Posts Tagged ‘WWNY’

WWNYTV-7 News Sportscaster Honored by the SUNY Canton College Council

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Melvin J. Busler, Jr., the longtime sports personality of WWNY-TV 7 News, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the SUNY Canton College Council’s Distinguished Citizen award.

“Mel has become the face and voice of televised sports in the North Country,” said College Council Chair Ronald M. O’Neill. “He’s generous with his time, and he takes great pride in the North Country.”

Mel Busler

Busler was nominated for the award after volunteering extensively with area charitable organizations, including Meals on Wheels, the Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County and the Disabled Persons Action Organization (DPAO), among numerous others. He will receive his award at the annual Faculty and Community Awards Dinner held Thursday, May 11, at SUNY Canton.

“Every disabled person who has met Mel comes away with the feeling that they have just met a long-lost friend,” said DPAO Respite Coordinator Terri A. Fulmer. “One individual told me ‘his smile always seems to make things right’.”

A Watertown native, Busler graduated from Immaculate Heart Central in 1977 and attended Jefferson Community College. He began his broadcast career with WATN radio in 1978 and joined WWNY-TV four years later. He became the full-time sportscaster on the evening news in 1984.

“Mel continues to use his celebrity [standing] to help, support and lead many different organizations here in the North Country,” said American Cancer Society Community Executive Director Don Boshart.

WWNY-TV News Director Scott D. Atkinson said Busler’s community connection is one of the reasons the local newscast is so popular.

“Mel delivers for Meals on Wheels, hosts Relay For Life events and serves as master of ceremonies for countless charity events,” Atkinson pointed out. “People can tell when someone’s the real deal, and they know they’ve got that in Mel – and that’s before you talk about all the local athletes he reports on in sports. We’re lucky to have him.”

He has won awards from the New York State Broadcasters Association, Associated Press and the Syracuse Press Club for his area sports coverage. He’s been inducted into the Red and Black Football Hall of Fame, the American Football Association Hall of Fame and the Jefferson Community College Hall of Fame. He’s also received the Immaculate Heart Central School Gala Award for Community Service and the Macsherry United Way Community Spirit Award.


About the Distinguished Citizen Award

The SUNY Canton College Council bestows this citation in recognition of exceptional, unusual and distinguished service to the college, to the community, to the State, or to the nation. It is awarded annually at the sole discretion and judgment of the College Council.


About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.

SUNY Canton to Honor Rich with Distinguished Citizen Award

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Joseph RichSUNY Canton will be honoring a long-time advocate for developmentally disabled people in Northern New York with the College’s Distinguished Citizen Award at its upcoming 102nd Commencement Ceremony.

Joseph Rich, the founder of the Disabled Persons Action Organization (DPAO), will be recognized along with the 2010 graduating class at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, in an outdoor ceremony adjacent to the Richard W. Miller Campus Center.

“We give this award to recognize those who have made the community a better place for everyone,” said SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy. “Joe Rich has positively influenced the North Country in many ways. I hope our graduates look at what he has done as a model for future success.”

While working at WWNY TV – 7 News in 1974, Rich received a phone call asking for the station’s help; a local boy had been accidentally shot during a hunting accident. Left paralyzed and without the ability to breathe on his own, the boy’s future was to remain in the hospital, but his family wanted to care for him.

With permission from the station, Rich orchestrated fundraisers for the family and raised enough money to put an addition on their home and install life support equipment. Rich continued his work by creating the DPAO, where he worked to raise money for the agency and brought in funding for the disabled in the community. “We wanted to help ease the stress on families in their own homes,” he said.

For over 30 years, Rich developed the DPAO from a one-man organization to a 140 staff member agency that serves more than 500 individuals. “The DPAO is a vital institution in Watertown,” said City of Watertown Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham. “He became a cultural icon by organizing concerts which raised money for the DPAO, but equally important, he provided culture and entertainment for the City.”

Many of his ideas and practices have been implemented across the state over the years, but Rich wanted to extend his work beyond New York, according to New York State Democratic Executive Committee Chair June F. O’Neill. “His accomplishments have been extraordinary and are not limited to our region,” she said. “Joe is a founding member and president of the 1 World Foundation. He travels to the West Indies to help residents with special needs.”

Hundreds of lives have been enriched through his advocacy, according to Diana Jones Ritter commissioner of the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

“His compassion, diplomacy and communication skills educated people in upstate New York to embrace individuals with developmental disabilities as contributing members of their communities,” she said. “He is truly the voice of the people.”

While his résumé is extensive, he insists the credit should not go to him. “I’ve been the facilitator, but it’s been the people that work with us that have made the difference,” Rich said “That’s the way it is in the North Country. People care about people.”

A Watertown native, Rich graduated from Empire State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcast journalism in 1970. He worked in both radio and television before pursuing his work with the DPAO full time. He currently resides in Watertown with his wife, Carol. Although retired, he still spends his time volunteering and serves on the Foundation Board at Jefferson Community College and is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Watertown Savings Bank. He’s a two-time recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow from the Rotary Club and is heavily involved in the 1 World Foundation.

Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.