My very first visit to Melrose was for the 2011 Victorian Fair. I was recently appointed to the Veteran Services Officer position and set to begin working in this wonderful city the following week. It was a great way to acclimate myself to the city’s vibrant culture and I knew immediately that this municipality supported its veteran population.
With that spirit in mind, this year, the Melrose-Wakefield Veteran Services District in conjunction with the Melrose Veterans Advisory Board will be manning a canopied booth to answer questions veterans may have regarding their benefit eligibility and to promote several initiatives coming in 2012. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my one year anniversary and thank the Melrose veteran population for allowing me to serve as their veteran’s agent.
Here is a glimpse of what veteran focused events and initiatives we will be promoting at the 2012 Victorian Fair on Sunday, September 9th.
1. Introduction of District VSO Andrew Delrossi Biggio. Although Andrew has been working diligently in Melrose and Wakefield to connect veterans to their benefits since late July, we wanted to formally introduce him to the public. Andrew is a stanch veteran advocate and a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
For more information on Andrew, click here: http://melrose.patch.com/articles/new-veterans-officer-joins-melrose-community
2. Ward 7 Alderman and Vietnam Veteran Bill Forbes will promote the state’s newest license plate “Supporting Our Troops.” This plate, complete with flags from Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation’s most recent war-time service areas, will generate donations for Disabled and Limbless veterans. In order to go into production, 3,000 Massachusetts residents must sign up for the plate. Anyone can sign up for one, veterans and supporters alike.
For more information, click here: http://melrose.patch.com/announcements/rep-brodeur-hosts-alderman-billy-forbes-for-license-plate-unveiling
3. For the past year, we have worked hard to revamp the city’s Veteran’s Relief Fund, raising more than $3,000 in donations and supermarket gift cards to directly assist the city’s needy veteran population. This fund has helped secure food, bedding material, permanent housing and dental care for veterans whose monthly income falls under 200% Federal Poverty Level.
For more information on the Veterans Relief Fund, click here: http://www.cityofmelrose.org/dept_veterans.cfm
4. Due to the success of last year’s “Operation Resolve,” a three-day bus trip to Washington DC to honor our WWII veterans, we are supporting the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School’s “Operation Thank You” in 2013. This year, the bus will once again head to Washington DC to honor the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War and to say thank you to those who risked all during that conflict. Interested veterans from the Vietnam era can stop by our booth to begin the sign up process for this amazing weekend.
5. On September 21, 2012 we will honor our nation’s Prisoner of War and Missing in Action heroes by honor National POW/MIA Day at 11 a.m. at the Wakefield WWII Memorial. Information flyers, found here http://www.cityofmelrose.org/dept_veterans.cfm will be available for interested participants. All are welcome to honor these special veterans and to hear Minor McLain, a Melrosian POW, address the crowd.
6. Lastly, we are promoting two veteran self-serve benefit initiatives to assist veterans in a more timely delivery of their benefits. A state portal, www.massvetsadvisor.com and the federal portal, www.ebenefits.com, are two great sites for veterans and their families to learn about benefit eligibility. We will encourage all veterans to visit these sites and assist interested parties by explaining their functions and sign up processes.
I am very excited to once again be a part of the Victorian Fair and to continue serving our great veterans in the year to come. Please stop by and say hello!