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RI Veterans: Did you know? 16 December 21 – John A. Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer,

                             Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Our Question and Answer feature this week is especially poignant:

Question – My partner is DYING from starvation at the Providence VA Medical; he has been there almost 2 weeks, and they refuse to provide him alternate food source despite my repeated requests. The Providence VA tells me they do not have that a capability and he must get an operation so he can be feed by a tube. HELP!!!!!!!! Cynthia, Cranston RI

Answer – Document all you have spoken with. The first thing I would do is call the White House Veterans Hotline, White House VA Hotline: 1-855-948-2311.

Calls are answered by a live agent 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  The hotline is staffed by more than 60 agents who have had extensive training on VA programs and services. Most of these agents are a Veteran, military family member, caregiver or a survivor.

The White House VA Hotline conducts immediate “warm hand-offs” for at-crisis risk Veterans needing the services of the Veterans Crisis Line.

Trends identified by the hotline will be used to rapidly respond to systemic inefficiencies and empower VA employees to resolve Veteran concerns quickly.

Veterans should continue to use existing VA customer service hotlines:

Communicate with the hotline that you exhausted all options at the Providence VA Medical Center to get needed medical treatment, and the VA has told you they can’t provide this care at the Providence VA Medical.

UPDATE:  Since ITAM communicated to Cynthia – The hotline has been involved. The treating doctor at the VA has been removed from Virgil’s case. He is now receiving alternate feeding through a tube and scheduled to be sent to West Roxby VA for the necessary operation on Friday and returned to the Providence VA Medical on the same day.

Why did the Providence VA have to wait almost 2 weeks? No food or water to the veteran, until the veteran’s family had to go outside for resolution.

Another option, order the VA to send him to a hospital that can provide the needed medical support to save his life. After arriving at another facility, call the 1-844-724-7842. Worst case, Medicare pays, but with the 72-hour verification number, ITAM will fight with you to ensure VA foots the bill.

KUDOs to Cynthia—-NEVER GIVING UP!!!!!!!

(Editor’s Note: We have been following this story over the last few days – as John gives Kudos to Cynthia for her advocacy on behalf of her loved one, we give our respectful kudos to John Cianci for providing Cynthia with the path to do so – proud of you, John!)



First Woman Veteran Will Be Recipient of Verrazzano Day Person of The Year

Camille Vella-Wilkinson will be the first woman veteran recipient of the 2022 Verrazano Day Person of the Year Award in 60 years.

She will be honored at a black-tie event on May 21, 2022, by the Verrazzano Day Observation committee.

“Rep. Camille-Vella Wilkinson was nominated by the Italian American War Veterans for her unwavering support of woman veterans, veterans, and her community. She balances the three and understands veterans’ concerns. Both she and husband are veterans,” said, Department of Rhode Italian American War Veterans John Cianci, one of 18 members of The Verrazzano Day Committee.

The award was established in 1961 by the Department of Rhode Island American War Veterans and the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, and the Department of Rhode Island, Italian American War Veterans of the United States, Inc.

The Verrazzano Day Observance Committee, Inc. was incorporated by the two Italian-American organizations to honor the memory of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Florentine navigator who discovered Narragansett Bay in 1524 and who described in his report to King Francis I that the island which he discovered was like the “Isle of Rhodes.”

From his report, history credits Verrazzano for having been indirectly responsible for naming the State of Rhode Island. The annual event honoring this great navigator also is held to honor an outstanding leader of the Rhode Island community. 

The committee is comprised of 18 members Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, Order Sons of Italy in America, and Department of Rhode Island Italian American War veterans of the United States, Inc.

The Italian American War Veterans nominated Wilkinson for achievements serving her country in the Navy for over 20 years, as state representative for the City of Warwick, and staunch veteran advocate.

“I nominated her for all she does for woman veterans,” said Linda D’Andrea Peck, Gulf War Era Veteran and Veteran Service Officer for Burrillville, RI. “She understands the challenges of us women veterans. She has had previous experiences like I do as a woman veteran; had my Army shirt and hat on attending a veteran event with my husband who is also a veteran and hear, ‘nice you’re here to support your husband’.”

Peck is a Gulf War Era Veteran and Veteran Service Officer for Town of Burrillville, RI.

“Honored to be selected,” said Wilkinson. “Like Linda, I was at an event several years ago at an event honoring women veterans and almost exactly what happened to Linda happened to me. My husband, a veteran himself, spoke up and ensured he was there to support me for being honored as a woman veteran.”

Wilkinson regulars meets with veteran organizations and veterans. Some of her recent accomplishments was authoring legislation for veterans, to include a recent bill entitling all veterans who served with an honorable discharge and DD214 to be entitled to city and town tax exemptions. Wilkinson was one of the sponsors and supports for a woman’s plaque recently dedicated at the RI State House.

The 2021 Person of the Year Award was Karen A. Santilli, President and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island, who was the second woman to be honored.

The Honorable John O. Pastore, Honorable Christopher Del Sesto, Honorable Albert E. DeRobbio, 1990, Honorable David Cicilline, Honorable Joseph Paolino, Judge Frank Caprio, and Honorable Vincent “Buddy” Cianci are some of the names on a list of 59 legendary Rhode Islanders who have been honored with the Verrazano Day Observance Committee’s prestigious “Person of the Year” award.

Wilkinson is also first Women Veteran in The News Monthly story about women veterans making a difference serving country and community.

Coagulations to  Representative Camille-Vella Wilkinson, salutes you!



Thursday-Sunday December 16-18 , American Legion Lost #88, 100 Chapel Street, Burrillville, RI Veterans Kentucky Relief Drive accepting donations, drop off  generators, heavy duty extension cords, batteries, flashlight, tents, outdoor folding chairs, lanterns, fuel cans, shower shoes ALL DESPERATELY needed. Burrillville post is shipping DIRECTLY to an American Legion Post in Kentucky to distribute to veterans and their families. Donations can also be sent to American Legion Post #88, 111 Chapel Street, Harrisville RI 02830. Note KENTUCKY TORNADO in remarks.

Thursday, December 16, 2021, 1:30pm Rhode Island Veteran Cemetery Ribbon Cutting on new Columbarium Wall Project, 1:30 p.m. – EXETER, R.I. – The Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery will host a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, at 1:30 p.m. dedicating a set of new columbarium walls which will extend the life of the cemetery for use by Rhode Island’s Veterans and their families for decades. Governor Dan McKee will join with Rhode Island’s Gold Star Families, federal, state, and local officials to recognize the service and sacrifice of military members and their families.

January 22, 2022, 2-8 p.m., Rhode Island National Guard Reunion, Orlando Florida, 13110 Lake Mary Jane Road, Orlando FL., $20 per person. More information contact Patti Ryan, [email protected].

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, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838).




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 07/31/2021

Denny’s, Hartford Ave., Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty military. Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain.  Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

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: 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. J’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 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% Kohl’s offers active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. 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 15% 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 select locations listed below:

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI

Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI

Park Ave, Cranston RI

Michaels . Michaels Stores 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 , [email protected]:  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, [email protected], 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, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, 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.