What a trip: Providers help veterans fly

Friday, December 20, 2013

WHEATFIELD, N.Y. – When New York State Sen. George Maziarz first contacted Robert Minicucci about helping with a WNY Heroes trip sending WWII vets to Washington, D.C., the provider thought of his dad, and jumped at the chance.

PFC Nicholas Minicucci, a first generation Italian-American, served with the 66th Black Panther Infantry Division in the European Theater of WWII, finishing his career as an acting sergeant. 

Health System Services (HSS) in October donated wheelchairs, transport chairs and canes to WNY Heroes, a veteran’s assistance center, to help WWII veterans visit their memorial. It’s the third year the provider has participated.

 “This enabled them to not get tired walking, to get around much easier and really see D.C.,” said Minicucci, president. “Some of them have never been to D.C. and they get to see all the memorials.”

The WNY Heroes Flight celebrates veterans in send-off ceremonies when they depart, and airport staff announces their arrival at the airport in Washington, D.C. 

Honor Flight Historic Triangle Virginia also took a group of veterans to the nation’s capital in October. Clay Home Medical donated 10 wheelchairs for the trip to help veterans navigate the city. 

“We are proud to support Honor Flight and our veterans in this special event,” said Sam Clay, president of Clay Home Medical. “It is our hope that we can continue to honor veterans in this manner in the future.”

For Minicucci, the WNY Heroes cause is personal because of his father’s service, but HHS believes in being a good corporate citizen and giving back. 

“I would encourage all my HME brethren across the country, if there is an Honor Flight in their area, to get involved,” Minicucci said. “There’s no reason not to do it.”