BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Saturday morning Buffalo's Naval Parks opens, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the USS Little Rock and USS The Sullivans to the city.

A ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. to kick off the new season, and also to honor the three service members who helped bring the ships to Buffalo: Michael Bertini, Thomas Heilig and Leonard Sniadecki. Naval Park Board Chairman Donald Alessi will present each of their families with Recognition Award Certificates.

Colonel Cunningham, who had served 30 years in the army and another 24 as the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park Executive Director, will also be recognized during the ceremony. The naval park announced Col. Cunningham passed away Friday, a week before his 79th birthday.