Genesee Sun - Lighting the Region
- Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 17:08
- Written by Andrew Kunkel
Mount Morris NY- Three local men with disabilities spent their memorial day doing more than remembering soldiers. They reunited a local US Army soldier with his mother.
Andy Hint, Nick Kelly, and Chris Clark were the welcoming committee for Pvt. First Class Shawn Hughes when he arrived in Buffalo on Friday, May 25th. PFC Hughes is stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and was returning to the area to see his mother Paula Dieter before he ships out for his tour of duty in Afghanistan and Kuwait.
When Hint, Kelly, and Clark heard that PFC Hughes would not have immediate transportation from Buffalo, they asked for help from The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming’s Recreation Department.
"Especially with it being Memorial Day, we felt it was wrong to leave a soldier at the airport," said Arc Recreation's Gary Buchanan, who was able to get a van from Arc and bring the trio on their patriotic mission. "PFC Hughes is only home for so many days. We felt that he should be able to spend as much time as possible with his family."
Buchanan is one of two full-time recreation department workers from The Arc, which is a private nonprofit agency that helps members of the community with intellectual and other developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome and autism. Around 100 members are active in Arc recreation, which has activities such as baseball games, hockey, bowling, and dances.
"Because of my disability I can't serve in the military, so I find other ways to be patriotic," said Hint, a resident of Nunda. "Just drive by my house and you'll see all of the flags that I put out myself. Honoring servicemen makes me proud."
"I feel that helping out PFC Hughes is important," Clark said. "It was a good deed for a soldier when he had no one else to do it for him."
"Because of the guys from Arc Recreation, I was able to spend a little bit more time with my son," Dieter said. "As any mother of a serviceman will tell you, there is nothing more precious than that."