BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - One father had special reason to give back to the community this Thanksgiving.
It takes a lot of volunteers to serve nearly 500 pounds of turkey and 200 pounds of mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables and desserts. One volunteer at the Salvation Army on Thursday served in memory of his son, who was once given life-saving support by the organization.
John Long, who once served as Executive Assistant to the first three Erie County Executives and was longtime Republican Chairman of the Republican Party in Tonawanda, is remembering what the Salvation Army did for his son Larry, a one-time bank branch manager who developed a very serious problem with alcoholism.
"Of all the places that we tried to get help, the Salvation Army was the only place that Larry had an opportunity to respond to counseling and the kind of treatment that they offer," Long said.
His son was on the road to recovery when he developed throat cancer, a battle he could not win. His father wants to help everyone he can, in his son's memory.
Long said, "Our main need now is to help these unfortunate people who are unemployed. They need homes. They need help with various medical issues."
Mayor Byron Brown was also volunteering at the Salvation Army, along with his wife Michelle, and son Byron. He knows the level of need in Buffalo is high, but he says the City of Good Neighbors is no longer the third poorest city in the nation.
"We have gotten better in some respects. Unfortunately, other communities have gotten poorer. The combination of those two things puts us at around eight right now," Mayor Brown said.
But the eighth poorest city in the nation is proud of its rich tradition in helping the less fortunate.
Long also drops off a 20-pound turkey every year at the Salvation Army's residential treatment center in Kenmore, where his son once stayed. He is a World War II veteran who still has a lot to give.
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