Senator Pam Helming and Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan joined members of the Calabrese family on Thursday to formally dedicate a portion of State Route 21 in Ontario County as Ralph Calabrese Memorial Highway.
The designation honors local Korean War veteran Ralph Calabrese, who passed away in 2021. Mr. Calabrese is widely credited for saving the Canandaigua VA Medical Center when the federal government recommended closing the facility decades ago. He dedicated his life to advocating for his fellow veterans and his community. Mr. Calabrese, who served in the U.S. Army, was inducted to the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in 2012.
Senator Pam Helming said, “Mr. Calabrese was an American hero, a fierce advocate for his fellow veterans, and my good friend. Whether you saw him in a parade or at a Canandaigua Braves football game, Mr. Calabrese’s incomparable spirit was palpable and infectious. This highway dedication is an enduring reminder to all of us of Mr. Calabrese’s service, but even more than that – of the sacrifices and contributions of every veteran, something that Mr. Calabrese wanted everyone to know and appreciate, especially our younger generations.”
Assemblyman Jeff Gallahan said, “Ralph Calabrese was a man who loved his country and his community like no other. His dedicated service to our nation and efforts to support our veterans were truly laudable, and it is because of him the Canandaigua VA Medical Center has been able to continue its important work in support of our service members. I can think of few people from our community worthy of this recognition like Ralph, so I am grateful this highway dedication will memorialize his legacy for future generations.”
Dominic Calabrese, Ralph Calabrese’s son, said, “As his son, I had firsthand knowledge of what a good and great man he was, especially where the veterans were concerned. He would be so proud of this day, as am I. This is an honor that will keep his legacy alive in everyone who passes through this corridor of Route 21. Thank you to Senator Helming and Assemblyman Gallahan for remembering my dad with this great sign of respect and gratitude for all that he did.”
Senator Helming and Assemblyman Gallahan sponsored the legislation to dedicate the highway. It was signed into law last November.
Ralph Calabrese Memorial Highway begins on Route 21 at the corner of E. Gibson and N. Main Streets in Canandaigua and ends at Route 488 in the Town of Hopewell.