Tuesday, December 1, 2015

1996 One World, One Hope

1995 USAIDS 5,000 Cause and Effect: I wrote a song in 1995 titled "Hand in Hand", and it was published on page 199 of AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM STORY. That song was about working together. The bike trip led to organizing the first Buffalo and Erie County United World AIDS Day Program in 1996, and that theme was "One World, One Hope". We occupied two floors of Market Arcade on Main Street, and it was so successful, other cities followed Buffalo's lead, in following years. You are about to see why we have made significant strides in fighting HIV/AIDS, in the world, but also, right here in Buffalo. Thank yous (by name) with each picture.

Dedicated to all who fought HIV/AIDS and all who fought with us, during our struggles. We honor our brothers and sisters who didn't win their battles, and pledge to keep going until the AIDS war is only history! J.V. Petretta

Jaimie Berry Soderstrom I asked our library if they could get your book. Were not having any luck.
Jim Petretta It's still available on Amazon and the Kindle version is only 99 cents, lol. Sending you a pvt. message.

Thank you Connie for this wonderful article. My scrap book did not include the name of the newspaper. If you can help me out, that too should be part of this history. — with Connie Burns at Allen Street, Buffalo, NY.

Thank you to these folks, especially! 
— with Hon. Anthony Masiello at Market Arcade.


Thank you to all participants and supporters, including Arcade Trading Co., Jim James Mack, Evergreen Health Services, ALT Alternative Press and Minute Print. 
— with Episcopal AIDS Home Care and Geneva B. Scruggs at Market Arcade.


Thank you to all of the participants and supporters, including Custom Tee, Kresge Residence, The Buffalo Enterprise Development Corp. 
— with Names Project Buffalo, Hospice Association of Buffalo and Group Ministries AIDS Coalition at Market Arcade.


Thanks to all participants and supporters, including Patrick Letourneau, Timothy Moran, Kenesha Smith, Debra Turner, John Moscato, David Dave Granville, Thomas Errol Gleed, Peg Gagnon, Carolyn Hodan, Akmal Shareef, Karen Andruschat, Judy Barton, Joseph Lolla, Pam Heckman, Project Reach Staff, Lancaster Youth Bureau, AIDS Awareness Peer Educators, Hamburg High School, AIDS Awareness Council and Buffalo Visitors Bureau. You all rock! 
— with Michael Chase, Robert J Perelli, Hon. Sam Hoyt, Katie Miller and Kathy Moriarty, Hon. Barbra Kavanaugh, Mike Maffei and Cold Blue Steel, Danny Castro, Los Caribes, Emilie Tothero, Group "New Fiction", Glen Tate, Entertainer, Mitchell McCloud, Susan Banks and News Channel 7 and Stacey Samples, Stage Mgr. at Market Arcade.

      Emilie Tothero I remember that day! 

      Thomas Errol Gleed I remember it well, Jim Jim Petretta and I was telling Bryan Bryan Ball about those days at lunch this afternoon. He's proudly wearing s World AIDS Day pin and a fairly big red ribbon!
      Jim Petretta Well tell him from me that you and Dave Granville were two of my greatest supporters, who made this program possible. I'm so very proud of you all! These were the days when we all worked together.
     Thomas Errol Gleed We were humbled to be a part of it James! Thank you for your lifetime of work against the scourge of HIV/AIDS- you are a HERO in the community, believe me!


By Joe Lolla, and ALT Alternative Press.


Monday, November 30, 2015

1995 World AIDS Day

USAIDS 5,000 (20th Anniversary Finale)

December 1, 1995 World AIDS Day

Click on each picture to learn more.

There were two people from Children's Hospital of Buffalo that we worked with from 1994 conception of USAIDS 5,000 through World AIDS Day, 1995. They were Babette Sullivan of the PACT Program (Parents and Children Together) and John Moscato, Public Relations. I had been invited to several AIDS Agencies on World AIDS Day, 1995, because my celebrity had not yet worn off. If I showed up, the media might also. But I chose to put on a full exhibit at the Children's Hospital, in gratitude for their partnering with me, through training and miles and trials. I did however pledge to organize a Buffalo and Erie county World AIDS Day, the following year. That post will be tomorrow. — at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo.


