As we celebrate the New Year, I encourage the Melrose community to join me in recognizing the great organizations that provide necessary services to our city’s veterans. Without their assistance, we could not meet our goal of providing comprehensive services to our veteran population.
Along with the Melrose Veterans Advisory Board, I want to take a moment to thank a few local organizations and businesses that provided low-cost or free services to our needy veterans in 2012.
1.) Solomon and Wright Associates: Local dentist Jarred Solomon has been providing low-cost dentistry to veterans falling under the poverty line for more than a year. In many cases, he offers up to a 70-percent discount for necessary and emergency procedures. As you know, dentistry can be very expensive, but it’s also an important part our total-health goal. Solomon helps us meet this goal.
2.) Gately Funeral Home: This Melrose mainstay is central to our commitment to honor our fallen veterans. While they have been providing access to military honors for decades, they also help us bury our indigent veteran population with dignity when few options exist. Additionally, Gately Funeral Home hosted a fundraiser at Absolutely Fabulous, raising more than $1700 for our city’s Veteran Relief Fund.
3.) Apex Hearing: Our friends at APEX offer fitted hearing aids to member of our veteran population that do not meet the requirements for treatment from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Hearing aids can be very expensive and Apex grants our veterans a significant savings so they can hear their loved ones and possess the quality of life they deserve.
4.) MG Signs: This is the company responsible for the signs you see outside of City Hall welcoming home our returning heroes. With their nominal fee paid for by the VFW Prince Post on Main Street and the VFW Harold Young Post on Chipman Avenue, the folks at MG rush to print these signs in time for our returning soldiers to see their city is proud of their service.
5.) W.M Blanchard: The flags you see at our veteran monuments and outside of city hall are provided by this Wakefield-based company. I believe in local purchasing and use Blanchard because they fulfill last-minute requests and offer a large discount for anything that has to do with veterans. On Veterans Day, we handed out small made-in-the-USA flags that Blanchard provided to us free of charge.
6.) Service Organizations: It takes a full community effort to ensure our veterans are provided for whenever they face a need. Our local veteran service organizations have been providing for decades and Melrose is lucky to have four organizations within its borders. Members of our local AMVETS, VFW and American Legion Posts continually provide transportation for veterans, attend our veteran events and assist in our outreach efforts. We also receive additional assistance from the Mayor’s Emergency Fund, the American Red Cross Ames Fund and our local service-based organizations. And every time you donate food to A Servant’s Heart Food Panty, please know that dozens of veterans and their dependents regularly take advantage of those life-saving services.
7.) Whittemore Hardware: This December, the city’s local hardware store sent a donation to our office for $1000 to assist Melrose veterans in need. Gathered from customers and patrons, this money was a pleasant surprise and will be used to purchase supermarket gift cards to provide immediate one-time assistance for veterans without food. This was a wonderful holiday gift from a wonderful organization.
Our veteran community is blessed to live in a city where veterans are a priority and help is only a phone call away. As we celebrate the New Year, I think it’s important to acknowledge the organizations that assist our veterans every single year. I hope you will too.