognizing the value of discernment is honorable, because it implies a willingness to learn and the humility to admit there will always be much more to learn.

Discernment is the perfect word to describe Russ. When you have a conversation with Russ, besides his obvious charm and incredible sense of humor, you sense that this is a man who has a thoughtful, analytical approach to his life experience. He thinks things through, always striving to reach a clearer understanding of what is important in his day-to-day life experiences. While Russ appears to “have seen and heard it all” through his experience as a political aide and avid newshound, he uses his gift of discernment to try to make sense of it all… seeking the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to become a better man.

Recently, Russ was nearly taken from us. On the eve of Christmas Eve Russ was suddenly stricken with a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, but God’s hand was absolutely with Russ on that December evening. Given a 1% chance of survival by the doctors tending to him that night, Russ discerned that God had a much more spectacular plan for his survival. Hearing that Voice of Truth while in a coma, Russ’s discernment was sharp and crystal clear, causing him to begin the process of reassessing his calling in life. Although the path he will take is yet uncertain, Russ will tell you that his gift of discernment comes from God. Trusting in the assurance of God, Russ is a man of strong Christian faith that centers on an ongoing and ever-deepening relationship with his Redeemer. He recognizes that God’s plan for him is, indeed, secure.

Russ sees his recent illness as a powerful chance to witness to others about the power of prayer. He relishes a newfound opportunity to solidify relationships within his family and with the many friends of yesteryear who have come, in loving support, to his side. Russ is using the gift of discernment through the challenge of recovery to reevaluate his priorities for life going forward. Russ uses his gift of discernment to benefit himself and others. Russ easily applies discernment as an usher and men’s ministry leader at our church. He compassionately discerns the deeper needs of people who are suffering and organizes teams of men to give them a helping hand or to meet regularly in prayer at a needy person’s home. I have developed a great appreciation that as a redeeming mentor for our men’s group, Russ has taught me to be discerning as well… to look beyond the surface of relationships and to see the essence of people, so that they can be cared for tenderly and better understood. These important abilities strengthen me in my role as a physician. I am grateful and honored to know my friend, Russ Gugino”.

On behalf of the Character Council of Western New York we are honored to present Russ Gugino with the Discernment recognition for March 2011.

Nominated by: ~ Jerry Lauria, M.D.

Congratulations, Coach McCarthy and Coach Forcucci!

January 2011 ~ Enthusiasm

For January 2011, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes two individuals for exemplifying the character quality of Enthusiasm. By our definition, enthusiasm is expressing joy in each task as I give my best effort. Two individuals that exemplify this definition are Orchard Park Frontier Varsity Girls Ice Hockey Coaches James McCarthy and Lucian Forcucci. Coach McCarthy teaches Physical Education at Frontier Middle School, while Coach Forcucci is a 4th Grade Teacher at South Davis Elementary in Orchard Park.

“The dynamic duo of McCarthy and Forcucci has taken on the task of leading the first historical season of Varsity Girls Ice Hockey, helping to establish a successful partnership between two Western New York School Districts, Orchard Park and Frontier. These gentlemen have developed a “well-oiled machine” that is creating loyal and dedicated teammates out of athletes representing each of their own high schools. Sharing a common, strong work-ethic, Coaches McCarthy and Forcucci have poured their hearts into supporting a vision that encourages cooperation between school districts and invites unity between the athletes, their families and respective student bodies.

With up-beat tempos, infectious smiles, and positive, energy-driven attitudes, these gentlemen are exemplary role models for the young women in their charge. “Expressing joy in each task” takes on its own meaning at 5:30 AM on cold winter mornings before school three days a week, but practices at that hour are full of fast-paced, motivating, insightful instruction that serves to make learning exciting and fun, while challenging the girls to stretch toward realizing their full potential. Coaches McCarthy and Forcucci carefully orchestrate challenging practice drills; often demonstrate new skills for the girls to master; and use effective, though different, communication styles to create an environment conducive to building a successful team. Each coach is perceptive to the different learning style, experience level and individual talent of the girls, tailoring instruction to be most beneficial to each athlete while simultaneously strengthening the team as a whole.

Coaches McCarthy and Forcucci are intent on instilling confidence in their team members, on and off the ice. They are strong proponents of academic achievement, healthy lifestyles, and good decision-making. As spoken by one inspired athlete… “The coaches encourage me to have an ‘I can do anything!’ attitude”. Another said, “I always feel that I want to give my best effort for them, whether it is a game or practice time… day or night!” Still another stated, “They teach us to come out of our comfort zones and make sure we feel a sense of confidence”. The enthusiasm that Coaches McCarthy and Forcucci display for their team is seemingly contagious and serves to encourage the girls to strive for excellence in hockey and in life.”

