Two american flags and a dog tag on a white background.

RI Veterans: Did you know? (dental, Camp LeJeune, Cruise-in…) 29-09-22 – John A. Cianci

We start off with questions from a few of our readers:

Q1 I read last week’s column on federal and state benefits for veterans receiving a 100% VA disability compensation. How do I get dental care thru the Veterans Administration? Frank, Providence.

If you plan on using the dental and the VA Providence Medical you can call the dental clinic (401) 457-3018. Over the phone the clinic will verify your eligibility and schedule an initial appointment.

VETTIP – The clinic is across from the main hospital. Even if you are at the VA Providence Medical Center, you can not enter the clinic, you must call for information and or scheduling an initial appointment. 

After verification, the  clinic will set up an initial appointment, which the clinic did for me, for the first week of November. 

Q2 Should I call one of the attorneys if I served at Camp Lejuene? Chris, Providence

First, if you have any illness or medical condition you believe is related to your service while stationed at Camp Lejurne, I recommend you file a claim with the VA before calling any lawyer advertising. 

The attorneys advertising for clients serving at Camp Lejurne , more than likely, are seeking clients outside and in addition to filing a claim.  

In 2022, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed to provide justice for the victims of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The Act requires that the injured person, or the representative of a deceased injured person, first, file an administrative claim for damages. It allows certain individuals to sue and recover damages for harm from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. This action is available only to individuals who were exposed to contaminated water for at least 30 days.

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina is the exclusive venue for actions brought pursuant to the Act. The Act precludes the U.S. Government from asserting immunity that otherwise would be available in response to litigation. The law also overrides a North Carolina statute of repose that precludes the filing of tort claims after ten years. Punitive damages are not available for claims brought under the Act and awards will be offset by the amount of any disability award, payment, or benefit received by the claimant from any program administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Medicare program, or the Medicaid program in connection with health care or a disability relating to exposure to water supplied by or on behalf of the U.S. Government at Camp Lejeune. 

Based on the information currently available and my understanding of the act, I recommend if you are a veteran, you file a claim with the VA. Since this act was recently passed into law, I would recommend you stand fast on agreeing with an attorney to represent you.

Below is a list of presumption illnesses recognized by the VA for veterans who served and were stationed at Camp Lejeune, according to the VA website:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

VETTIP – If you have an illness not listed on the presumption, I would still file a claim. Illnesses not on the list could also be linked to being exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune, the difference the claim would be processed through the normal claim process. Reservists and Guardsmen are also covered by this act, even if you ARE NOT eligible for VA healthcare. Simply put, put a claim in.

It’s the price our war veterans paid for our freedom.

The 7th Annual War Veterans Tribute Cruise In will be held on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at the Rhode Island Veterans Home.

The origin of the war veterans cruise goes back to 2017 when two friends, Jeremiah O’Connor and Bob Langley were stuck in traffic on Route 136 and could see the entrance of the old Veterans Home.  While sitting in traffic, both determined the layout of the grounds of the Home made it an ideal spot to have a car show. A committee was formed to plan the show.

Shortly thereafter, the first car show was held and raised several thousand dollars that would be donated to the Veterans Home for the sole purpose to provide additional items not being provided by the State of Rhode Island.

Other shows followed, except 2020 because of COVID.

Thousands of dollars have been raised for the veterans. The committee sponsored numerous events for the veterans residing at the veterans home to include St. Joseph’s/St. Patrick Day party in the Gally, WWII party for the WWII veterans and their family on Victory Day, and other entertainment, to include dancing performances at the Veterans Home.

All expenditures of money raised are reviewed and voted on by the committee. The committee secretary keeps notes of the meeting. 

“Chairman Thompson reviewed all receipts prior to writing out the checks. WE are required to turn over all receipts to the chairman who maintains the account with the receipts,” said Cianci.

In 2021, members of the committee,  Jeremiah O’Connor, John Choquette, Jose Thompson incorporated as a non-profit with the State of Rhode for a specific purpose: activities to raise funds for veterans.

Sadly, during COVID, the veteran agent residing at the veterans home, John Choquette passed away prior to last year’s car cruise. Additionally, another original founder, O’Connor, submitted his resignation as a director and all positions in February 2022, however, he remained on the committee assisting in planning this year’s show.

Friends of the RI Veterans Home

John “Jack” Choquette is in light blue shirt, above.

Jack would always tell me how much he loved the show, – “the roar of the motorcycles”, said John Cianci, current Secretary of War Veterans Tribute Cruise In and member of the Rhode Military Truck and Car Club.

“Without Jerry sharing his knowledge,  skills, and advice for this year’s event, car cruises could not be successful,” said Cianci who joined the committee last year and was voted secretary and agent since the passing of Choquette.

Last year’s show was dedicated to the memory of Choquette.

This year the cruise is expecting 300-500 vehicles to register for the event. All the vehicles registered for the show will receive a commemorative dog tag.

Admission is free to the public, and registration for the show is from 9:00-12:00. 

Judges of best in category will be from 2-3 veterans living at the Rhode Island Veterans Home. 

