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Decision to call off veterans event called a 'slap in the face'

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Western New York's federal delegation is fighting the Veteran Administration's decision to "indefinitely postpone" the 27th Annual Golden Age Games in Buffalo. Nearly 1,000 veterans are registered for the event set to begin May 30. Senator Charles Schumer told reporters in Buffalo Tuesday the VA is exempt from sequestration and the "rash, last-minute" decision needs to be undone.

Volunteer organizer Patrick Welch said six years of planning have gone into 'Warriors on the Waterfront.' 

"We see no justification for it. We feel very slighted in this. We feel, as Vietnam veterans and many other veterans feel, that it's another slap in the face, not only to us, but to our community," Welch said.

Welch said he is "very disappointed" in VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

"As a fellow Vietnam veteran and a person who lost a leg in Vietnam, he knows full well the meaning of recreational activities and the importance of veterans getting together on a regular basis to help in their healing process," Welch said.

Schumer calls the VA's reason for postponing the games "flimsy" because the VA is immune from the current round of spending cuts.

"There's so much work that went into this and it's not just the dollar value that's lost. It's the blood, sweat, and tears that the planners put into this over the last six years," Schumer said.

The five-day event was expected to have a $2.2 million economic impact on the region.