RI Veterans: Did you know? 18.04.24 (100th bday, events, Q/A, fishing, resources) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans issues

What To Do When A Veteran Passes Away

Questions from one of our readers: My veteran husband, who was collecting VA compensation, passed away – Q1 Who should I notify to stop his disability payment? – Q2 How do I repay payments after death? Jane from Bristol RI.

Q 1 Answer

The survivor of a Veteran who has died, or their legal representative, should contact the VA  as soon as possible to report the death. When you contact the VA to report a death, the VA will stop any benefit payments the Veteran was receiving. Information you can provide the VA to help verify the Veteran’s identity, provide as much of this information as you can: Full name,social security number or VA claim number, date of birth, date of death, and branch of service.

VETTIP: You don’t need to have all of this information ready when you contact us. Provide the information you have. It will help us verify the Veteran’s identity.

How to contact the VA

Phone – Calling is the fastest way for you to report a death so the VA will know to stop benefit payments. By phone Call 800-827-1000 (TTY: 711) and select 5, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.

In person – at your local VA office

By mail – If you report by mail, be sure to include this information: Your relationship to the Veteran, and any supporting documents that can help us verify the Veteran’s identity. Send the information to this address: 

Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444

Note: When you report a death by mail, it may take longer to stop any benefit payments the Veteran was receiving.

After contacting the VA the next of kin and/or legally authorized representative under state law needs to retrieve an official copy of the Veteran’s death certificate. Reporting right away helps survivors avoid debt.

Answer Q2: Repaying payments after death of veteran.

VA disability compensation stops after a veteran dies. First, determine how much of a payment has to be returned to the VA – call 800-827-1000 and verify the amount to be repaid.

VETTIP: According to the VA website, a surviving spouse is eligible to receive the deceased veteran’s VA compensation or pension benefit for the month of the veteran’s death.  This benefit is only payable to surviving spouses of veterans who were receiving VA compensation or pension benefits at the time of their death

After verifying the amount owed, call or mail a check or money order to :

  • Pay by phone. Call 800-827-0648 (1-612-713-6415 from overseas) (TTY: 711). Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET. 
  • Pay by mail. Send a separate check or money order for each debt, payable to “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.” On each, print your full name, VA file number or Social Security number, and deduction code. Include your payment stubs or a note with the amount you’re paying on each debt. Mail to:

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Debt Management Center
    PO Box 11930
    St. Paul, MN 55111


Veteran Food Pantry In Need of Help

Our colleagues at Operation Stand Down Rhode Island have dwindling supplies at their food pantry. They are in immediate need of the items, below:



April 24 2024 – Louis Dolce Turns 100! 100 Day of Celebration, WWII Coast Guard Veteran Louie Dolce Sr, Bristol RI will be 100 years old.

945 – 1030 – Pleasant View Elementary School, Smithfield RI will wish Louie a happy birthday upon his arrival in a motorcade led by antique military vehicles. All the students and staff of the the elementary school will receive a commemorative dog tag with Louie’s military information. And on the backside of the dog tag, is the school’s logo and a copy of USS Falgout’s ship patch, worn on the uniforms of all members of the military while serving on the ship.

1045 -12:00 – ROMA Deli, 311 Atwells Ave, Providence RI will be the location for FIRST birthday cake celebration

4:30 – 6:30 Peralla’s Ristorante, Metacom Ave, Warren RI will be the location for Louie’s 100th Birthday Party. Louie will receive a special birthday present from the New England Patriots, lifetime membership in the VFW and Italian American War Veterans of US, and many more special gifts from family and friends.

Dolce served on the USS Falgout during the war, which was attacked and torpedo by the Germans. One of Louie’s wishes, is to receive 50,000 cards with $1.00 in it, to raise $50,000 for VFW Post 5392, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton, RI (checks and amount over $1.00 make out to VFW Post 5392) to help the post upgrade the kitchen hood and fire suppressor system. Louie loves going to the VFW hanging with veterans and beating them playing pool.

