A silhouette of a soldier saluting in front of an american flag.

RI Veterans: Did you know? 04.05.23 (Father Marciano, events, resources) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans issues

Veteran, Father Marciano – 2023 Verrazzano Day Committee Italian American of the Year

Father Robert L. Marciano, current president of Bishop Hendricken High School, and retired Rhode Island Air National Guard colonel, will be honored on May 21 as the Verrazano Day Person of the Year Award at a black-tie event held at Quonset, Oak Club, North Kingstown.

“Father Marciano was nominated by the Italian American War Veterans for his distinguished military career and public service to the state of Rhode Island” said John Cianci, State Commander of the Department of Rhode Island Italian American War Veterans of US, Inc.

The award was established in 1961 by the Rhode Island Italian American War Veterans and the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America. The Verrazzano Day Observance Committee was incorporated by the two Italian-American organizations to honor the memory of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the Florentine navigator who discovered Narragansett Bay in 1524 and who described in his report to King Francis I that the island which he discovered was like the “Isle of Rhodes.”

From his report, history credits Verrazzano for having been indirectly responsible for naming the State of Rhode Island. The annual event honoring the navigator also is held to honor an outstanding leader of the Rhode Island community.

The committee comprises 18 members of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, and Department of Rhode Island Italian American War Veterans of the United States Inc.

“Proud to have another veteran honored not only for his military service, but ongoing service to the community,” said Cianci, “last year’s recipient, Rep. Camille F.J. Vella-Wilkinson (D-Dist. 21, Warwick) was the first female veteran to receive the honor in over 60 years”. Vella-Wilkinson will present Marciano with the award at the event on May 21, 2023.

Father Marciano served 36 years in the military, retiring on October 1, 2016. His duties included serving as State Command Chaplain/Rhode Island Nation Guard, Chief of Chaplains/ National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon in Washington, , D. C Chaplains for the Air National Guard.

Fr. Marciano, a 1975 graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School, has been pastor of St. Kevin Church and School in Warwick since 2012 and Administrator of Saint Benedict Parish, Warwick since 2017. Among his many accolades, Fr. Marciano serves as Chaplain and a team member of the Campus Ministry at Bryant University, Chaplain of the Warwick Fire Department and served as a Chaplain in the Rhode Island Air National Guard from 1994-2016.

From 2006 to 2010, he served at the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and as Chief of Chaplains for the Air National Guard rising to the rank of Colonel. On September 15, 2016, Fr. Bob retired as Chaplain for the Rhode Island National Guard , numerous hot spots to include Iraq, , Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Water Reed Hospital in Washington, Wing Chaplain for the 143 Airlift Wing at Quonset and numerous other duty station throughout the United States.

Father’s military accomplishments include being the distinguished graduate of the Air War College at the Pentagon in June 2007. In  2004, he was named Chaplain of the Year for the Air National Guard.

“The more I see, the more I think that God was at work in bringing us the best of the best,” said Brigadier General and Chaplain John B. Ellington, Jr. former director of the National Guard Chaplaincy said during made the official announcement appointing Father Marciano as Chief of Chaplains in 2008. 

Marciano’s career started in 1980 by joining a chaplaincy program in the Air Force Reserves with his desire to see the world. To join the Air Force Reservice, he had to get consent of then then Bishop Louis Edward Gelineau.

He is a graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School (1975), Providence College (B.A., 1979), St. John’s Seminary, Brighton, MA (M.Div., 1983), and Air War College, United States Air Force (Distinguished Graduate, 2007).

He has served in many previous parochial assignments within the Diocese of Providence.  Chaplain for the Rhode Island National Guard.

Father also serves in the following capacities:

  • Chaplain, Colonel (Ret.), Rhode Island National Guard
    • Chaplain, Colonel for the Warwick Police Department
    • Chaplain, Deputy Chief for the Warwick Fire Department
    • Chaplain, Major for the Rhode Island Airport Police Department
    • Chaplain, Deputy Assistant Chief for the Providence Fire Department

According to Father, his most trying was his assignment to the Mortuary Recovery Team at the Pentagon immediately following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, where he prayed and worked with the victims and the family and friends of those who lost their lives.

Father Robert is well-known in Rhode Island. The son of Alfred and the late Mary (DiTata) Marciano, he graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 1975 and Providence College in 1979. With a Master of Divinity degree from St. John’s Seminary in Brighton MA, he has served as a parish priest in the Diocese of Providence since 1983, most recently at SS. Rose and Clement from 1994-2006.

He is currently President of Bishop Hendricken High School, a role he has had been in since being appointed in 2019. He also served as chaplain to the Warwick police and fire departments, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, and as chaplain for the 143rd Airlift Wing of the R.I. National Guard in Quonset.

A few months ago, this writer was one of the committee members to inform Father Marciano of his nomination for the award. One could see since retiring from military service he has not slowed down.

Limited tickets remain available. For more information or to purchase tickets, please call Camille at 952-7340

Like the commercial depicting the Energizer Bunny, Father Marciano’s dedication and service to country and community appears to be to indefinitely.

RINEWSTODAY salutes Rev. Robert Marciano and thank you for your service.


RITA Announces Partnership with Wreaths Across America to form Virtual Convoy to Raise Awareness and Support for the Mission

Statewide effort will support local programs while honoring and remembering our nation’s veterans laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery. The Rhode Island Trucking Association(RITA) is proud to announce its participation in a statewide Virtual Convoy in partnership with national nonprofit Wreaths Across America (WAA).

