Southern Tier Peace Makers Fund

The Peace Makers Memorial Fund perpetuates the memory and the efforts of remarkable peace and justice activists who have lived in our community, by offering grants that enable others in turn to engage in projects and actions that further these causes. An application for funds is available here.

Those honored are:

Frieda Flint:

Frieda was a lifelong advocate for peace, social justice, and human rights. Her fiery spirit and calm demeanor touched hundreds of lives. Psychologist, organizer, poet, teacher, feminist, musician, mother, naturalist and companion, she was a staunch defender of reproductive rights, a founder of the local Hiroshima Day commemorations, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the Peace Division of the American Psychological Association, and the Binghamton El Charcón Sister City Project.

Adam Flint

Greta Lake:

Greta’s activism arose from her intense love of life. A survivor of the Nazi nightmare, she actively opposed the Vietnam War. Later she campaigned tirelessly for nuclear disarmament. In addition to her manycontributions to BCNWRC/Peace Action, Greta worked with the peace committees of the League of Women Voters and the Broome County Council of Churches.

Suzanne Geoghegan

Harry Thor

The Rev. Harry A. Thor was guided by a belief that Peace is possible only through the path of Social Justice. To that end he expressed his values and directed his energies to using his mind and body “so as to live in generous ways with all the inhabitants of the earth” and honor those gifts and strengths in others.

The Thor family

Helen Spiegel

Helen’s whole life was dedicated to supporting peace and justice causes. She would go anywhere to support people in struggle. Helen would get in the front lines, point her cane or finger at politicians or others who were blocking the people’s efforts, and direct some instructive words at them. She was a part of the fight until her death at age 93.

Dave Duncan

Randy Swift

Randy was a full-time activist, primarily with SOAR, Citizen Action,Peace Action, and Newman House. His faith-based outlook brought him to work for justice among oppressed people. He vigiled and was arrested in the cause of peace. His energy, friendliness, and irrepressible nature endeared him to many.

Jim Clune

Anne Herman

Anne was a consummate peacemaker. From local welfare rights advocacy, to worldwide advocacy for oppressed peoples she spent over forty years in organizing and activism. Anne taught alternatives to violence in prisons, demonstrated and worked for peace here in Binghamton and around the world, spent time in jail for direct action agitating for peace, and traveled near and far to stand with native peoples against their oppressors.

Ann Clune

Joe Coudriet

Joe had a decades-long opposition to war and violence. He was a member of Peace Action, Citizen Action, and Veterans for Peace. He worked for peace and justice, primarily within the Catholic Church, hoping that people of faith could affect public policy towards disarmament.  After serving on the diocesan Justice and Peace Commission in the early 1980’s, he co-founded the Justice and Peace Advisory Council. He was a commissioned Social Justice Lay Minister at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church and taught classes on social justice for many years.  His commitment to Catholic Social Teaching was complete and untiring. Joe hosted The Social Justice Hour on public access TV for many years, interviewing local activists and showing films on such topics as the School of the Americas.  He networked organizations and volunteers. He participated in many, many peace events over the years, photographing and taping them for posterity. He lobbied public officials on many issues. Joe received the Citizen Action’s Phoenix Award, and later the Bishop Costello Award for empowering others in ministry.  Joe Coudriet was crystal clear at all times that Jesus opposed all violence.

Jim Clune

Roland Austin

The best way to describe Roland’s involvement in the peace movement is that he was there.  Whenever there were local demonstrations or vigils, he was there.  When they were held out-of-town, in Washington, DC, New York City, or the Seneca Army Depot, he was there.  He was an active member of Broome County Peace Action since its start in 1984, a board member for 14, three of which he served as president.  He was a founder and lifetime supporter of the Binghamton Boravichi Sister Cities Project.  He was a conscientious objector during World War II, an act that took a lot of courage during that popular war.  He was a member of the Anti-Vietnam War Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Binghamton during that conflict and participated in Telephone Tax Resistance.  He was a kind, gentle person, who treated everyone with respect, but was resolute in his strong opposition to war.

George Haeseler

Stuart Naismith

As a child, Stuart enjoyed camping and fly fishing with his grandfather, Dr. James Naismith. At the early age of 17 he left high school to enlist in the United State Navy. He served in the South Pacific on a sea plane tender whose purpose was to pick up injured and maimed servicemen. This experience had a profound impact in the development of one of his life’s greatest passions, the peace and justice work that he cared so fervently about. Stuart organized the local Veterans for Peace chapter. He spent a great amount of time speaking, writing, working and hoping for a world where humanity ceased to fight. He took part in many demonstrations against the Vietnam and Iraqi wars. Several years ago, Stu took part in a demonstration to protest the School of the Americas’ practice of training the US and foreign military in the “art” of how to administer pain and torture to captives. In his youth he became equated with the religious Society of Friends and always considered himself a “Friend”.

From his obituary

George Homanich

George Homanich, board member and former president of Broome County Peace Action (BCPA), passed away on August 7th, 2016 of pancreatic cancer. George, along with his wife, Judy, was a generous activist in working for peace and justice. Some of their actions were directed against U.S. military goings on (e.g., the School of the Americas, Guantanamo,  drone attacks, and the treatment of Chelsea Manning), but often their actions aimed instead at developing person-to-person relation-ships with people in some way disadvantaged (e.g., with people in Palestine, with people at a black-lives-matter gathering in NYC, and with Muslims). The latter approach was clearly present in their work on a mission trip to Haiti. There a 16 year old boy addressed the visitors during a church service, to tell them how important their coming to Haiti was, not merely because they helped build a new church, and brought sports equipment and medicine, but mainly because these visitors, sitting with the Haitians and caring about them, made them happy and gave them hope. Judy views the visitors’ actions and the Haitian boy’s response as illustrating how to strive for justice and peace.

George’s quiet strength and deep faith were evident in his life, personal and professional, which was devoted to improving the lives of others and making the world a better, more just and peaceful place.

George was employed by New York State as a psychiatric social worker for over 30 years, working with Adult Protective Services and the Binghamton Psychiatric Center. In the latter part of his career, he was an Intensive Case Manager in a project shared with Catholic Charities. When George and Judy would go to street fairs in Binghamton, they often met former clients of George who would express their deep gratitude for his professional and personal help.  After George retired because of illness, he still met with some of his clients.

George was a much loved person, always willing to help others.  We members of the board of BCPA miss him at our meetings. There is no replacement for his generous and unique personality.

Larry Roberts

Ralph Valashinas

Ralph died on February 22, 2018. He was born January 1950 in Carbon dale, Pennsylvania. H was a Tool and Die Maker for Felchar Manufacturing and for H&M Machine Company. Ralph was a graduate of Marywood University in Pennsylvania where he earned a bachelor’s degree. He was a tireless advocate for peace and social justice and served as President of Broome County Peace Action. He was also supporter of the El Charcon Sister City Project.