First Niagara Keeps Flame Lit for Empire State Games

July 25, 2010 Updated Jul 25, 2010 at 1:40 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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July 25, 2010 Updated Jul 25, 2010 at 1:40 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY - First Niagara Bank donated $500,000, half of what was needed to keep the Empire State Games a go this year in Buffalo. With their donation they challenged the Western New York corporate community to come up with the remainder of the money.

"These are challenging times and those of us that are fortunate enough to continue to operate from a position of strength I believe it is important we give a little bit more and we participate and that is what First Niagara's is all about," says First Niagara Bank CEO John Koelmel.

The games were canceled last year because of budget problems in Albany and the flame was threatened to be extinguished this year if it wasn't for the generosity of Western New York.

And thanks to First Niagara and the other corporate sponsors, the games are alive and the competition is tough. As of Friday night, Western leads with 45 gold medal and 102 overall.

If you missed any of the action you are not too late. The events continue all weekend long at multiple venues throughout Western New York. You can find all the completed schedule, times, and locations by clicking on News Links at the top of the page.