On behalf of the Character Council of Western New York, we are honored to present Coaches James McCarthy and Lucian Forcucci with the Enthusiasm recognition for January 2011

Nominated by: ~ Members of the 2010-2011 Orchard Park Frontier Varsity Girls Ice Hockey Team

Congratulations, Erie Community College!

November 2010 ~ Hospitality

For November 2010, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes an organization for exemplifying the character quality of Hospitality. By our definition, hospitality is cheerfully sharing food, shelter and conversation to benefit others. One organization that exemplifies this definition is Erie Community College – South Campus.

“There are two parts of the definition of hospitality that particularly apply to Erie Community College. The first is the word, ‘cheerfully.’ Sharing is sometimes done out of a sense of duty or obligation. This has certainly not been the case with ECC. Since last April, ECC-South has embraced the Character Council with open arms. From the first friendly meeting with Fran Moyer and Denise Crowden, the Council has felt welcome at ECC-South. Henrietta Myers’ quote expresses it perfectly, “Hospitality should have no other nature than love.”

The second important part of the hospitality definition is ‘to benefit others.’ Even in this brief period of time, our relationship with ECC has provided great benefits for the Character Council of Western New York. Through the dedicated efforts of Fran and Denise the message for character excellence is spreading across ECC’s three campuses. In joining the Character Council as a Member School our virtue posters are displayed around each of these campuses. This is allowing our organization’s mission, “Creating a Culture of Character”, to become better known throughout the WNY Region.

The incorporation of the character language into college meetings, campus emails and campus community bulletin boards have emerged at ECC. A ‘Character Student of the Month’ recognition has taken shape out of the office for Disabled Student Services. Also, the Character Council has been invited to host information tables at campus events to further spread the focus on good character to students and faculty alike. A full partner in our mission to promote upstanding character in the higher-educational setting and beyond, ECC is certainly implementing creative ways to increase the college’s involvement with our Council and expanding regional character initiative.

Lastly, ECC graciously hosted our inaugural Member Schools Event, on October 22, 2010, sharing delicious food, an appropriate shelter under which to gather, and providing an atmosphere conducive to encouraging meaningful character-centered conversation, indeed helping to foster the growth of character initiatives within educational institutions of all levels throughout the Western New York Region. “

On behalf of the Character Council of Western New York we are honored to present Erie Community College – South Campus with the Hospitality recognition for November 2010.

Nominated by: ~ Ann Heraty

Congratulations, Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph!

September 2010 ~ Diligence

For September 2010, the Character Council of Western New York recognizes an organization for exemplifying the character quality of Diligence. By our definition, diligence is investing my time and energy to complete each task assigned to me. One organization that exemplifies this definition is the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph.

“As Franciscan Sisters, the religious community wanted their new Motherhouse to embrace the example of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, in his respect for all creation. The Sisters conducted lengthy discussions to determine how this project would involve not only construction, but also how it would impact “Mother Earth”. They were most vocal that their house be “LOW, WIDE, and GREEN”.

Our first task in the building project was to educate ourselves about building “green”. The best way to understand the job was to learn the meaning of LEED, which is the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. To help us achieve our goal we hired an Architect and Construction company that was LEED certified.

“How can we care for Mother Earth now and into the future?” was the question we wanted to keep before us. Constructing a plan that would enable us to incorporate elements that are environmentally friendly, conserve water and save energy was the outline for the way the building would be built. Some of the LEED elements incorporated are: Drought-tolerant native grasses and plantings used in the landscaping removes the need for an irrigation system; all water faucets, showerheads and toilets are low-flow fixtures, and washing machines are energy-star models, thus saving approximately 1,839,000 gallons of water annually; all other appliances are energy-star rated and heating and cooling equipment are also high-efficiency; light fixtures are either florescent or a traditional fixture with a compact florescent bulb; numerous items were recycled from the demolition of St. Claire Convent and project materials were purchased from local sources; and the ventilation system supplies fresh air to all areas of the house while flushing out airborne contaminants, making the indoor air quality healthier for everyone.

Being diligent in striving to meet our goal was indeed a challenge, but it also held important rewards. We know we have helped Mother Earth and Sister Water but the Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph have provided a safe and healthy place for their Sisters to live and a building that, for future use, will be an example of Caring for God’s Creation. Our new home has been awarded a Platinum LEED Certificate thus making our Motherhouse the first and only multi-family dwelling place in Western New York to achieve this highest level of certification.