If I recall right, this was one of 3 displays in the new atrium of The Children's Hospital of Buffalo, on December 1, 1995, World AIDS Day. The "Dream Machine" (aka bicycle), trailer and gear used was part of one display, and the other was made up of tee shirts from dozens of AIDS Organizations, and camping spots, we visited, over the summer. Carl Lebman was with me, for all but 2 weeks of the 5,000 mile journey. He was my volunteer manager, support vehicle driver, layman medic, media guy and control center. But more than that, he was, and remains my friend! — with Lebman Carl at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

Friday, October 30, 2015

PAWS Albany

Home from a fun and memorable week, making friends at The Albany Damien Center and PAWS NY Capital Region; and visiting my pal Ray Werking from WRPI's Homoradio, "the most listened to college radio show in America. I am grateful for an incredibly warm reception and all the help folks have given (and are giving) to the goal of developing a PAWS Buffalo program, where "Pets Are Wonderful Support"!

Friday, October 23, 2015

View from Buffalo City Hall

A friend took this photo from City Hall, (looking Eastward). It overlooks our own Washington Monument and the right side of our historic Liberty Building. Yet, this only scratches the surface, of what Buffalo has to offer. Buffalo's Memorial Park (North of this monument) is one of the finest tributes to our troops, in America, and the historic mansions and architecture (South) are breathtaking. West of City Hall, you will find the awesome Erie Basin Marina and light houses. Friends need to visit this beautiful city. BTW, twenty years ago, my USAIDS 5,000 bicycle trek began on the circle in front of the lamp post, which may or may not have been there, back then. Happy Friday, everyone.

Picture courtesy of David Granville

Friday, October 16, 2015

PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support)

There was a time, before viable drugs and hope, when my AIDS diagnosis left me alone--because my friends were dead, dying or long abandoned. So, I learned to share my space with a pet, for companionship and love. It was healing for me, and I survived the sickness. But, I was dirt poor, and remember not having proper medical care for my closest family member--my pet. We didn't have PAWS "Pets Are Wonderful Support", but we can have it now. I want to work with Albany, to see if it is possible to open a Buffalo contingent of their awesome organization. Having been there, I have empathy to help others in similar situations with medical needs for their fluffy friends. Feel free to use this space to publicly endorse the idea, and or me. I will post it to my blog and for references. Thanks.

 Picture courtesy of PAWS Albany


From their website:   "PAWS (Pets are Wonderful Support) provides task, financial, and informational assistance to pet owners living with HIV/AIDS to ensure that they are not separated from their animal companions when they need each other the most.

In 2014, 112 clients and 149 pets received PAWS services, 11,588 lbs of pet food, litter, and treats were distributed, 57 pets received veterinarian assistance and 13 pets received in-home and foster care assistance."

Note:  As of 10/16/2015, there are already 19 "Likes" on Facebook, and these responses:

Sue Fleming wonderful idea. pets are such a blessing. If you want some help please ask I will be happy to help u anyway I can
Tara Bukowski I love this idea. Let me know if I can help.
Kathryn Travalee Great idea might be able to help
Gene Ver Great idea! Keep me in the loop, Jim.
Gary Nason Who should I write (email) to?
          Jim Petretta I've already been in contact with them. Am setting up a visit to their operation in Albany--to volunteer and learn. They are very willing to share information as to how the program operates, etc.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Going Home ~ 9/1995

1995 USAIDS 5,000
(20th Anniversary Special)
Going Home:
I promised a couple of pics, following the bike trip.   In Indiana, I met up with Irene Crider, before heading to NY State. God bless the memory of Irene, and the work she accomplished. Also, there is a flyer from a special event for Children's Hospital PACT Program. On World AIDS Day, I will post pics from an exposition Carl Lebman and I had at Children's Hospital.

Picture #193

(Top) is on the road home, heading East through Colorado.    (Bottom) Irene Crider. (Pictures from September, 1995) 

Picture #194

Visiting my pup, Cuddles. (Picture from September, 1995) 

Picture #195
This was a great time, and we raised a lot of money and awareness from PACT. (Flyer courtesy of Solid Grounds Coffee, September 29, 1995) 
— at Solid Grounds Coffee, Buffalo, NY 

Jim Petretta And here's what I did with all my favorite tees, many from the bike trip.

