RI Veterans: Did you know? 30.05.24 (VA info, bikes, events, volunteer needs..) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans issues

Did you know you VA Health Card has an expiration date on it?

Did you know your VA Health Card could be confiscated if expired and you present it for base access?

VETTIP: RINEWSTODAY reached out to a few military installations who advised any ID card presented for access to the base, normal protocol is to confiscate the card.

Question from one of our readers:

Q: I have a VA ID card that has an expiration date of June 3, 2024, how do I get a new one? Will I be denied benefits because the card is expired?

Last week, while at the VA Medical Center, it was brought to my attention, was VA ID cards have an expiration date on them. Immediately, I pulled out my card, which had an expiration of 10/12/2024.

How/where to Update your VA ID card

In Person

If you need to update your VA ID card, visit the enrollment office at VA Providence Medical, Chalkstone Ave. Providence , 1st floor, enrollment office, (to your right immediately after the facility). No appointment is necessary for this process. Normal business hours, 8:30-4:00. The staff at the enrollment office are there to assist you in updating your information. Don’t hesitate to ask any VA employee for guidance or assistance. They are more than willing to help you navigate the process of updating or obtaining a new VA ID card.

VETTIP: The room is located on 1st floor, when you immediately enter the facility, to your right. Just bring you old card, and VA employee will assist you in acquiring a new VA ID card.

By Phone

According to the VA website, you can call to request a new VA-ID card.

You can request a replacement VHIC by calling your local VA medical facility or 877-222-8387, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m

More information on VA Health Card from VA website:

  • VA ID card

Valid for 10 years, you can renew an expired card at the enrollment office.

  • Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card

If your PIV card expires, you should contact your sponsor and take steps to get a new one as soon as possible. VA security personnel may confiscate expired PIV cards.

  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

As a Veteran receiving health care, one of the most crucial assets you possess is your VA ID card. It’s imperative to understand why maintaining and updating your VA ID card is essential and how you can ensure it remains functional.

Importance of Maintaining Your VA ID Card

Identification at VA Facilities

Your VA ID card serves as your primary identification at VA facilities. Whether you’re seeking medical care, accessing benefits, or attending appointments, this card is vital. It streamlines the identification process, reducing potential human errors and allowing seamless access to your personal files and medical records.

Check-in for Appointments

When you have appointments at VA facilities, your VA ID card is a necessity for check-in. It helps staff quickly verify your identity, ensuring a smooth and efficient process..

Inspecting Your VA ID Card for Serviceability

Image Accuracy

Ensure that the photo on your card accurately reflects your current appearance. If not, it might be time for an update.

Expiration Check

Regularly check the expiration date on your VA ID card. An expired card might hinder your access to services and benefits. If your card has expired or is about to, it’s crucial to visit the enrollment office for a renewal.

Ensuring Barcode and Card Information Accuracy

Your VA ID card’s barcode and information play a pivotal role in swiftly accessing the benefits and services you’re entitled to as a veteran. Regularly inspecting and ensuring the integrity of these components is essential for a hassle-free experience when utilizing your card at VA facilities. If you notice any issues with the barcode, information accuracy, or physical wear on the card, promptly address them by seeking a replacement or an update at your nearest VA enrollment office.

Maintaining and updating your VA ID card is pivotal for ensuring a smooth experience when accessing VA services and benefits. Whether for medical care, benefit claims, or appointments, a functional and up-to-date VA ID card simplifies the process. The VA is committed to assisting veterans in this regard, providing the necessary resources and support for a hassle-free experience.

Veterans have sacrificed and served our nation, and the VA ID card is a token of appreciation and commitment to providing the care and support deserved. By keeping your VA ID card current and well-maintained, you’re taking a proactive step to ensure that you receive the benefits and services you’ve rightfully earned through your service to the country.



If you are a veteran or member of Armed forces and have a child in need of a bike, contact the Italian American War Veterans of US (ITAM)  (401) 677-9838. ITAM has bikes available thru Ocean State Job Lot program providing FREE bikes to children of veterans and members of the Armed forces.

Ocean State Job Lot Announces Successful Conclusion of ‘Buy-Give-Get’ Bike Program for Children of Military Families in Need

Ocean State Job Lot (OSJL), a leading discount retailer with 153 stores across New England and the Mid-Atlantic, is proud to announce the successful conclusion of its inaugural ‘Buy-Give-Get’ bike program.

The program, which ran from May 14 th to May 22 nd , invited customers to buy a children’s bike for $100.00 at any OSJL store, give it back to the store, and get a $100.00 Crazy Deal Gift Card for future purchases. The overwhelming generosity of OSJL customers has made it possible to provide 1,800 bikes to children of military families across the Northeast.

