On behalf of the people of the Diocese of Buffalo, it is with joy and gratitude that Bishop Richard J. Malone offers his congratulations to staff sergeant and WBEN radio host David Bellavia for being the first ever living Iraqi war veteran to receive the Medal of Honor. "We are eternally grateful for David's service. The greatest honor any person in combat can ever receive is the Medal of Honor, so, way to go David! You are a hero to us who has given so very selflessly to our country." The bishop continued by adding, "It's important we honor our veterans who have done such extraordinary acts of valor and fight for peace and freedom throughout our world."
The Western New York native is set to make history and will become one of seven Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal of Honor recipients. Bellavia earned a Silver Star during the Second Battle of Fallujah, earned a Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.