Coca-Cola, Patriot Subaru, RINEWSTODAY, Perralla’s Ristorante, VFW Bristol are some organizations who have made donations to the committee for the car cruise

About a dozen military vehicles in a convoy will open the show at approximately 11:45 on Sunday leading a small parade.

The Italian American War Veterans of the US, American Legion Post 88, and Auxiliaries of both organizations will be manning the sausage, peppers, and onions station at the food court.

“The sausage sandwiches were awesome, and I had two,” said the Korean War veteran in the wheelchair who came outside to see cars and enjoy the food. All food and drinks are FREE to the veterans who live in the veterans home.

“It’s nice to see the joy of the veterans who come outside and enjoy the activities of the day,” said Wendy, one of the volunteers from the Auxiliary. 

The 7th Annual War Veterans Tribute Cruise In, is held on the grounds of RI Veteran Home, Metacom Ave, Bristol RI. 


Rhode Island Secures Grant for Veteran Suicide Prevention

Governor Dan McKee announced this week that the The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has been awarded $750,000 in federal funds to coordinate with the Providence Veterans Administration Medical Center (VA), other State agencies, and a range of community partners to implement a three-year program to address the issues of mental health and suicide among Rhode Island veterans and their families.

The Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will support community-based suicide prevention efforts through outreach, suicide prevention services, and connections to healthcare and community resources.

“Suicide among service members, veterans, and their families is a public health crisis, and we all have an obligation to be part of the solution,” said Governor Dan McKee. “This grant will help us strengthen the existing support network we have in Rhode Island for veterans and their families, and it will help us put in place new strategies to keep veterans healthy and safe.”

“We are striving to create systems in Rhode Island that help our servicemembers and their families live long, healthy lives starting the moment they enlist,” said Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. “This funding will allow our experts at RIDOH apply their expertise in community-based care to mental health issues, including suicide. I’m grateful to our congressional delegation for making this state and federal partnership possible.”

“Veteran suicide rates are decreasing, but they are still too high and we’ve got to keep working to ensure every veteran gets the care and help they need. Programs like this are going to continue to help do that. I wrote the 988 suicide prevention law to make it easier for people in crisis to get help and helped pass the Commander John Scott Hannon Act to deliver this latest round of federal aid and help veterans get the integrated care they need, when they need it,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, who led efforts to deliver $174 million in federal funding for this grant program nationwide and encouraged the state to apply. Reed also helped include a total of $497 million for veterans suicide prevention outreach efforts in the latest appropriations law.

“The epidemic of suicide among veterans and their families is as tragic as it is unacceptable,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the highest caliber of care, so I’m glad that these federal dollars will be used to help connect veterans and their families with the mental health resources they deserve.”

“Across our country, we are sadly still losing far too many veterans to suicide after they return from service. To ensure that veterans have 24/7 access to assistance, I have led the annual appropriations request in Congress for the Veterans Crisis Line, ensuring support for those seeking to address mental health issues, particularly thoughts of suicide. As we see the need for mental health services expand, we must also provide additional support for community-based programs, ensuring that our veterans can begin healing their invisible wounds,” said Congressman Cicilline. “I’m glad to see this coalition coming together, with the aid of federal grant, to implement this new program that will help save veterans’ lives. I will continue to work to ensure that this program, and others like it, get the support they need to help every veteran who needs it.” “Community must be at the heart of work to prevent suicides among veterans. These grant funds will allow us to build upon the collaborations we have developed over years with partners in the healthcare community, veterans’ affairs community, and the social support network in Rhode Island,” said Interim Director of Health Utpala Bandy, MD, MPH. “We need to get help to people with behavioral health challenges consistently and

comprehensively, in the same way that we do for physical health conditions. This is especially true when it comes to veterans.”

In addition to the VA, key partners will include the Executive Office of Health and Humans Services (EOHHS), the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services, other military-serving organizations, such as Operation Stand Down, the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RIDOC), organizations that serve Rhode Islanders with unstable housing, and BH Link. RIDOH also intends to engage non-traditional partners, such as barbershops and hair stylists to reach veterans who may be resistant to traditional outreach from the VA or other institutions.

Work will likely focus on gun safety, getting veterans connected to care at the VA, a coordinated system for referring veterans to care, trainings for healthcare providers on the unique needs of veterans, and the development of education material, amongst other areas.

“The Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant will strengthen existing partnerships across local, state, federal and community organizations, allowing unified and collective engagement for veteran suicide prevention,” said Kasim Yarn, Director of the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services. “Hope serves as a key and necessary anchor to strengthen veterans facing challenging life circumstances; our daily work is centered around providing that hope and a hand-up to all Rhode Island veterans and their families. Our veterans should know that they are not alone, and this grant will expand our outreach to spread hope and end suicide.”

The work supported by this grant will blend community-based prevention with evidence-based clinical strategies to serve Rhode Island’s 62,000 veterans and their families. Nationally, the suicide rate for veterans is 1.5 times higher than that of the general population. In Rhode Island there were 14 veteran suicides in 2020, as reported by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A veteran who is struggling and needs support can call the Veteran Crisis Hotline (dial 988 then press 1), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK), or the Providence VA Medical Health Care System (401-273-7100 x 13057). If someone is in immediate danger, call 911.


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.


Discounts for Veterans


No Problem Plumbing and Heating LLC 15% 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.