‘Veterans veteran’ led charge to save Canandaigua VA Medical Center

Mike Murphy - 4/24/2023

CANADAIGUA — Today, the Canandaigua Veterans Affairs Medical Center exhibits a vibrancy and growth proved by the presence of construction vehicles and workers busily finishing up one job and moving to the next.

But years ago, word got out into the Canandaigua community that the decision makers from Washington, D.C. who recommended its closing were coming to the city for hearings. 

Former Mayor Ellen Polimeni remembers how so many people lined up and down Fort Hill Avenue leading into the campus — students, city residents, and people who understood the importance of what was happening — cheering on Ralph Calabrese, an Army veteran of the Korean War, veterans advocate and Canandaigua family man who took it upon himself to lead the way in saving the VA Medical Center...

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