The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. extends its warmest season’s greetings to all of our nation’s veterans, service members, and their families and advocates.
Many of us are fortunate to be celebrating the holidays with family and friends from the comfort and safety of our own homes, but please remember that thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen are separated from their loved ones by great distances. Please pray for their safe return. From our VFW family to yours, please have a safe and joyous holiday season.
A longstanding tradition of the Rhode Island VFW and Auxiliary has been to visit the VA Medical Center in Providence Christmas morning. In keeping with this tradition several members gathered at the medical center on Christmas Day to visit patients. Their visit is a ray of sunshine to these patients as many will not have any other visitors that day. This outpouring of fellowship brings smiles, goody bags with gift certificates and an outpouring of love to the VA Medical Center in Providence.
Gov. Gina M. Raimondo recently announced the start of RIServes, a network of more than 35 agencies and providers that will make it easier for active duty service members, veterans and their family members to find services they need in Rhode Island. RIServes is the 12th network across the country within theAmericaServes national model.
Supported by a web-based technology platform from Unite US, a health and human services software company, the new network will connect veterans with health, housing, education, job training, and legal and financial counseling and services. The state Office of Veterans Affairs staff will operate the local RIServes coordination centerand route clients to the most appropriate caregivers. RIServes uses Unite US software to quickly match the client with a service provider and track the interaction to ensure quality and timeliness.
Veterans, military members and families in need of assistance or more information should go to www.riserves.org or call 401-921-2175.
In North Scituate, Ponaganset High School history teacher Christopher Stanley’s class watched the Ken Burns documentary, “The Vietnam War,” and afterward a student asked if the class could go to Washington, D.C., and see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in person. As Jackie Roman reported in the Valley Breeze & Observer, Stanley said, “I’ve got a better idea. I’ll bring the wall to you.”
Stanley is undertaking a $50,000 fundraising effort to bring the Moving Wall, a half-sized replica of the memorial, to the high School from Nov. 1 to Nov. 5, 2018. As part of the project, the students, will become familiar with the details of a war most high school curriculums exclude. The first fundraiser is a pasta dinner on Friday, Jan. 12, at the South Foster Fire Company from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 per adult and $6 for children under 10 years old.
Personal and corporate checks are payable to Ponaganset High School, 137 Anan Wade Road, North Scituate, RI 02857. Making sure to write “Moving Wall Fund” in the memo.
This service is available to all veterans and their families who are in need of information regarding the numerous resources/agencies that are available. Our outreach officer, Walter Kimball, is ready to meet with you the first Wednesday and third Monday of each month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Westerly VFW Post Home. Appointments are not needed to meet with him; call 401-596-0470.
New members are always welcome to attend our monthly meetings. The next one will be Jan. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at our Post Home, 113 Beach St., Westerly. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of each month. If you know of a comrade or family of a comrade in distress please contact Comrade Dora Vasquez-Hellner, 401-212-6377 for assistance.
This week in military history: 1989 – In Operation Just Cause, the United States invaded Panama to arrest the military dictator Manuel Noriega, who had been indicted in the U.S. on drug trafficking charges and was accused of suppressing democracy in Panama and endangering U.S. nationals. He was arrested by U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents on Jan. 3. The invasion, which cost the lives of 23 U.S. soldiers and three U.S. civilians, was formally protested by the Organization of American States and the European Parliament. In 1992, Noriega was convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering — the first time that a U.S. jury convicted a foreign leader of criminal charges.
Noriega died in May 2017 while under house arrest in Panama.