One of the requirements of LEED Certification is that the public becomes educated about the sustainability of such construction. To that end, the Sisters look forward to scheduling Open House presentations to explain why, how and what they have diligently done to preserve, conserve and walk gently upon our Mother Earth through this “green construction project” of their new home. The Sisters’ investment of time and energy to complete the assigned task for “green” construction has been incredibly worthwhile!”

Nominated by: ~ Sister Martha Olszewski, FSSJ

Congratulations, Kathleen Mary House!

August 2010 ~ Security

For August 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg Inc. recognizes an organization for exemplifying the character quality of Security. By our definition, security is structuring my life around that which cannot be destroyed or taken away. One organization that exemplifies this definition is The Kathleen Mary House.

“In the Town of Hamburg there is one organization that comes clearly to mind as a most poignant example of providing security for women and children in dire need of a safe haven. The Kathleen Mary House, under the thoughtful direction of Sharon W. and her dedicated, compassionate staff, provide a transitional home to families who are the victims of domestic violence. The House provides for the basic right of safety while offering a fresh start to the families it serves.

Very often arriving with a broken spirit and with emotional and sometimes physical scars that run deep, women and their children are given a chance to heal from the pain and begin to rebuild their lives at The Kathleen Mary House. The mission of The House is to provide a dependably safe and nurturing family environment enhanced with programs specially designed to help break the cycle of domestic violence within families. These programs promote positive life skills by providing the necessary tools that strengthen the ability of women and children to lead successful, contented lives. While living at The House, residents are able to focus on building stronger character, restoring personal dignity and integrity within themselves, and adopting moral and ethical strength as a foundation for creating healthy family relationships.

Security is a vital concern at The Kathleen Mary House as women and children may be in serious danger of being found and harmed again by their abusers. These security concerns are addressed in a variety of ways. Most importantly, The House takes precautions to protect a resident’s confidentiality by not disclosing any information about the residents to anyone, while also strictly restricting access to a resident’s file. The Kathleen Mary House has installed an elaborate electronic security system and protection is diligently provided for with frequent patrols by the local police department. Families begin to know what security feels like again, gaining confidence in a well being that cannot be destroyed or taken away.

Once shattered families become whole, stepping out of the shadows of destruction by learning to respect, love, and trust each other again. Women become more self-assured and find a truer sense of self-respect. Children begin to flourish and have fun, experiencing maybe for the first time, what a normal childhood should be like. No longer suffering in shame and silence, healthier families have their freedom restored through the tender, loving kindness and benevolent security provided by The Kathleen Mary House.”

Nominated by: ~ Nicole Dayka and Donna Kogut

Congratulations, Bonnie!

July 2010 ~ Meekness

For July 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg Inc. recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Meekness. By our definition, meekness is yielding my personal rights and expectations with a desire to serve. One person who personifies this definition is Bonnie Meyer.

“I have known Bonnie Meyer since 1978 when I moved back to Hamburg to the home where I was born. It was a thrill for me to return to the Village in which I loved growing up, but I was a young mother who needed the company of other stay-at-home moms like myself. And there was Bonnie… only four houses from mine and we hit it off right away! At that time we both had two children and she was a welcoming beacon of light for me.

As our families and friendship grew we supported each other but Bonnie did so much more. Her family grew to five children over the years, while mine stopped at three. I became involved in PTA and church, and Bonnie was there to add her support by watching my kids at various times during the day while I attended meetings. She was so generous with her time. Bonnie became interested in Camp Fire, a youth organization for both boys and girls, and volunteered to be a leader. Later she became very involved with Camp Aloha, the campground owned by Camp Fire. She gave tirelessly of her time for the benefit of the children in these programs and dedicated many years of service to promote this organization and its wonderful activities.

Later Bonnie became involved in the Village of Hamburg by volunteering with studies involving municipal services, including the collection of garbage and recyclable materials. She currently serves on the Village of Hamburg Traffic Safety Committee. Over the years when there were disputes while dealing with any organization or the Village government, she always looked out for the best interests of the citizens impacted by each issue. Bonnie was not one to raise her voice, but was capable of delivering a good point during a discussion in an effort to resolve the topic to reach a fair compromise.

As Bonnie’s own family grew, aging family members needed care and it was she who was the joyful volunteer to help during their final years. She was an excellent caregiver, having had the experience of working for local nursing homes and an adult care facility. Bonnie currently cares for a local senior providing almost daily assistance, friendship and comfort.

