Release Date: 
Fri, 04/17/2015

For immediate release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI,  585-258-0253 (office) | 585-259-5884 (cell)


(Rochester, NY) April 17, 2015 – WXXI and the Little Theatre today announced the launch of Veterans Connections, an initiative to help link veterans in our region with needed community support and services.  Through special TV, radio and online programming, documentary films, group discussions, news features, and a comprehensive web site (WXXI.org/veterans), Veterans Connections will create a community platform to raise awareness and connect veterans with valuable resources.

According to the Veterans Service Agency, the greater Rochester area is home to more than 70,000 men and women who have served their country. Unfortunately, not all are aware of the benefits they have earned and the services available to them.  

“WXXI and the Little Theatre will use our resources to help connect our veterans, especially returning veterans and their families, with critical services and agencies throughout the region,” said Norm Silverstein, President of WXXI and The Little. “We will also honor our service men and women by sharing their stories through special programs, news reports and films, to never lose sight of the sacrifices these military families have made for our country.”

The Veterans Connections initiative kicks-off with a free screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Last Days in Vietnam on Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. at the Little Theatre (240 East Avenue). The film chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by WXXI’s Veterans Affairs Task Force Chair Mark Leary, with panelists Vietnam Veteran Gary Beikirch and VA Counselor Laszlo Felhazy, MA. The documentary will also air on WXXI-TV on Tuesday, April 28 at 9 p.m.  Last Days in Vietnam will anchor a special week of programming related to the Vietnam War on WXXI-TV. 

Earlier this year, WXXI and The Little convened a “Veterans Affairs Task Force” made up of members of its Board of Trustees and other community leaders.  Its mission was to identify the most pressing needs and issues facing veterans and their families and to recommend ways that WXXI and The Little can utilize programming and outreach efforts to help address those needs. The Task Force is led by Mark Leary, who served 22 years in the U.S. Army, and is currently Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer of Xerox. Leary is also a member of WXXI and Little Theatre Film Society Board of Trustees.

  Visit WXXI.org/veterans for a complete list of programs from PBS, NPR and WXXI, plus news stories, videos, resources and more.


WXXI is the essential, life-long educational media resource for the Greater Rochester area. WXXI puts the community first with programming that stimulates and expands thought, inspires the spirit, opens cultural horizons and promotes understanding of diverse community issues. WXXI also has a long-term affiliation with Little Theatre, which helps enhance the cultural life of the community and strengthens two of Rochester's most vital arts institutions. Log on to wxxi.org for more information about our services and program.