NFJC Honors 35 Community Leaders

January 19, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM EDT

By WKBW News

January 19, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - They are leaders in our community and their accomplishments are celebrated by the people they serve.

Over 600 in attendance for a luncheon supporting 35 honorees by the National Federation for Just Communities for their commitment and support to western New York. Each of these members carried through the mission of the NFJC

"To support and advocate for equity and respect, inclusion and diversity in our community," said NFJC Board Chair Christopher Greene.

A long time member of the Channel 7 family, the host of AM Buffalo, Linda Pellegrino was honored for her work in the media.

"This is a wonderful organization that prides itself on it inclusivity for so many different people, groups, faiths, religions and i think am buffalo has always tried to be that as well," said Pellegrino. "We've always opened our doors to them and their platform and it's very nice to see our show get recognized for that."

Pellegrino had a tough 2011 battling three types of cancer and is very humbled to be recognized in her community.

"This is a great beginning to a new year absolutely," Pellegrino said. "Two types of breast cancer and thyroid cancer and everyone we through it with me on AM Buffalo."

Local physician doctor Raul Vazquez who opened his practice on Buffalo's west side credits a weekly segment on Channel 7's 'Eyewitness News This Morning' for making a difference in people's lives.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without the support of Channel 7 and what it does for the community," said Vazquez. "This channel acts a little differently in my eyes and what the community is expecting and they're seeing something positive."

There were 33 other honorees including a number of youth honorees who are committed making Buffalo and western New York a great place to live, work and play. A true tribute to who the people of western New York truly are.

"Doesn't matter if you're catholic, doesn't matter if you're Jewish, doesn't matter if you're Muslim," said Pellegrino, "we are all part of this community and the community only moves forward if we all move forward together."

For more information on the NFJC and how you can make a difference visit the news links section of