I guess that’s how I would sum up Bonnie… one who provides assistance, friendship and comfort to all who are blessed with knowing her. She has and continues to do this… giving of herself or yielding her personal rights and expectations, so that others may benefit, demonstrating a genuine desire to serve.”

Nominated by: ~ Teresa Diegelman

Congratulations, Mark!

June 2010 ~ Endurance

For June 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg Inc. recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Endurance. By our definition, endurance is the inward strength to withstand stress and do my best. One person who personifies this definition is NYS Assemblyman Mark Schroeder.

“In June of 2008, I went to speak to Assemblyman Mark Schroeder about my frustrations and the limitations I had encountered in assisting and advocating for children and families dealing with autism spectrum disorders and the co-occurring challenges that often are a part of seeking their proper care, education and treatment. As the chairperson of the NYS Autism Retention Committee, Assemblyman Schroeder listened attentively to my concerns and then actively began to put together a very competent team comprised of some of the best professionals from the WNY Region to help address the lack of coordinated care available for these individuals. The team he assembled includes: agencies, doctors, educators and parents. Working diligently together, we developed legislation designed to address some of the important changes that are necessary in order for children and families to receive competent treatment and effective education.

The character quality of endurance describes Assemblyman Schroeder and the attitude he has taken since our team started on this journey. One of the first things he told us was that he would be with us for the long haul. He said, “This is not going to happen overnight.” He also said “We may just be here for 5-10 years if that’s what it takes to get it right.” Well 2 years later, 5 bills in the Assembly and Senate later, and many, many meetings later, we are still working at it, inspired by a determined team leader who has the inward strength to withstand the considerable stress associated with encouraging legislative action for meaningful change.

Even when Mark endured a personal loss this past spring in the passing of his younger sister, Mary Ann, Mark still continued his work dealing not with just issues concerning autism and mental health, but also with many other important issues affecting the people of NYS.

Effecting systemic change requires leaders with honorable character. Mark has promised to see this project through to the end and I have no doubt he will. He has created a very cohesive team of highly knowledgeable people who also have tremendous character. In nominating Assemblyman Mark Schroeder for this recognition, I wish to honor all of the team members who will persevere through the challenges that lie ahead, so that the lives of these children and their families can be strong, thriving and successful.”

Nominated by: ~ Christine Hoff

Congratulations, Rebecca!

May 2010 ~ Discretion

For May 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg, Inc. recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Discretion. By our definition, discretion is recognizing and avoiding words, actions and attitudes that could bring undesirable consequences. One person who personifies this definition is Rebecca Cooke.

“Rebecca Cooke is the secretary at Southtown Teachers’ Center. In her role, she is most often the face and voice of the Teachers’ Center. She is the principal contact person between the Center and school administrators, teachers, school-related personnel, community organizations, PTAs and parents. Becky represents us very well. While Rebecca certainly exhibits many positive character traits, her talented, caring and distinguished use of discretion is the one that is a benefit to all who know her.

On occasion people in the community have come into the Teachers’ Center with unusual requests, sometimes with the expectation that our service is something other than a center of education and service to all who educate, but in the alternative, a service to those who need educational advice, as in assisting with proper correspondence writing. Becky handles these matters with great poise, making sure everyone leaves the Center happy and well taken care of. Becky has been known to befriend community members in this way, making friends for life. One example that comes to mind is the elderly woman who calls on occasion for assistance with writing thank you notes. Rebecca graciously assists. Rebecca has been known to become a gracious caregiver checking in on people she has helped at the Center to be sure they are safe and comfortable and periodically sending thoughtful gifts. Becky’s discretionary attitude is truly a gift to those who know her.

In the “service” industry exhibiting the trait of discretion is a requirement and yet a rare find. Always professional and always polite, Becky treats everyone with dignity and respect. She always knows what to say and what not to say. Everyone who works with her quickly learns that anything they may share with her that is personal or confidential will remain private. Becky aptly personifies “Discretion” in her words and more importantly, in her behavior.

Personable, professional and discrete, Rebecca Cooke is a tremendous asset to the Southtown Teachers’ Center and the entire Hamburg Educational Community. She sincerely exemplifies the character definition of “Discretion” in every way.”

Nominated by: Robert J. Smith, Director, Southtown Teachers’ Center

Congratulations, Patricia!

April 2010 ~ Creativity

For April 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg, Inc. recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Creativity. By our definition, creativity is approaching a need, a task, or an idea from a new perspective. One person who personifies this definition is Patricia Mehltretter.

“I think that Mrs. Mehltretter is one of the most creative people I have ever met. She inspires me to be creative too. Ever since I came to Sts. Peter and Paul School, I have had Mrs. Mehltretter as my art teacher. My classmates and I really look forward to seeing her each week.

