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

RI Veterans: Did you know? TriCare, local events, resources… – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans issues

Questions from one of our readers:

With COVID benefits, I think I’m losing my healthcare coverage thru the State of Rhode Island. Do I have any options as a retired National Guard member for medical coverage? Steve, 56, retired RI Guard soldier, Smithfield

Steve, if you are a retired Guardsman or Reservist eligible for retirement pay at age 60, you do have an option for health insurance thru TRICARE Retired Reserve.

Tricare Options for Retiring Army National Guard or Reserve

If you are a retiree from the Guard and or Reserve, your age determines which health plan you may enroll in.

Under Age 60

TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) is available for retired members of the National Guard and Reserve under age 60 and their eligible family members.  Before age 60, retired members of the Reserve Component are “Gray Area Retirees”. They don’t qualify for TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select Coverage. If you don’t qualify purchase TRR, you don’t qualify for any other TRICARE health plans until you turn age 60.

TRICARE Retired Reserve(TRR) Monthly Premiums

According to TRICARE TRR website,, member only annual deductible is $182 in network, $82 annual deductible.

More information on TRICARE TRR:

TRICARE Retired Reserve is:

  • A premium-based plan 
  • Available worldwide 
  • For qualified Select Reserve members and their families

Who Can Participate?

  • Retired Reserve members who are:
  • Members of the retired Reserve of a Reserve Component who are qualified for non-regular retirement under 10 U.S.C., Chapter 1223
  • Under age 60 
  • Not eligible for, or enrolled in, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program  
  • Family members of qualified Retired Reserve members              
  • Survivors of retired Reserve members if:
  • The sponsor was covered by TRICARE Retired Reserve when he or she died. 
  • They are immediate family members of the deceased sponsor (spouses cannot have remarried). 
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve coverage would begin before the date the deceased sponsor would have turned 60 years old. 
  • Survivor coverage is not affected by FEHB eligibility.

How it Works

Schedule an appointment with any TRICARE-authorized provider. An authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. DS.

If you visit a non-network provider, you’ll pay higher cost shares and may have to file your own health care claims. 

If you visit a network provider, you’ll pay lower cost shares and the provider will file health care claims for you.

Or request an appointment at a military hospital or clinic, if space is available.

Referrals are not required but you may need pre-authorization from your regional contractor for some types of services.

What You Pay

  • Monthly premiums 
  • Annual deductible
  • Cost share (or percentage) for covered services

>>View TRICARE Retired Reserve Costs

Is TRICARE Retired Reserve Right for You?

TRICARE Retired Reserve may be the right option for you and your family if you qualify. The plan provides comprehensive health care coverage upon your retirement, and you do not have to wait until you reach age 60 and begin drawing retired pay to purchase the plan. Plus, because you can see any provider, you don’t have to change providers if you already have one.

How to Enroll 

>>>Visit the TRICARE Retired Reserve Enrollment Page to Learn More

For information on disenrolling or ending plan coverage, visit the Ending TRICARE Ready Reserve Coverage page.

* Retired Reserve members located overseas may submit an enrollment request at a TRICARE Service Center.

Questions about eligibility?

If you have questions regarding your eligibility, please contact your National Guard or Reserve Point of Contact.

Points of Contact for Eligibility Questions Concerning TRICARE Reserve Select and TRICARE Retired Reserve

Army National Guard

For TRICARE TRR Reserve eligibility questions contact Rhode Island Army National Guard – Retirement Service Office (RSO).

Telephone number: (401) 275-4142/4144

Email: ng.ri.riarng,[email protected]

Address:   Joint Force Headquarters, Camp Fogarty, 2841 South County Trail, Bldg 330, East Greenwich, RI 02818

Navy Reserve
Commercial: 757-322-2263/ 2621/ 2495

E-mail:  [email protected]

For questions regarding Navy Reserve retirements, contact the Navy Personnel Command at 866-824-5672

Marine Corps Reserve
For any questions regarding TRS contact your unit administrative section. Questions that can’t be handled at that level should be directed to the Marine Corps Reserve Project Officer. Specific TRS Policy questions can be directed to the HQMC Reserve Affairs TRS Program Manager at (703) 784-9138.

Air National Guard

Total Force Service Center – Denver

Commercial: 800—525-0102

DSN: 926-6730

FAX: 478-327-2215 (Global Access Fax Server) DSN: 497-2215

Email: [email protected] – Please add as Subject: “TRS Inquiry”

24/7/365 global Online Customer Service:


Providence College designated a Military Friendly® School  

April 11, 2023/RINewsToday

PC Awarded Silver Rank

Providence College (PC) announced today that it has earned the silver rank of a 2023-2024 Military Friendly® School designation. Institutions earning the Military Friendly® School designation were evaluated using both public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. More than 1,800 schools participated in the 2023-2024 survey, 530 schools earned awards level designations in Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The 2023- 2024 Military Friendly® Schools list will be published in the May and October issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and can be found at

“Providence College is honored to receive this designation from Military Friendly,” said Sean. F. Reid, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and a retired U.S. Navy officer. “Supporting military members, as well as their family members, has been a priority for PC for generations. We are deeply committed to assisting service members with their educational needs and in their transition to college students. It’s the least we could do to show our gratitude for their service.” 


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 veterans. 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

About Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery begun by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester in 1992. The organization’s mission – Remember, Honor, Teach – is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond. For more information or to sponsor a wreath please visit



April 23, 2023 – Chopstick Auction for Department VFW Auxiliary Ways and Means Committee, Kelley Grazzero Post #2812, 1418 Plainfield Street, Cranston RI. Auction starts 1:00 p.m., more information call Stephen Doherty, (401) 500-1255 

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!


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.