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Grand Island

Despite being sorely outnumbered and exposed to extreme winter temperatures, Marine Corporal Richard J. Blasinski heroically fought off advancing forces during the Korean War, saving many American lives in the process.

63 years later, his bravery has been acknowledged, as family members accepted the Silver Star and other high military honors on his behalf.

Congressman Brian Higgins presented Silver Star, which is the third-highest military decoration for valor, to his daughter, Carol Blasinski-Rhonemus, at the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249 Wednesday.

“Corporal Blasinski demonstrated selfless leadership and bravery,” Higgins said. “So many veterans never seek recognition but it is important for us, as a nation, to never forget their sacrifices."

Also this week:

• The Grand Island Historical Society will hold its holiday open house today from 1 to 4 p.m. at River Lea in Beaver Island State Park, 2136 West Oakfield Road. There will be refreshments, harpist entertainment and beautiful holiday decorations. Admission is free. Call 773-3271.

• Parent-teacher conferences will be held Monday from at Veronica E. Connor Middle and Grand Island High Schools at noon to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Teachers will be in their rooms, the room numbers for which will be posted. No appointments are necessary.

• The Clean Air Coalition will give a training course Wednesday at 7 p.m. in room 113 of Veronica E. Connor Middle School, 1100 Ransom Road. The course will teach residents how to use the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory database to find out about local polluters and the potential health problems that could be caused by chemical companies in the community. E-mail Rebecca@CACWNY.org or call 852-3813.

• The Grand Island High School Student Council and Byblos Niagara Resort & Spa will kick off the Gala of Trees Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 100 Whitehaven Road. Decorate cookies, watch holiday movies and visit with Santa.

• Trinity United Methodist Church will bring it to life in the spirit of Christmas with “One Starry Night” Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the church, 2100 Whitehaven Road. Ancient Bethlehem will be recreated, complete with a live nativity and authentic food. To reserve a tour, visit www.gitumc.org or call 773-3322.