By Mary Fox

Bring along your lawn chair to the Memorial Garden at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Saturday, July 19 at 7 p.m. for an outdoor summer concert to honor the life of USMC Cpl. Alan Brown.

The Jeff Horth Project Rock Band from Little Valley will be there to inspire you with its unique style, bringing out the Christian message in music and song. There is no admission charge, but at the request of Cpl. Brown’s family, a donation to WNY Heroes is being asked.

Hot dogs, popcorn and beverages will be available for a donation. In case of inclement weather, the concert will be held in the Fellowship Hall.

Cpl. Brown, of Jefferson St., Ellicottville, was 23 when he passed away on May 10, 2014.  Alan grew up in Ellicottville and attended Ellicottville Central School. His many friends and family attended his
gathering and memorial services on May 15-16, 2014.

Cpl. Brown served honorably overseas for two tours of the Afghanistan War.  Among his many decorations are the Navy and Marine Corps Commendations Medal and the Marine Corps Good Conduct medal.

When Alan’s mother, Jeanne Brown, was asked if St. Paul’s could do a fundraiser for WNY Heroes in Alan’s memory,  she said, “I am pleased and humbled that St. Paul’s wants to do this for Alan.”

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church is known as being a caring church that gives willingly and freely to others in need through its blessing box and fundraisers. It supports many missions, including its ongoing mission of supporting service men and women in war zones with care packages.

Alan was an avid mountain biker and his family is honoring his love of biking by raffling off his $4000 mountain bike, with funds raised to be donated to the Ellicottville/Great Valley Trail. The bike will be on display at Bike N Bean, and tickets will be sold at the concert and throughout the summer.

Providing services for our returning military is more and more becoming a priority in the private sector. WNY Heroes is funded strictly from donations from individuals, corporations and foundations. No funding for WNY Heroes is provided by the VA or other military organizations.

The mission of WNY Heroes is to make services available to our military men and women and their families as they adjust to life “back home”.  The extent of these needs and services varies from vet to vet.

It is the vision of the WNY Heroes to be the source of centralized resources in the community, which will provide direct support or serve as a bridge organization for physical and mental health, financial, legal and workforce development opportunities.

Currently, partnering organizations are WNY Heroes, Mental Health Association of Erie County, Western New York Veterans Homeless Housing Coalition, Horizon Health Services, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.

An advisory board, comprised of the CEOs of participating organizations, community business leaders and local philanthropic foundations, is currently under development to oversee this initiative.

Co-founder of WNY Heroes, Chris Kreiger, will be in attendance at the concert to talk about the organization.

This is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the life of Alan and enjoy music, food and fellowship.  Honor Cpl. Brown’s service and that of all our men and women in the military, and see that they may have services available to them when they come home.

Support our troops by attending the concert on Saturday, July 19 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ellicottville.