On April 24 2024, ALL 100 years old veteran and civilian are invited to Louie’s 100 birthday party at Perella’s Ristorante, 311 Metacom Ave, Warren RI.

Louie’s Military Story:

Unknown to many who associate members of the Coast Guard defending the shores of the United States.

WWII Veteran Dolce, 19 years old,  was on the USS Falgout on 20 April 1944, in the Mediterranean, when the convoy came under heavy attack by German aircraft. Before the concentrated antiaircraft fire of Falgout and the other escorts could drive them off, they blew up an ammunition ship, sank a destroyer, and damaged several of the merchantmen.

With the other escorts picking up survivors or escorting the damaged ships into the nearest port, Algiers, Falgout screened the convoy on to its original destination, Bizerte. The homeward bound passage of this same voyage was also a difficult one; on 3 May, one of the escorts was torpedoed and had to put into Algiers for repairs.

Two of the other escorts sank the submarine which had crippled their sister, but on 5 May, another of the escort was torpedoed, and sank. Falgout and the remaining escorts brought the convoy safely home, not a merchantman lost. On her third convoy voyage, while Gibraltar-bound in the Mediterranean, Falgout took prisoner from the sea four downed German aviators.

All WWII veterans, veterans living at the Rhode Island Veterans Home, staff at the Rhode Island Veterans Home  and their guest are invited to Louie’s 100 year at the birthday party, Perella’s Ristorante, 430-630 pm.


April 24-27 – Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick,  Yosemite AD-19 to hold reunion in RI. This World War II-built destroyer tender spent much of its naval career based in Melville and Newport, so for the many veterans who served on it a return to Rhode Island is appropriate. The USS Yosemite Association invites all local vets or families to attend. Reunion HQ is the Crowne Plaza hotel in Warwick.

The job of a destroyer tender was to service destroyers in, or near, battle areas and keep them fit for duty. Launched in 1942, Yosemite saw action in the Pacific during World War II. In 1946 the ship was assigned to Newport, where it served as the flagship for the Commander, Destroyers, Atlantic Fleet until 1962. During the Cuban missile crisis, Yosemite deployed to Kingston, Jamaica, where it tended the ships engaged in that operation. For six more years Yosemite was assigned to Newport, until its homeport was changed to Mayport, Florida. Yosemite was decommissioned in 1994, and nine years later was sunk as a target in a naval exercise.

For further information, call Tina Briones Smith, USS Yosemite Association secretary, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, at (734) 308-0402 or by email, [email protected]. Alana Cerrone O’Hare of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau is the local contact for the reunion. She can be reached at (401) 486-3582.

May 6, 2024 – Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House, 9-11:00 a.m, ROMA, 311 Atwells Ave, Providence, for veterans and guest. Enjoy espresso, coffee, Italian toast and pastries, calzones and more, all complimentary of the Italian American War Veterans of US. Veteran Service Officer is available to assist and or answer questions on state, VA, or other benefits available to veterans. More information, call (401) 677-9838 or email, [email protected].

May 20, 2024 – 10:30-12:30, Free Veterans Brunch/Luncheon, VFW Post 5392, 134 Shove Street , Tiverton. Free for veteran and guest. First annual May Brunch: omelet to order, scrambled eggs, SOS, bacon, sausage, and LOTS of desserts . The brunch is sponsored by U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran Jim Clancy  and Front Line Ministry, Bristol RI.

