Nominee Finalists

Larry Milton

First Responder: Deputy sheriff

Larry is a deputy sheriff at the holding center in Buffalo,NY. He works very hard with some very difficult prisoners. Mostly prisoners with mental illness or drug addiction. He is very calm, fair and caring to them. He has dealt with the worst of the worst fairly. He treats everyone with respect. The facility’s forensic counselors love him. His superiors breathe a sigh of relief when he’s there. I couldn’t be prouder!

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Ruddy Rodriguez Barone

First Responder: Paramedic for The Town of Tonawanda Police Dept.

I am nominating Ruddy because he is the most giving person I know. I have known Ruddy for over 22 years. He gives everything to support his children and his friends. Ruddy is a true gift. For a long time Ruddy has been without a vehicle and walks or takes an Uber to get to work or run his errands. Ruddy has the biggest heart, and most amazing infectious smile. His patients, co-workers and the residents of The Town of Tonawanda are so lucky to know him. I know he will not be happy knowing I sent this, but there is nobody more deserving of this great opportunity.

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Joshua Larsen

Military: US Marine Corp Veteran and Current Volunteer Firefighter

I am nominating Joshua Larsen (He served for 8 years as a US Marine) the Marine Corp instilled something in him and he is the man he is today because of being a Marine! He chose to be a volunteer firefighter, he is also a Journeyman Wireman electrician, and also owns a business called "Primitive Patriot Outdoors" the future goal of his business is through sales/events to raise money and bring disabled veterans on their accommodated dream hunting/fishing trips (for free) ! He is always about helping others and never about himself. One thing is HAS had issues with through this journey is his truck, it always acts as a set back for him. Winning a reliable vehicle would help not only him- but the people around him that he helps every day. Being a volunteer means he uses his own vehicle to arrive at the scene of accidents, fires, etc. He is truly deserving of this and would never ask for a hand out in his life time. But I truly know this would help him more than he would like to admit.

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Paige Sultemeier

First Responder: EMT

I am nominating Paige because of her hard work ethic and dedication to her job. She loves her job because she gets to help people in need and save lives. She excels in responding to emergencies and knows how to take charge in all situations. She is a strong independent women that always lends a helping hand.

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Daniel Hargrave

Military: USMC

I am nominating my husband Sgt. Daniel Hargrave. The reason for this nomination is his continued selflessness even with his health issues. In August of 2018 he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Throughout his treatments he was still the rock and backbone of our family. Fast forward to the summer of 2020 and we were told he was now stage 4. Even with this heart wrenching diagnosis, his fight has been unwavering. He’s continued to push forward through chemo, radiation and surgeries. When he was diagnosed, we had to buy a vehicle quickly to ensure he made it to all treatments. Needless to say after 9 months, we realized it wasn’t a good purchase and isn’t dependable. We still have almost 2 years of payments on it, and in order to get him to Buffalo VAMC for some appts, we borrow a family members car to make the trips. A new vehicle would help us tremendously in making sure we have a dependable vehicle for any future medical appointments. Thank you for the opportunity to nominate.

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Michael Kozlowski

Military: Army

Michael joined the Army at the age of 18. He served two tours in Afghanistan with his wife and very young daughter left behind in Fort Polk. On his second tour, Michael sustained injuries due to an insurgents missel striking the base, right outside of his barracks. Due to his injuries, Michael's career as a firefighter with the Army was ended. He left the Army with an honorary discharge and became a volunteer fire fighter/EMT in his home town in Sloan. Unfortunately his marriage ended in divorce but Michael kept on and found the love of his life at his work place. He is now the proud husband of Mykayla and has an additional son and daughter, has moved to the City of Tonawanda where he is a Volunteer Fire fighter/EMT, is a volunteer with the Wounded Veterans and participates in the Memorial Rides for Veterans with another Veterans group. Although he is only thirty years old, he has experienced so much at this young age, suffers from PTSD and works through so much. He continues to serve.

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Philip Smith

Military: Army-E4-Veteran

There are several reasons why I want to nominate my husband. Not only is he an amazing husband (13 years) but he is also an amazing and dedicated father of 3 equally amazing children. Phil and I were married and faced many challenges early on. He has always been my rock. He has served both in Iraq (OIF) and as well as in Afghanistan (OEF). Since his honorable discharge from the Army he has faced PTSD and several obstacles along the way, but never gave up. He worked his way till he found his dream job working in Health Care as a medical assistant. When Covid hit he didn't stop or quit his job in Urgent Care. He kept working. Even when he caught covid himself. If my husband was chosen to win this, I believe in my heart that this would be an amazing way for him to see that we all see HIM. We all see the hard work and effort that he puts in every day. This would mean the world.