Monday, August 31, 2015

8/31 ~ San Diego ~ The End?

1995 USAIDS 5,000
(20th Anniversary Special)
Post #72:
Thursday, 10:59am, August 31, 1995. T-Minus 1 Minute & Counting:  [ Excerpts from AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM STORY accompany some photos, edited to show actual names. ]

Picture #180

This is what people saw in the morning newspaper--Iron Butterfly baby!

[ I’ve been able to see America in a unique way, both at its best and worst, with its majestic size and beauty, its vast resources and terrain, and its blessed people who enrich this soil by bringing the many cultures of the world to one land we call these United States. . . ] (Picture courtesy of North County Blade-Citizen, August 31, 1995)

Picture #185

This is what was plastered around town at various locations.

[ . . . The end was literally around the bend. The AIDS Foundation of San Diego had arranged a grand rally and reception for 11:00 sharp. . . ] (Flyer courtesy of AIDS Foundation)

Picture #184

This is one of the first things I saw, turning onto the final street.

[ . . . The difficult part for me was to not arrive too early; it needed to be timed exactly right for some live TV coverage. I circled around several city blocks in a bicycle version of pacing until receiving the thumbs up from Carl Lebman. Appropriately clad in stars and stripes, I turned the final corner of approach, not knowing for sure what to expect. It was time for a new chant: “This last mile is for you and me, God. We did this together— we beat the odds and achieved mountains. . .” ] (Picture from August 31, 1995)

Picture #181

This is the guy they saw.

[ . . . Followed by the escort vehicle, one daughter and granddaughter, and, of course, Carl Lebman, who unselfishly gave this moment to me, this would be something I hoped to live long enough to tell my grandchildren, (and now great-grandchildren). Chills ran up my spine as I heard the crowd begin to rumble, and then roar in thunderous applause and cheers. I could see the red ribbon across the road, tied with huge AIDS ribbons on both sides—the official end. Camera men scrambled down the street, wanting to photograph this piece of history, this oddity, this feat that no person with AIDS had ever accomplished. . . ] (Picture from August 31, 1995)

Picture #192

It was a lot to take in all at once, and a pretty impressive showing by AIDS Foundation, and the general community.

[ . . . Flags, banners, cheers, and tears, they were all present. . . . ] (Picture from August 31, 1995)

Picture #186

One by one, they took turns issuing proclamations.

[ . . . There would be representatives from Being Alive, the AIDS Foundation of San Diego, and the city and county of San Diego, well-wishers, and a host of TV, radio, and newspaper reporters to document this moment and to welcome me with proclamations, gifts, flowers, and love. . . ] (Picture from August 31, 1995)

Picture #187

This was presented from the County.

[ . . . This moment was theirs as much as mine, yet they may never know the feeling they etched on this man’s heart. . . ] (Courtesy of San Diego Fourth District)

Picture #190

This was presented by the City Council of San Diego.

[ . . . Pumping my fist into the air, I was shouting, “We did it” and, “I love you” and, “Thank you friends! . .” ] (Courtesy of San Diego City Council)

Picture #191

This was presented from both the AIDS Foundation and Being Alive, San Diego. (I have not been able to verify that these agencies still operate.)

[ . . . Yes, most of all, thank you to my friends who cared-many friends, hundreds of friends; some who had traveled long distances to see, greet, meet, and hear from me, Jim Petretta, the Viper, one man who dared to live out his impossible dream.]

Note: (From Pride Ride News) During my tour of AIDS Foundation, I learned just how much can be done for a city on so little a budget. To keep themselves focused, they dedicated one hallway to both honor those loved ones who have passed, and to serve as a reminder of the mission present, everyday. The hallway seemed endless--with tributes to more lives than can be counted--all lost to AIDS--and all from San Diego. . . I couldn't have selected a better ending point for my ride. Buffalo, here I come!

(Proclamation courtesy of AIDS Foundation and Being Alive)