Veteran Food Pantry In Need of Help

 May 24-27, Boots On The Ground for Heroes, Operation Stand Down, Fort Adams, Newport RI

June 1, Saturday, Twelve Acres , 445 Douglas Pike, Smithfield RI, 12:00 p.m. Testimonial dinner for Veterans of Foreign War Auxiliary , Department President , Gina Marie Doherty


 Free Help for Homeless Veterans

Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness—and their family members, friends, and supporters—can make the call to or chat online with the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans, where trained counselors are ready to talk confidentially 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Who Can Call

  • Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • Family members, friends and supporters calling on behalf of Veterans
  • VA Medical Centers and other VA facilities and staff
  • Federal, state and local partners
  • Community agencies and providers who serve Veterans who are homeless

Why Make the Call to 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838)

  • It’s free and confidential
  • You’ll get access to trained VA counselors
  • It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • You’ll get information about VA homeless programs, health care and other services in your area

What Happens When Veterans Make the Call

  • A trained VA staff member asks a few questions to find out what you need
  • Then, you’re connected to the nearest VA staff person who can help
  • What Happens When Others Make the Call
  • Family members and non-VA providers receive information about available homeless programs and services
  • They can keep their information confidential or leave contact information so staff can follow up
  • VA’s Resources for Homeless and At-Risk Veterans
  • VA offers a wide array of services to help homeless and at-risk Veterans.


Free Golf,  Goddard Park Golf Course Fee Exemption for Totally Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island resident Veterans who have a 100% permanent and total, service-connected disability rating from the VA are exempt from paying any fees to play golf at the Goddard Park Golf Course. For more information call the Clubhouse at Goddard Memorial State Park from April 1st through the 3rd Saturday in November at 401-884-9834 or year-round at Division Headquarters at 401-667-6200.

Free Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Licenses for 100% Disabled Veterans: A Veteran who has a 100% disability rating from the VA is eligible for free Rhode Island hunting and fishing licenses.

No cost licenses are available if you are:

·       over 65 AND a Rhode Island resident

·       a veteran with 100% disability status from the Department of Veterans Affairs

·       a person with 100% total disability status from the Social Security Administration

To apply in person at DEM, please bring a photo ID and an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (directions)

To apply by mail, please complete an application and mail the application and a copy of your photo ID and the ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Please allow two weeks for processing.

The address to obtain your license in person or by mail is:
DEM Licensing Office
235 Promenade Street, Room 360
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-3576

To purchase online, you will be required to certify that you have an ORIGINAL DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). You will also be required to enter the date the decision expires. The Department will audit compliance with the certification and may, at any time, request a copy of the current DOCUMENT OF THE FINAL DECISION(S). Failure to submit the documentation by the date requested may result in the suspension of your fishing and hunting license. Also, Rhode Island General Law 11-18-1 prohibits giving false documents to an agent, employee, or public official. The penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to one year.

Rhode Island Hunting and Fishing Benefits for Service Members and Veterans: Rhode Island offers several hunting and fishing benefits to Service members and Veterans. A short description of each is listed below. Applicants are required to show documentation proving eligibility when they apply:

· Active-Duty Service members – Military ID

· Veterans – DD214

· Disabled Veterans – VA Disability Certification Letter ( Contact VA office)

Applicants can apply online at Rhode Island Outdoors, in person at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Office of Boating Registration and Licenses in Providence (Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.), at an Authorized In-Person Sales Agent, or they can mail applications to:

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Room 360
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-222-3576

Learn more about FREE Rhode Island Hunting , Fishing, State Parks, and Golf  Benefits for Service Members and Veterans,that%20issued%20the%20disability%20decision.

Free Rhode Island State Park Passes for 100% Disabled Veterans: Rhode Island offers the State Park Disability Pass for use at any state-owned recreational facility to disabled Veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA.

The State Park Disability Pass authorizes free admission and parking but does not exempt the following:

· Licensing fees

· Camping fees

· Picnic table fees

· Specialized facility use fees

· Use of equestrian areas

· Performing art centers

· Game fields fees

· Mule shed fees

If the disabled Veteran cannot drive, the vehicle transporting the Veteran will not be charged.

Veterans must apply in person at the Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters and are required to show official documentation (dated within the past year) from the VA that states they have a 100% service-connected disability.

Rhode Island State Parks and Recreation Headquarters
1100 Tower Hill Road
North Kingstown, RI 02852
Phone: 401-667-6200
Email: [email protected]


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 [email protected]*** 

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

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: 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 to Michaels Rewards. 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 to: [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, 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.

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