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Karin Turello

First Responder: Police

The day my mom told me she wanted to become a police officer, I was 8 years old. I had always been a mama’s girl, so I was terrified and immediately started crying. She pulled me to her chest and whispered “I believe the world can become a better place, and I want to be a part of that.” And from that day forward she fulfilled her promise. When my mom heard about a little sick 8 year old boy named Joshua in Pittsburgh who wanted to become a police officer, she decorated a treasure chest and filled it with police patches that she got from all of the local police departments in Buffalo. She then strapped on her uniform and drove nearly 218.9 miles to deliver it to him in the hospital. When a little girl’s mother was killed by her father, my mom started a fundraiser where other officers could donate gifts and money to her and the family that was taking her in. These are only some of the things my mom has done in her years as a cop. She is kind and brave, and I want it to be recognized.

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Jon Lengel

First Responder: Buffalo NY Firefighter

On December 30 2020 BFD was dispatched to a working structure fire at 158 Good Ave. Jon, working on Truck 10 entered the structure to the 2nd floor conducting a primary search. With conditions deteriorating, Jon found a victim and began to remove him from a life threatening atmosphere. The victim became combative with altered mental status due to smoke inhalation. Jon dragged the man down the stairs and outside saving this man's life. After the rescue, Jon re-entered the building looking for other victims. Using his search and rescue training under high heat and limited visibility he continues to serve the Buffalo community. Jon has received the Kaleida Health Award for Bravery Silver Medal and the Buffalo 100 Club Hero Award for this rescue Please consider Jonathan for your car give away Award. He is married to Lauren with 2 children. Finn and Adeline with a 3rd child due in November.

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Samuel Sobrino

Military: Navy

I am nominating Navy Hospital Corpsman Chief Samuel Sobrino who has served in the Navy for the past 22 years. Chief Sobrino joined the Navy in July 2000 and was first stationed at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. we’re on September 11th 2001 he was a first responder to the attack on the Pentagon. Over his 22 years of active service, he deployed four times, his last deployment was in 2017-2018, supporting combat operations in and out of Helmand Province Afghanistan. He is currently a Navy Officer recruiter stationed here in Buffalo, NY and has started building roots here living in Grand Island with me and our three kids.

Jared Sterner

First Responder: Hamburg Village fireman Volunteer former Chief

I'd like to nominate Jared Sterner for this honor. He has been in community service his entire life. Jared worked the Hamburg Summer Youth program and began his lifelong journey as a first responder at age 12 in the Junior Firefighter program. Jared continued in that program through age 18 and moved on to the Village of Hamburg Fire Department while working at Rural Metro and perusing a nursing career. Jared achieved the position of Chief of that department and is currently working at the ECMC in the Emergency Department. Jareds commitment to community and those in need was obvious when our country was stunned by the events of 911 Jared volunteered to go to NYC to assist with connecting people with survivors and obtaining DNA samples for those that didn't make it. Jared and his wife have 2 sons, his oldest, Jacob joined the Junior firefighter program as soon as he was old enough following in his fathers footsteps. We appreciate Jareds Commitment to our community.

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Katie Rott

First Responder: EMT/PARAMEDIC

Katie is an amazing individual. She is a single mom who is a survivor of domestic abuse. She raises her two sons on her own and works as a vet tech helping animals and as a Fire/Paramedic to help people everyday. She pours her heart into everything she does. She also volunteers with local and National rescues and frequently has 2-4 foster dogs in her home on top of her 4 rescue dogs. Katie has had crippling pain and diagnoses that would still most people from working but it just makes her more committed to doing everything she can for her community while she can. She defines hero.

Kristin Kavanaugh

Military: Air force

Kristin deserves this more than anyone I’ve met. She has come from little and works herself to death sometimes to support herself and her two boys on her own. She is a single mom, was full time with the airforce, working a full time job and going to nursing school full time and might i mention she had baby immediately after her first nursing school semester . She was having contractions during her final exams even and they were not even sure she would be able to sit for the exam. She always perseveres and comes out of too due to her work ethic determination and love for her boys and wanting to give them an amazing life. She continues her selfless acts by working 14 hour days at a local hospital, caring for others, again always forgetting about herself. She deserves a break, she deserves good, she is an amazing mother and all around human being.

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Mary Elizabeth Eustace

First Responder: EMT- Nurse

My niece, Mary, was trained in EMT at Hamburg High School, and became one of the few woman servicing as an EMT in the Hamburg Fire Department. This gave her inspiration to apply and was accepted to ECC, and then into the A.A.S. Nursing program. She went on to Daemen College where she obtained her B.S. in Nursing, and then her N.P. degree. She is very dedicated and wants to save every life that she can. Besides serving on the Hamburg ambulance, and taking care of every type of medical emergency from minor to major. Mary works at Roswell Park as an N.P. It is very difficult work, and wears on her as she has to tell patients and families that they are in there final days, discussing Health Proxy procedures, and comforting dying patients in their final days. Some of the patient deaths, weigh heavily on her. Mary is in need of a new vehicle (an SUV) would be perfect. Her old Chevy Impala, has over 100,000 miles and is from her college days. She needs a reliable vehicle to respond.

