A group of sailors posing for a photo.

RI Veterans: Did you know? 8-09-22 (VSOs, Voting, Navy honors…) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

We start off with a question from one of our readers:

Q: Looking over last week’s listing of municipalities that grant a veteran tax exemption on property tax I did not see West Warwick on the list? Deb S, West Warwick.

A: Yes, Deb just omitted by mistake. West Warwick grants a $10,000 tax exemption for eligible  veterans, which is equal to approximate $220 annual credit on the veteran’s tax. The Town of West Warwick also grants additional tax credit for totally disabled veterans receiving Veterans Administration compensation.

Thanks for bringing this oversight to our attention.


Did you know the Town of Burrillville is one of the only towns/cities who has an assigned Veteran Service Officer to assist veterans in navigating federal, state, and local benefits?

Did you know the State of Massachusetts has a law that mandates each city and town to have a Veteran Service Officer to assist veterans navigate federal, state, and local benefits?

In Rhode Island, the town of Burrillville is the only municipality, as best as we can determine, with a town Veteran Service Officer.

Unlike the bordering states of Connecticut and Massachusetts, our Rhode Island towns and cities, except the town of Burrillville, do not have an assigned town or city Veteran Service Officer (VSO), which is intertwined with lack of funding provided by the federal and state government.

What is a town or city VSO?

Town or city VSOs are veterans first point of contact in the community for accessing services. VSOs assist veterans in accessing a range of benefits, including service connected benefits, enrollment in VA health care, VA home loans, education benefits, and available job placement assistance.

Veterans are not always aware of the benefits available to them, and VSOs are often the first to inform them about their eligibility. VSOs assist veterans filing claims in their town and or city.  Moreover, town or city VSOs connect the veteran to his or her community they have been separated from for months and years while serving on active duty.

The Italian American War Veterans of the US VSO assistance called all Rhode Island cities and towns. Results as follow:

1. Town of Burrillville the only municipality providing office space and financial assistance for a town VSO.

Picture of Linda D’Andrea Peck at American Legion Post #88.

2. Town of Warren has a resident VSO volunteer who town veterans are referred to for assistance.

3. Almost 75% of the towns and cities responding said that veterans seeking assistance are referred to local veteran organizations. However, only 2 of 23 towns and cities could provide a name or telephone number for the veteran to contact.

The State of Massachusetts has Veterans’ Service Officers in every city and town in Massachusetts, per Massachusetts state law. Massachusetts VSOs deliver essential services to eligible veterans and their dependents. Some roles of VSOs include:

  • Outreach services to veterans to educate on benefits and services
  • Offering referrals to programs and services for veterans and their dependents
  • Taking applications for state veterans’ benefits including Chapter 115 financial benefits and the annuity program
  • Helping veterans access employment assistance through career centers and related programs
  • Coordinates veteran observances including Memorial Day and Veterans Day

On the federal side, the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach (CVSO) Act would authorize $250 million over five years in federal competitive grant funding to expand and support CVSOs or similar local entities. The new personnel resources outlined under the CVSO Act would enable counties to better meet the needs of local veterans.  

During the last legislative session,  a Rhode Island House Bill 7632 was introduced. This act would have every city and town maintain a municipal veterans’ service officer. It would also authorize a $100,000 appropriation to be used for support and outreach for veterans.

Here is part of that bill:

Read the full bill, here:

The Committee recommended measures be held for further study. Simply stated, the bill did not pass during the last session.

According to the Italian American War Veterans of the US National Veteran Service Officer, John Cianci, working with the Burrillville town VSO, over 100 town and local veterans have sought assistance with his or her benefits or needs.

“Many of the veterans do not know about state benefits available to them.” said D’Andrea-Peck.” 1-2 times a month we assist local veterans in completing an application for Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery.”

According to Cianci, half of the local veterans D’Andrea-Peck has assisted have been bottlenecked in the bureaucracy of the VA and or the State of Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services.

“There’s a reason the State of Rhode Island was the only state veterans home illegally charging veterans for their care at the home –,” said Cianci. “Leadership of the Office of Veterans Services let it happen, even months after the ITAM organization brought it to their attention, and lack of VSOs the veterans and their family could reach out to for help.”

Voting? Next Tuesday – and early voting is also underway now. Here’s our recommendations for Veterans interests.

Veterans are encouraged to seek candidates’ positions on :

1.     Legislation mirrored HB 7632 mandating every local town or city to have municipality veterans service officers. 

Does MA and CT care more for their state veterans living throughout the towns and cities of the state since laws are passed mandating each town and or city to have veteran service officers?

The State of Rhode Island can position themselves for future grants from the federal government for veterans service officers. Let our current leadership continue improving the lives of veterans and their families by passing legislation impacting veterans quality of life.

In conclusion, over 60,000 veterans reside in the State of Rhode Island and veterans do vote. Veterans are encouraged to seek the candidates position on a similar bill HB 7632 being introduced in the upcoming session.

Closing with a quote:

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle for his widow and his orphan’--Lincoln


100 Birthday Wishes 

Antonio “Tony” Faella a happy 100th birthday. Mr. Faella, a Kingston resident and U.S. Navy veteran

Members of Kingston Congregational Church spent time after service wishing Antonio “Tony” Faella a happy 100th birthday. Mr. Faella, a Kingston resident and U.S. Navy veteran, made 5 combat tours on the submarine USS Spearfish during the Second World War. Photo Credit: Michelle Girasole.



September 15 & 16 – Operation Stand Down RI Veteran Assistance Event:

Saturday, September 17 (9AM to 5PM) & Sunday, September 18th (9AM to 3PM), 20th Annual Military Vehicle Show, Canonicus Camp and Conference Center, 54 Exeter Rd. Exeter RI. For vendor information contact Bruce Ferreira (401) 651-4950. The show is sponsored by the Rhode Island Military Vehicle Collectors Club.

October 2, 2022, 7th Annual War Veterans Tribute Cruise In, RI Veteran Home, Metacom Ave, Bristol RI. Registration 9:00-12:00. One of the last and largest car show in Rhode Island. Awards at 3:00. For more information contact Joe Thompson at [email protected]


RESOURCES & ongoing groups

Below are all of 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.




No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC 10% military discount , ask for Ron Gaynor, (401) 568-6666. Veterans must provide proof of eligibity 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 07/31/2028

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 07/31/2028 (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 –  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 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 – 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, 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.