RI Veterans: Did you know? 1.6.23 (Memorial Day, events, discounts, resources) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans issues

Photo, top: The Rhode Island National Guard Rifle Squad fired volleys following the wreath laying. (RI Dept. of Veterans Affairs)

Question from one of our readers:

I visited the Boots on Ground for Hero Memorial over the Memorial Day weekend event at Fort Adams and my grandson asked why pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters were left on the displayed boots? Jamison, Smithfield


Each boot represents the life of a U.S. service member killed in action post 9-11 in the Global War on Terror. The placard attached to each boot displays the name and photo of the fallen along with biographical information, military branch, rank and circumstances of death.

The left coins all have special meanings at the deceased veteran’s gravesite.

No coincidence lots of dimes left on the boots of Rhode Islanders killed in action since 911. 

Now you know why coins were left on the boots and grave markers of thousand of veterans buries at the RI Veteran Memorial Cemetery and private cemeteries throughout the state.


UpdatesFather Marciano the 61st Verrazzano Day Committee Italian American Person of The Year

Father Robert L Marciano was honored at the 61st Annual Verrazzano Day Banquet last week at the black-tie event held at Quonset L Club, Quonset RI.

“I am honored to be among such great Rhode Islanders,” he disclosed. He credits past recipients with high admiration, and even confessed that he “accepted [the award] only because they prevailed it to me,” he said prior to formally accepting the award at the black-tie event.Last year’s  Verrazzano Day Committee Person of the Year, Camille Vella-Wilkinson presented recipient, Father Marciano at the black tie event held last weekend at Quonest O Club. Both are retired military; Rep. Villa-Wilkinson U.S. Navy and Father Marciano. U.S. Army.
From Camille Vella-Wilkinson Facebook posting:

RINEWSTODAY salutes Father Marciano for his continuance service to the country and community.


On Memorial Day, Thousands Visit Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery

In solemn observance of Memorial Day, Rhode Islanders and visitors from across the country came to the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery (RIVMC) to honor and remember those service members who gave their lives in defense of our nation and our freedoms.

The state’s 49th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony took place at 1 p.m. at RIVMC, where Rhode Island’s congressional delegation and general officers joined in honoring service members, Veterans and their families, paying tribute to those who died in the line of duty, and remembering their families who carry on the memory of those we have lost. The Rhode Island National Guard (RING) 88th Army Band provided musical entertainment, and the RING Rifle Squad fired volleys. The featured speaker was Elizabeth Cote, Rhode Island’s Voice of Democracy essay winner; she read her essay on “Why is the Veteran Important?” during the ceremony. Ms. Cote is a high school junior and daughter of a 28-year Army Veteran. Memorial wreaths were laid at the Gold Star Family Memorial, one of the newly dedicated memorials at RIVMC.


VA clothing allowance

Has your clothing been damaged by your prosthetic or orthopedic device (such as a wheelchair) or by the medicine you’re taking for a skin condition? If it has, you may be able to get money each year to help you buy new clothes. This is a disability compensation benefit known as an annual clothing allowance. Find out if you can get this benefit. More on this next week!



June 5, 2023, Monday Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House( always meet the FIRST Monday of the month) , 9-11 am. Roma Ristorante, 310 Atwells Ave, Providence (free parking across the street). Veterans and their guests are invited. Refreshments are available, which include Italian toast, pastries, and calzones. Any questions call Italian American War Veterans of US, (401) 677-9838, email,

June 10, 2023 ,12:00 p.m. at Tomaselli’s at Rosario, Honor Flight Cigar Dinner Fundraiser, Cranston Firefighters IAFF Local 1363, Chuck Pollock and Armand Niquette are hosting a Benefit Cigar Dinner in support of the RI Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub . Tomaselli’s at Rosario, 17 Rosario Drive, Providence. There will be an Italian buffet, cash bar, raffles and cigars will be provided by Mr. Cigar & Cigar World. 

Donations to attend the event are $65.00 per person. If you, your friends or company would like to attend and support this event and the RIFC Honor Flight Hub please call Chuck Pollock at 401-569-2800 or Armand Niquette at 401-486-4991. Please see the attached flyer.

June 17, 2023 (Saturday) Adopt a Veteran, 10:30 to 12:00 p.m. Friendly Home, Woonsocket, RI and Italian American War Veterans of US (ITAM) and volunteers have partnered to host a monthly Veteran Coffee Hour for the veterans at the facility. 

June 19, 2023, Monday, FREE Luncheon 11:30-1:00 for Veterans and one guest at Perella’s Ristorante. 330 Metacom Ave Warren, RI. This month meal will be chicken parmesan, pasta, salad, and dessert. The event is partnership of the Italian American War Veterans of US, inc. and Building Bridges program.  Last month over 60 veterans attended the luncheon.

The Building Bridges program provides a free breakfast or lunch at 13 sites that include Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. These sites are run by community volunteers at community sites, including halls run by fraternal organizations, veterans’ organizations, and local restaurants. A team of veterans and volunteers do all the cooking and serving. Do you know a restauraunt , post, lodge, hall etc.. willing to host a luncheon on a one of the Mondays in November, December, and Janauary. ITAM organization has RI Licensed Food Service Manager and full insurance. If you have a location one of the luncheons can be held at, contact ITAM program manager John, (401) 677-9838.


RESOURCES  & ongoing groups 

Below are all the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time! 

***All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at*** 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May) 

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. 

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

Art Expression Group  – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m. 

Stress Management – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. 

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m. 

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. 

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. 

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 pm. 


Discounts for Veterans 


No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC, 15% military discount, ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibility with a VA Card, VA ID Card, or RI State license with veteran identification. 


Applebee’s – Military Discount. With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty. Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain. Last verified 07/31/2022. 

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021 

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID 


Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021 

Bass Pro Shops – Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source). 

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021 

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount – “Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items. Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe. 

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through 

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer. 

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type. 

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! – We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 10% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at 3 select locations listed below: 

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI – Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI – Park Ave, Cranston RI 

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get – 

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account. 

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly. 

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout. 

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21. 


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward  the business’s name, location, and military and veteran discount offered. 

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci,, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838) 


To read all columns in this series go to:  

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.