It is with great pleasure that I get to tell you about one of Hamburg and Western New York's greatest residents. As a matter of fact, Friday, November 13th, has been become a day devoted to him in Hamburg.

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I met Kasper the clown years ago. He was the best friend of my wife's late grandfather and has become an unofficial grandfather to our three boys and one of the greatest people I have ever had the honor to call friend.

Donald Heidenburg was born in the City of Buffalo in 1930! From working at his grandparents' grocery store in the city to becoming a Marine and then a Superintendent at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, Heidenburg has an incredible history in WNY.

But it is work as a Shriner clown that has made the biggest impact. Kasper the Clown has entertained kids for decades. As a matter of fact, my buddy Kasper has won numerous awards and accolades in his clown career. But it is more than just his ability to make balloon animals and tell corny (but funny) jokes. My friend Kasper loves children and his ability to make them smile and laugh is priceless! Probably his best work comes when he is entertaining a child who is sick with either a debilitating or life threatening illness. He has a gift for making a child forget about their illness and just be a kid, if only for a few minutes.

Kasper is a gentle man with an enormous heart. Watching him work at the circus or The Erie County Fair, you would never know that underneath that makeup is a Marine who has an enormous love for this country and pride in his service to it.

Life takes us in so many different directions leads us down so many different paths. But every now and again, and I hope this happens for you at some point, you meet a person who changes the way you think, act and love. Meeting Kasper has done that for me. His gratitude toward others and simple generosity and love for what is simple, has become something to idolize and admire. But it'snot just me that has felt that. You can see it on the smiles of the kids, big and small, who have the chance to meet him along their path!

As the proclamation from the Town of Hamburg notes, November 13, 2020 is known as Donald "Kasper the Clown" Heidenburg Day!