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One of the most remarkable storytellers in Rochester is 93-year-old Pete DuPre. He was an army medic during World War II, and for 80 years, he's played the harmonica. Soon he'll play his harmonica at the State of the County address, and he's taken his talents to Nashville's recording studios.

Pete tells us his stories, which include plenty of laughs, but also the pain of seeing what war can do to man.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Veterans Outreach Center in Rochester has named an interim executive director.

Retired Monroe County Court Judge Patricia Marks will fill that role, after Todd Baxter steps down. Baxter announced recently he’s leaving April 14 after three years in the job to look at some future possibilities.

Marks previously served in 2012 and 2014 as an interim executive director, and has been on the board of the VOC since 2011. 

The board has formed a search committee to find a permanent replacement

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Hundreds of local veterans got a chance to get referrals to much-needed services on Wednesday.

The event is sponsored by the Veterans Outreach Center once a year, and it’s what Executive Director Todd Baxter says really provides a one-stop shop for local veterans who may be in need of a variety of services, everything from counseling, to housing, employment, health care and others.

The event held in the Harro East ballroom attracted a variety of men and women who served their country in different wars, including Vietnam.

Jay Zimmerman got his first BB gun when he was 7, and his first shotgun when he was 10.

"Growing up in Appalachia, you look forward to getting your first firearm," he said, "probably more so than your first car."

His grandfather taught him to hunt squirrels and quail. Zimmerman, who lives in Elizabethton, Tenn., said pretty much everyone he knows has a gun. It's just part of the culture.

"When I went into the military, that culture was reinforced," he said. "Your weapon is almost another appendage. It's part of who you are."

The Vietnam War claimed 58,000 American lives, and a small community in Orleans County had what officials there believe was one of the highest death tolls for a community its size.

Eight residents of the Village of Holley lost their lives while serving in Vietnam between July, 1965 and April, 1971.

The casualty rate in the village of 1,800 residents rivaled even the loss experienced by many Northern states in the Civil War.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs have announced that they have a location for a new outpatient clinic, something that has been in the works for a number of years now.

The Canandaigua VA Medical Center says the clinic will be located in the Henrietta area, near the intersection of I-390 and Calkins Road on 16 acres of land.

Officials say the new facility will include expanded primary and specialty care.

freeimages.com/Tessa Hatlelid

As Americans pay tribute to the service members who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attack 75 years ago today, a local navy veteran still has vivid memories of the attack that plunged the U.S. into World War II.

Stan Hwalek of Greece was a navy coxswain aboard the U.S.S. Nevada. On December 7, 1941, the battleship was based in Pearl Harbor.

Hwalek noticed smoke on the horizon that morning, and assumed it was from a military exercise. Then, he saw a Japanese bomber fly overhead.

STOKOE FARMS

With the help of volunteers and staff at Stokoe Farms in Scottsville Friday morning, about 250 live Christmas trees were shipped to United States Army posts in the south to help active-duty service members and their families celebrate the holidays.

The Christmas tree initiative at Stokoe began 12 years ago, as part of the national Trees for Troops program, to show support and appreciation for military service.

An Army review concludes that commanders did nothing wrong when they kicked out more than 22,000 soldiers for misconduct after they came back from Iraq or Afghanistan – even though all of those troops had been diagnosed with mental health problems or brain injuries.

The Army's report, ordered by Secretary Eric Fanning, seeks to reassure members of Congress that it's treating wounded soldiers fairly. But senators and military specialists say the report troubles them.

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