On Friday, August 24th, I traveled with my friend Giselle to Lackawanna for the gala at Lucarelli’s Banquet Center.
It featured a variety of speakers, an awards program, the Buffalo Jazz & Swing Band, and loads of food.
Lackawanna is a city just south of Buffalo.
Its population, as of the 2010 Census, is 18,141. In the past, Lackawanna was known for its steel mills. In 1903, the Lackawanna Steel Company began operations. Bethlehem Steel bought out the Lackawanna Steel Company in 1922. The steel mill grew and attracted employees from all over the world.
At its peak, Bethlehem Steel had 20,000 employees. The steel industry in the United States, however, declined and, by 1983, Bethlehem Steel closed. In 2016, a major fire destroyed what was left of the galvanizing plant.
Wind turbines have been built on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Company.
Another interesting feature of Lackawanna is a famous lighthouse, called the Buffalo Harbor South Entrance Light, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
At last night’s event, New York State Assembly member Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes was slated to be the main speaker. Unfortunately, she had a family emergency, which required her to leave town. Leah Halton Pope, director of government and community relations at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and former legislative director for Crystal Peoples-Stokes, described her as “an amazing advocate for Buffalo.”
John Ingram, president of the Glover Gardens Tenant Council, said that people in Lackawanna and Buffalo are”working together. They are human beings who care for each other.”
Ms. Pope said, “We need people like John, who just want to make the world a better place.” She talked about her love for the Buffalo area. “I love the food and the university. People here love each other and they work together.” She said that she sees that at Roswell Park. “People smile all of the time, and they have cancer!”
John Ingram was described as a man who would not take no as an answer. When the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority cut bus service to Lackawanna’s first ward, he marched to let them know that the bus service was needed. “We will have that service back,” he said.
Ms. Pope said, “Together, we change everything.”