As the sun rises on Sept. 11, the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Team RWB will gather in Boston Harbor and unfurl Old Glory for the fifth consecutive year. The journey will take the flag through 24 states and 10,000 pairs of hands over 62 days, as veterans and their supporters work to bring the American flag to San Diego on Veterans Day.
Team Red, White & Blue is a national nonprofit headquartered in Tampa, Florida, whose mission is to enrich the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. The Old Glory Relay aims to create bonds among veterans and their civilian supporters, and to put a spotlight on an event that all Americans can support.
The relay will pass through Rhode Island on Sept. 12, and through Connecticut on Sept. 13. “We need your assistance in carrying our colors,” the team said. “You can walk, run or cycle with Old Glory. You do not need to be a veteran, or affiliated with the military, all are welcome to participate.”
Further information on the relay is available through the Team RWB website. At the local level for Rhode Island please email Scott Gamble a t firstname.lastname@example.org, and for Connecticut Allison Keck at email@example.com for additional information. Hope to see you along the route.
The national Veterans of Foreign Wars published a brief profile recently about one of its department service officers, Wendy Griffin of Salt Lake City, who assists veterans and their families in filing claims and obtaining benefits. Griffin, a staff sergeant, served in the Air Force from January 1983 to December 1990, serving as a linguist and historianin South Korea and Arizona.
Griffin began volunteering with the VFW in 2014, answering phones, and became an accredited claims consultant a year later. Her job as a service officer began in 2017. During a typical day, she works with up to six veterans ranging from World War II veterans to those currently on active duty. “There are veterans who do not know they are eligible to file a claim. For some, it is a life-changing event,” Griffin said.
In one case, she helped a widow file a claim for a death pension. “I realized an error had been made when she originally filed a claim in 1999 after her husband passed away. The VA had denied her claim as a non-service connected death,” she said. When the error was straightened out, she said, the woman was awarded dependency indemnity compensation of about $250,000, backdated to the original date of claim.
During the difficult days of explaining to veterans why their VA disability claims were denied, Griffin said she reminds herself of the look of relief on the widow’s face as a reminder to strive to be the best for the veterans she serves.
Trained service officers are available to help veterans in Rhode Island. The Director of Veterans Affairs’ office is located at 560 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick; 401-921-2119. http://www.vets.ri.gov/
The Veteran Tickets Foundation teams up with sports teams, leagues, promoters, venues and ticket holders to provide free and discounted tickets to members of the military and veterans. Currently serving military, honorably discharged veterans from all branches of service, and the families of those killed in action are eligible. VetTixer’s accounts are active once service status is verified. Registration and additional information can be obtained at https://www.vettix.org/about.php
In honor of first responders, a breakfast was held at the Post on July 28 to honor these brave members of our community and their family members. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of this event.
Our annual Steak Fry will be Sept. 8 at the Post Home. Tickets are $20 for the steak and all the trimmings. Fellowship is free. Please contact Auxiliary President Peggy Azzinaro 401-596-4452 for additional information and tickets.
Project Outreach: This service is available to all veterans and their families who need information regarding resources and agencies that are available. Our outreach officer is ready to meet with you the first Wednesday and third Monday of each month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Post Home. Appointments are not needed to meet with the service officer, Walter Kimball; 401-596-0470.
The VFW welcomes as members all who meet our eligibility criteria. It is through service to this country that all our members have earned their elite status. If you have received a campaign medal for overseas service; have served 30 consecutive or 60 non-consecutive days in Korea; or have ever received hostile fire or imminent danger pay, then you're eligible to join our ranks.
New members are welcome to attend our next monthly meeting, Sept. 5 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 comrade in distress please contact Comrade Dora Vasquez-Hellner, 401-212-6377 for assistance.
Attention Korean War Veterans: The Rhode Island Association of Fire Chiefs Foundation’s Honor Flight Hub transports our WWII heroes to Washington, D.C., to visit and reflect at their memorials. The mission has now been extended to all Korean War veterans. Please contact Chief Richard Susi, firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-692-0795 for additional information.
Military history: During the last two years of World War I, women are allowed to join the military. 33,000 women serve as nurses and support staff officially in the military and more than 400 U.S. military nurses died in the line of duty, most of them from the Spanish flu. Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps, was the first woman to be awarded the Navy Cross. This year is the 100th anniversary of women in the military.