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RI Veterans: Did you know? 26.10.23 (Medical records, events, resources…) John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer

Questions from one of our readers:

Q: – How do I get a copy of my VA medical records? Joe L, Richmond RI

A: – There are several ways of obtaining copies of VA medical records. 

The easiest way is going to Providence VA Medical with your identification and asking for a copy of your records located D1089E Medical Records Department; the room is located at the main entrance, to the right.  Hours of operation are Monday  to Thursday  8:30 – 2:30 pm.

Providence VA Medical, Chalkstone Ave, Providence RI

Additionally, if you are at  Eagle Square VA Clinic, 589 Atwells Ave, Providence RI VA , you can also obtain copies of you VA medical records at building 5289. Hours of operation, Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m.  to 4:00 p.m. 

VETTIP: I spent less than 10 minutes getting a copy of my VA medical records at Providence VA Medical. Simple process, just make sure you have an identification.

If going to VA Providence at Eagle Square, the building could be tricky to locate. If entering the parking lot from the main road and Dunkin Donuts is on your right, Building 5289 will be directly in front of you .

Additionally, you can request copies of your medical records by mail or fax:

To request a copy of your VA medical records by mail or fax, send a signed and completed VA Form 10-5345a to our Release of Information office.

Download VA Form 10-5345a (PDF)

Mail your signed form to: 589 Atwells Ave, Crawford Building, First Floor, Providence, RI 02909

The VA processes mailed or faxed requests within 10-14 days. For privacy reasons, the VA can’t accept requests for medical records by email.

The VA can also share your records with providers outside VA.

The Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE) program lets us electronically share your health information with health care providers who treat you, including participating non-VA providers if you receive care outside of VA. This program is voluntary, and you can choose not to share your information (opt out of sharing).

Learn more about VHIE

Get Your VA Medical Records Online

Review, print, save, download, and share your VA medical records and personal health information with our online tools.  Use VA Blue Button to manage your records online

Sign in to manage your VA medical records

To Sign in with your existing,, DS Logon, or My HealtheVet account.  If you don’t have any of these accounts, you can create a free or account now,

What you can do when you sign in?

Download a customized Blue Button report with information from your VA medical records, personal health record, and in some cases your military service record.

Download a Health Summary that includes specific information from your VA medical records (like your known allergies, medicines, and recent lab results)

To be able to get your VA records online, all of these must be true:

You’re enrolled in VA health care, and

You’re registered as a patient in a VA health facility, and

You have a verified or account or a Premium DS

Logon or My HealtheVet account

From the VA website, questions about managing your VA medical records:

Once you are signed in:

Go to your welcome page dashboard. Then select Health Records. You’ll go to a new page. From here, you can choose to access these items:

  • Your VA Blue Button report
  • Your VA health summary
  • Your VA medical images and reports

What if I can’t access my VA medical records online?

You can request a complete copy of your medical records from your VA health facility or the Department of Defense (DoD), depending on where you received care.

How to submit a medical records request

You’ll need to fill out an Individuals’ Request for a Copy of Their Own Health Information (VA Form 10-5345a). 

Get VA Form 10-5345a to download

Submit your completed form to your VA health facility’s medical records office. This office is also called a Release of Information Office. You can submit your form by mail, by fax, or in person.

What if I have questions trying to access my VA medical records online?



October 27, 2023, Friday – Dinner and Entertainment, Varnum Memorial Armory Museum, 6 Main Street, East Greenwich RI , 80th Anniversary – Prime Rib or Fish dinner, tickets $60 per person.  WWII Combat Infantry Veterans are FREE.  Make checks payable to Combat Infantrymen Association, 42 Manning Street, North Providence RI 02911. All proceeds to benefit HONOR FLIGHTS OF RI, Inc.

November 2023

November 4, 2023, Saturday – 1st Annual Veterans Day Pig Roast. FREE Hog Pig Roast for Active Duty and Veterans, Flat River Tavern, 2260 Flat River Toad, Coventry RI, 2:00-6:00 p.mFlat River Tavern is veteran owned and family operated. 

November 4, 2023, Saturday  – WaterFire Providence. Salute to Veterans Opening Ceremonies will consist of two parts. The Opening Ceremonies at the RI State House with a speaking led by local representatives and a keynote speaker at 4:30 pm. Starting at 7:30 pm, wreaths will be laid at the World War, World War II, Korean, and Rhode Island Nine Beirut Memorials while taps plays throughout Memorial Park. More information in WaterFire Providence,

November 4, 2023, Saturday – Masonic Lodge Franklin Lodge No. 29, F.& A.M., in Westerly is having a free Turkey Dinner on Saturday, November 4, 2023; at Masonic Temple, 20 Elm Street, Westerly for veterans and active military. Spouses and companions welcome.RSVP 860-608-5265, Ray Geer,  [email protected]. Dinner is served from 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M.

November 5, 2023, Sunday – Veterans Inc 2023 Run4Heroes 5K Road Race, Registration begins at 8 a.m, race begins at 10:30 a.m at the start/finish line in front of Wormtown Brewery, on Shrewsbury St., Worcester, MA. All participants will indulge in a post-race celebration featuring food, a complimentary beer from Wormtown Brewery, live music, exciting prizes, and more! If you can’t make it in person this year, we are offering a virtual sign-up option as well! Just run a 5k before the deadline, submit your times, and we will recognize your participation and honor the virtual winner alongside the in-person honorees.

November 11, 2023 Warren Dental, 634 Main Street, Warren RI , 9 AM – 2 PM – Honoring Our Veterans. A FREE day of dentistry for Veterans. CALL TO SCHEDULE (401)245-5825.

November 20, 2023, Monday – VFW Post, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton, RI FREE. FREE luncheon for Veterans from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Italian American War veterans of the US and Building Bridges

November 23, 2023, Thanksgiving – Free Thanksgiving Dinner for veterans and guest, or veteran spouse, and dependents at Perella’s Ristorante, 311 Metacom Ave, Warren RI. FREE Thanksgiving Dinner for Veterans at Perella’s Ristorante sponsored by Italian American War Veterans of the US /Department of Rhode Island. can start making reservations by email [email protected] or phone (401) 677-9838 (DO NOT CALL PERELLA’s). Space availability will allow non-veterans to make reservations. Raffles, donations, and silenet auction will benefit ITAM Recreational and Transportation Fund. MORE INFO TO FOLLOW. Transportation for Veterans from Veterans Home is AVAILABLE by ITAM. Donations are welcomed, make check made out to ITAM ( note Thanksgiving in the remarks): mail to ITAM , 18 Winchester Ave, North Smithfield RI 02896.Volunteers are welcome, contact ITAM , (401) 677-9838.

December, 2023

December 2, 2023, Saturday – Comedy Show and Italian Buffet Dinner (Veal/Chicken Parmigiana /pasta/salad, dessert. Dinner fundraiser for ITAM Rhode Island Veterans Relief and Recreational Fund, VFW, Shove Street, Tiverton RI. Tickets $40, doors open at 6 p.m. Tables of 8 available for $200 to groups. For tickets contact the Italian American War Veterans of US.


Travel/Entertainment for 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 documentationDept of Environmental Management logo proving eligibility when they apply:

· Active-Duty Service members – Military ID

· Veterans – DD214

· Disabled Veterans – VA Disability Certification Letter, contact your 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.

RI state parks logoThe 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, 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: 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 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.