The Virtual Convoy kicks off this month across the country. The goal is simple, help raise awareness for WAA’s year-round mission to Remember the fallen, Honor those that serve, and Teach the next generation the value of freedom, while helping each raise funds to support for local programs important to the people of Rhode Island. Through WAA’s Group Sponsorship Program, the Rhode Island Trucking Association is registered as a $5 pay back Sponsorship Group supporting Arlington National Cemetery – where more than 400,000 servicemembers, representing every U.S. conflict and the state of Rhode Island, are laid to rest.

Through this effort, the Rhode Island Trucking Association will be working to fill (virtually) one trailer load of sponsored veterans’ wreaths to send to Arlington National Cemetery this December. This is approximately 5,000 wreaths which will be laid on the final resting place of servicemembers from our state. With each $17 veteran’s wreath sponsored, an American hero receives a wreath, and the year-round mission of WAA is supported, AND the Association will receive $5 back! These funds will be used for our association’s 501c3 workforce development initiatives to include internships, scholarship and educational outreach.

“This is a brilliant, win-win program that funds the placement of wreaths at graves of our greatest heroes while also educating the next generation about their sacrifices,” said RITA President Chris Maxwell.

“At the same time, a portion of the sponsorship will go back to RITA’s own charitable leg – the Rhode Island Trucking Association(RITA)Foundation whose purpose is to inspire, promote and facilitate careers in trucking for that same next generation.”

“Each year, WAA partners with more than 300 transportation companies who help us “move the mission.” These companies donate equipment, fuel, staffing, and time to deliver loads of sponsored veterans’ wreaths to their final resting places on the headstones of our nation’s servicemembers laid to rest at more than 3,700 participating cemeteries nationwide,” said Courtney George, Manager of Transportation and Industry Relations, WAA. “The Virtual Convoy which will help expand this reach within the industry through the partnership and support of State Trucking Associations across the country.”

To support the Rhode Island Trucking Association in reaching its goal, please consider sponsoring a wreath at



May 1, 2023, Monday Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House, 9-11 am. Roma Ristorante, 310 Atwells Ave, Providence (free parking across the street). Veterans and their guests are invited. Refreshments are available, which include Italian toast, pastries, and calzones. Any questions call Italian American War Veterans of US, (401) 677-9838.

May 6, 2023, Memorial Day Parade Pasta Dinner Saturday, May 6th 4pm-7pm at Lincoln Senior Center- 150 Jenckes Hill Rd. Adults-$15, Children $10, Ages 5 and under free.

In addition to entry to the pasta dinner, purchase of one of these tickets will enter you in our raffle, to be eligible to win an awesome prize from local Lincoln businesses! Come enjoy great food, music, and lots of raffle prizes! Tickets are available for purchase at Town Hall – 100 Old River Rd., We Roast Coffee – 276 Front St., Ted’s Paint – 194 Front St., and Lincoln Senior Center – 150 Jenckes Hill Rd.

Any questions please email [email protected] or call 401-333-8416 / 401-333-8417. All proceeds go towards the Lincoln Memorial Day Parade Celebration!

May 13, 2023, 2023 BOOT CAMP BREAKFAST Saturday 9:00 a.m – 1:00pm, AAA/Warwick City Hall Annex, 65 Centerville Rd., Warwick RI., Rhode Island Military Organization & The City of Warwick Welcomes Veterans and Seniors to join us,2023 BOOT CAMP BREAKFAST. Free Continental Breakfast Graciously Sponsored by Mary Giordano, NY Life Insurance Company Agent. The event will have numerous organizations for veterans to learn about federal, state, and local benefits. Assistance with enrollment in VA health care and benefits will also be available.

May 15, 2023, Veterans Luncheon, 11: 30 to 1:00 p.m., Connection….Conversation….Friendship FREE Lunch (dine in only)for veterans and his or her guest at Perella’s Ristorante, Metacom Ave., Warren RI. The restaurant is closed and only open for this private event for veterans and their guest.


Wreaths Across America Announces 2023 Youth Service Project 

Wreaths Across America (WAA) announces the 2023 Youth Service Project as part of its year-round TEACH program. The project will tie into the national nonprofit’s 2023 theme, ‘Serve and Succeed.’

The Youth Service Project encourages young people of all ages and grade levels to develop, organize and execute a community service project to improve the lives of veterans or others in their local community. By participating in, and successfully completing the Serve and Succeed project of their choosing, students will receive a certificate of community service award and commemorative bracelet from WAA.

Each participant will be entered into a random drawing for the opportunity to visit the National Wreaths Across America Museum, Gold Star History and Hospitality House and the tip land monuments where replica dog tags from thousands of service men and women are hung in remembrance. The service project needs to be completed by Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2023.

Throughout the year, the WAA TEACH program provides educational opportunities for people nationwide to engage with veterans in their communities. In 2022 generous supporters made it possible for WAA to launch a K-12 curriculum that is aligned with the National Council on Social Studies and state Common Core standards. The free, downloadable lesson plans ensure stories of service, sacrifice and valor are passed down to future generations while building good character and self-worth through service to others. WAA also launched its first Youth Service Project in 2022, where students participated in an oral history project interviewing veteran. The contest winner, randomly selected from among the participants, was recently selected and will be publicly acknowledged at the organization’s annual Stem to Stone event held in Maine each summer.

“Teaching younger generations, the value of freedom and the importance of honoring those who sacrificed is a core part of our mission, but we want our young people to know you do not have to be in the military to serve,” said Cindy Tatum, WAA TEACH Curriculum Developer and Gold Star Mother. “The WAA 2023 Youth Service Project encourages America’s youth to create, develop, and execute a community service project that will benefit Veterans or others in their local community or the global community. No act of service is too small, and we look forward to the impactful projects students will submit.”

To learn more about the TEACH program and participate in the service project, please visit


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 LLC15% 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 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.