“We’re deeply grateful to our loyal customers for their incredible support of our first-ever ‘Buy-Give-Get’ bikes program,” said David Sarlitto, Executive Director of the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation. “Thanks to their generosity, we’re able to bring joy and the simple pleasure of riding a bike to children whose parents have sacrificed so much.”

The donated bikes will be distributed with the help of partners such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, USA Veterans, and other veteran services. Significant events include donations at Vets Fest in Philadelphia, PA, and at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington,DC, where bikes will be given to the children of recovering veterans.

The Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation has a long history of philanthropic leadership, supporting numerous causes, including feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, assisting veterans and military families, aiding animal rescue, caring for children, advancing healthcare, supporting the arts,and promoting learning. The Foundation’s operational, administrative, and overhead expenses are covered by Ocean State Job Lot, not the Foundation, ensuring that 100% of every dollar raised through the Foundation goes directly to helping those in need. Ocean State Job Lot is headquartered in the Quonset Point Business Park at 375 Commerce Park Road, North Kingstown, RI 02852. Phone: (401) 295-2672; Website:


Follow-Up On Memorial Day Events


May 30, 2024 – The House of Representatives will host its annual Military and Veterans Outreach Day on Thursday, May 30, from 2 to 5 p.m. on the second floor of the State House. The event, which is being organized by Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick), will give veterans and their families an opportunity to network and get a greater understanding of the resources available to them.

This annual event has been very successful, encouraging veterans and military families to become engaged with their state government,” said Representative Vella-Wilkinson, a Navy veteran who serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Veterans are important part of our constituency and we’d like to see them become more involved in state government. It is also an excellent opportunity for the organizations to network with one another, share resources and maximize services for the veterans community statewide.”

Veterans and their families will be given an opportunity to meet their state representatives and discuss the issues that have an impact on their lives. The event is free and open to the public. Any organization that provides direct services to veterans and military families that is interested in participating in this event may call Representative Vella-Wilkinson at (401) 952-7340.

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.

June 17, 2024 – 11:00-1:00, Free Luncheon, VFW Post 5392, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton. Free for veteran and guest. Lunch  menu: Clam cakes, chowder, Nathan Hot Dogs, Macaroni and Potato Salad, and TBA.


Vargas Auto Body


Italian American War Veterans of US (ITAM) Volunteer Opportunities:

Leave No Veteran Alone Program – Monday and Saturday, ITAM seeks volunteers to meet up at designated nursing homes to meet and socialize with veterans living at the facility. We schedule the facilities 30 to 60 days in advance. Volunteers socialize with veterans and TRY TO SPOIL them with refreshments we provide.  Point of contact, Wendy Cianci, assistant (401) 677-9838.

Help replace worn or missing American flags – lots of opportunities to assist replacing flags at private cemeteries. John Cianci is point of contact, 401-677-9837.

June 1 South Kingstown Nursing, West Greenwich , Volunteers needs to assist , serve, and socialize with veterans residents and spouses of deceased veterans of facility . Time:10:30 12:30 Veteran luncheon , “ NY Style Hot Wieners” . Contact program coordinator, Wendy Cianci, (401) 677-9838.

June 8 Friendly Nursing Home, Woonsocket RI Luncheon , Clam Cakes and Chowder, corn, watermelon, and dessert. Volunteers needs to assist , serve, and socialize with veterans residents and spouses of deceased veterans of facility . Time:10:30 12:30 Veteran luncheon ,Contact program coordinator, Wendy Cianci, (401) 677-9838.

June 17, 2024 Veteran Luncheon, VFW Post 5392, 134 Shove Street, Tiverton RI, 10:30- 2:00. Volunteers needed for food prep, setup, serving, and socializing with the veterans. Luncheon : Clam Cakes -Chowder, NY Style Hot Weiners, Corn, watermelon, and dessert. Contact program coordinator, Wendy Cianci, (401) 677-9838.

June 24, 2024 Chapel View Senior Living , 11:30 – 1:00 Luncheon : Clam Cakes and Chowder, BBQ Chicken, corn , watermelon, and dessert. Volunteers needed for food prep, setup, serving, and socializing with the veterans.. Contact program coordinator, Wendy Cianci, (401) 677-9838.

June 26, 2024 , Wednesday, 4:30 – 6:00 . Rosarion Club, Providence RI Monthly End of the month dinner for members and their guest of the Italian American War Veterans of US. Invited guest is the family of PFC Anthony John Sivo, KIA Vietnam in 1968.


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) 

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 

Providence Children’s Museum Offers Free Admission to Active Military Families This Summer

Providence Children’s Museum (PCM) announces its participation in the Blue Star Museums program this summer. The national initiative, a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense, provides free admission to all currently serving U.S. military personnel and their families from Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 18, 2024, through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, 2024.


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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