Tonawanda News — LOCKPORT — A Lewiston native wounded in military combat this past summer was honored Wednesday by the Niagara County Legislature.
Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher T. Bristol, 22, was declared a Niagara County Hero by legislative proclamation. Additional citations by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state Senate and state Assembly were presented by state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, and Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston.
Bristol took a bullet wound to an arm during a firefight in Afghanistan over the summer and returned to combat duty less than two weeks later, as soon as his stitches were healed.
Bristol insisted his injury was “minor ... superficial,” especially compared to injuries suffered by other soldiers in the firefight, but his employer thought differently. Bristol was awarded a Purple Heart and a Navy Marine Corps commendation medal with a “V” for valor.
Maziarz introduced Bristol in legislative chambers Wednesday night as “one of Niagara County’s finest sons.” When lawmakers gave him a standing ovation, he thanked them.
The war in Afghanistan is “not the most popular, but it’s still alive and kicking,” he said. “It means the world to me ... that some people know it’s still on.”
Bristol is a member of the 1st Batallion, 1st Marine Division, Combined Anti-Armor Team 1, which left Afghanistan in late November. When his leave ends next week, he’ll return to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and await a new assignment. If needed, he’d volunteer to go back to Afghanistan, he said.
Bristol is the son of Timothy and Jane Bristol and the nephew of retired Marine Col. Dan Bristol. He was home-schooled and is a graduate of Niagara County Community College.
Four Niagara County legislature and party caucus officials were re-elected without opposition Wednesday during the body’s annual organization meeting.
Returning Legislature Chairman Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, cited a series of local legislative “victories” and “disappointments” in 2012, and budgetary challenges in 2013, in his annual State of the County address. He pledged the legislature will continue advancing local economic development through brownfield reclamation, moves to make “shovel ready” commercial/industrial sites and targeted support for Niagara’s main sectors, agriculture and tourism, and will also keep up the “downsizing” of county government by consolidation, privatization and other cost-cutting moves.