Mrs. Mehltretter designs interesting and fun projects for us to do. She works so hard to set up all our projects, paintings, and drawings. She has taught us how to paint butterflies, fish, and reptiles, and sunflowers like Van Gogh. We have painted on canvas, made flags, used watercolors and pastels, made animal sculptures out of clay, painted on rocks, and made masks and desserts out of papier-mache.

Every year there is a fantastic art show at Sts. Peter and Paul School with work from every student in the school. Every student has wonderful pieces of art to show, all inspired by the patient, creative teaching of Mrs. Mehltretter. Mrs. Mehltretter makes us all feel special and talented. I would never have tried some kinds of art if Mrs. Mehltretter had not encouraged me and this inspires me to try other new things too.”

Nominated by: James W. Lyon, 4th Grade Student, Sts. Peter and Paul School

Congratulations Jack!

March 2010 ~ Tolerance

For March 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg, Inc. recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character quality of Tolerance. By our definition, tolerance is realizing that everyone is at varying levels of character development. One person who personifies this definition is Jack Brockenshire.

“When thinking about the character quality of tolerance, thoughts of my son, Bryan, come to mind. At thirteen Bryan is heading into the teenage years with excitement! As a child diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, tolerance is a word he does not fully understand. He just wants to be part of the crowd and a friend to all. All too often, many people that Bryan encounters tend treat him with disrespect or just try to take advantage of him.

As with every child, adults are very important in Bryan’s life. Adults will help to mold him into the man he is to become. In our world today, good role models are hard to come by, especially when it comes to character development. Our family, however, has been very lucky to meet such a wonderful person in Jack Brockenshire, or Jack Brock, the familiar name most people know him by. Jack not only treats everyone with equal respect, but also teaches others to act the same.

Jack works for the Town of Hamburg Recreation Department and began a gym program for kids with special needs. These are kids who have been diagnosed with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder, who face tremendous challenges growing up, but being able to play sports is something they all love and are eager to do. Jack and his staff teach the kids with relentless patience and love, kindness, and understanding.

Jack has been willing to learn much about Autism Spectrum Disorders by listening to parents, attending seminars and lectures on his own time, and by carefully and attentively learning from the children. His tireless energy and smile puts the kids at ease, because they know they have a genuine friend in Jack. Jack not only teaches the children about sports, but also teaches them manners and respect for others. Jack treats each child as an individual, showing them how to have tolerance for each other, tolerance for other adults, and tolerance for the world they live in. Jack makes the world a kinder, gentler place for our children. His mentorship of tolerance will surely shine brightly in the lives of the many he touches through his compassionate work.”

Nominated by: ~ Lina and Bryan Carson

Congratulations Dan!

January 2010 ~ Punctuality

For January 2010, the Character Council of Hamburg, Inc. recognizes an individual for exemplifying the character trait of Punctuality. By our definition, Punctuality is showing esteem for others by doing the right thing at the right time. The Character Council is proud to present this month’s award to Dan Meyer.

In her nomination letter, Hattie states: “”As a proud and long-time resident of Hamburg, I have noticed throughout the years of knowing Dan Meyer that his love for his own community is only second to his respect for people. “Doing the right thing at the right time for the benefit of others” is more than an action for Dan, it seems to be his way of life that stems from his big heart. I have often seen him at various events throughout the Hamburg community and he is always right there when there is a need for his talents. Dan seems to be so willing to lend a hand whenever called upon. I remember when running the “Reflections” program, sponsored by the National PTA organization, I was in need of judges for the submissions. Dan was eager to help out. He also recommended others that I could call on to be judges.

By serving on committees with Dan I have noticed he is not a man who strolls in minutes after a meeting begins. In fact, Dan often arrives a bit early in order to speak and listen to others ahead of time and then when someone is speaking during a meeting, Dan is sure to be giving his undivided attention. His focus on others at the right time surely exemplifies esteem for others.

Dan is an astounding advocate for the Town and Village of Hamburg. He serves on various committees from Frontier Central School District’s Key Communicators, to being the Chairman of the Media Committee for the Character Council of Hamburg, and many others. In addition, as the Editor of The SUN, Dan is very aware of how important punctuality is for meeting crucial deadlines for a newspaper business. Dan recognizes the importance of punctuality within the scope of his job; he embodies punctuality in his day-to-day personal life; and values punctuality while dealing respectfully within the community. Hamburg benefits greatly from Dan Meyer’s unvarying punctuality!”

Nominated by: D. Hattie Strnad