CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Memorial Day, state and town representatives were joined by veterans, in remembrance of fallen Western New Yorkers, to break ground at the new Veterans Park at Nob Hill.

The park is set to feature a 36″x76″ memorial marker to pay tribute to members of the Armed Forces, stone benches, a flag pole, a silver star engraving and a memorial garden, which will be named after Cheektowaga native and fallen Army paratrooper Neil Bateman, who was killed in combat in the Vietnam War.

Bateman’s brother, Glenn Bateman, was at the groundbreaking event, as were Francis Donovan of American Legion Post #1626 and Commander Jerry Kowalski. Assemblymember Monica Wallace, State Senator Tim Kennedy and Cheektowaga Councilmembers Brian Nowak and Brian Pilarski also helped break ground.

“It’s often said that we can never fully repay the enormous debt that we owe to our fallen warriors, but by creating a new veterans and memorial park in Cheektowaga, we will do our best to honor their sacrifice,” Assemblymember Wallace said. “And as always, I offer my deepest and eternal gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation”

The park is expected to be 90% complete by the end of the summer. The new additions were made possible by recently secured state funds secured by Wallace.

“The Veterans Park at Nob Hill will be a worthy tribute to those who have fought for our country, especially those like PFC Neil Batemen, who gave their lives,” Senator Kennedy said.

Councilmember Pilarski also spoke to the sacrifice made by those who gave their lives defending the U.S.

“The men and women who have given their lives in service to this nation are indisputably heroes. When their country called, they answered. Some volunteered and some were volun-told, but no matter how they found their way into the ranks of the military, each took it upon him or herself to serve faithfully and to their fullest. Today, as we recognize their service and sacrifice, we must continue to ensure these individuals are never forgotten, and that their actions stay alive in our memories and in our hearts.”

Town of Cheektowaga Councilmember Brian Pilarski.

Adam Duke is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of his work here.