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Brandon McCall

Military: Sgt. in the marine corp

Brandon is literally the backbone of our family. He’s kind, considerate, compassionate, and he bends over backwards for EVERYONE in our family. I was in a terrible car accident last year and totaled my truck. Brandon has been helping me financially, taking me to doctors appointments and watching my children while I am in treatment, all in his own personal vehicle. He never asks for or accepts gas money or any payment. He does all this all while being the sole provider for his family and working 70+ hours a week. While he was in the military, our mother fell on hard times and without giving it a second thought he took her and our little brother in and cared for her until she was well, and able to find a new job. He’s ALWAYS there for us no matter what. I just hope that he one day knows how much we love and appreciate him.

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Marie Lourdes Bringhurst

Military: Army

Marie is was born in Haiti and came to America at the age of 19 to study nursing. Now a U.S. citizen, she has been practicing nursing for over 20 years. She joined the Untied States Army 14 years ago and has been deployed five times to Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Germany. She was awarded the Army Achievement Medal five times including a 2020 award with “C” device for recognition of meritorious service under combat conditions in Afghanistan. She will be leaving for a 6th deployment this Winter. She is a single mother of three young men, all of whom have served or are currently serving in the United States Military following in her footsteps. Marie has devoted her entire adult life to serving the sick and defending our Nation. She is an inspiration to me and I will be incredibly proud to call her my wife before the end of the Summer. Thank you for your consideration in honoring Major Marie Lourdes Bringhurst with you Vehicles for Vets program.

Aaron Allen jr.

Military: Airforce

My father served in the Korean War in 1955 ish. While serving our country my father was on the airforce base waiting for the plane to arrive in a cold fidget weather. He didn't have no warning that's when a airplane fell on the base dam near on top of my father. He was burned while putting the fire out to rescue the pilot he survived. He is 84 yrs old and he never received recognition for his bravery.

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Robert Cornelius

First Responder: Fire fighter

Not only did I nominate my Dad as a veteran, I'd like to nominate my brother as well. He is also a volunteer firefighter at Frontier Fire Hall, in Wheatfield. All of the men in my family including my Dad have been members as far back as my Dad's grandfather. My brother has served since 17, he is now 46 - he has been on so many calls, but the most heart-wrenching would be the Sawyer Gardens fire at the elderly apartment complex on Sawyers Drive. My brother rose the same truck as out cousin Ronnie Kramer, who passed away that day. The work of volunteers is sometimes overlooked. Frontier still keeps Ronnie's locker with number 99. My brother has been on many calls before and after, one of which he saved a trailer from burning down on Christmas Eve- he forgot his gloves in his rush to put the fire out. It didn't stop him! Luckily he didn't burn his hands. Both my Dad (James Cornelius) and my brother are amazing men! He is the one standing in the picture.

Terry Polk

First Responder: Buffalo Police

Terry served as a Marine in the 2d battalion 2d Marine and has been a Buffalo Police Officer for over 20 years. Terry has been my partner on the streets for 5 years and there is nobody else I would rather have to have my back. This man is one of the hardest workers there are and you will never hear him complain.As a young officer he has taught me more than I could ever explain or express to him how much I appreciate him as a partner and friend. He always puts peoples needs and wants in front of his own and is the main source of income for his family. He works a second front for security at Dash’s to make sure his family has everything they need and want. If you talk to anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him whether on duty or off duty they all have the same reply “great man, he’s the best, he’s always professional etc” I know in the near future I will lose him as a partner because of retirement and I honestly think there is nobody more deserving to win a car than Terry.

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Tara Wichtowski

Military: Air force

Tara joined the national guard at 17, I remember because I signed the papers since she was under 18. The day of 9/11 she received the call 1 hr after it happened and I knew she was being activated and I was right. That night her unit headed to NYC and she was there through mid October. She was a first responder where she assisted police, fire department, other service branches in the search and recovery efforts. Upon her return home she was different, she was no longer my little girl her experience caused her to grow up fast. Then a few years later she was activated to deploy overseas to Afghanistan where she spent her 21st and 22nd birthday away from her family and friends. To top all of these things she is a single mom, she transferred to the Air Force in 2008 and has been active duty since 2010 and she never stops caring for everyone around her regardless of who, what or where they’ve been. She has a heart of gold and would give her last penny to someone if they needed it.

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