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RI Veterans leave for Kentucky with truck of supplies for veterans in need – John A. Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer,

                             Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Over the weekend, members of American Legion Post Berard Desjarlias Post #88 received donations of needed supplies for the tornado victims in Kentucky. Local veterans and the community worked throughout the weekend packing the supplies in trucks, and the first truck left on Monday for Kentucky, loaded with desperately needed equipment and supplies.

“Once we received the commitment from Rainbow Moving that they could be here for the supplies on Monday, we worked to ensure the supplies were ready for shipment, “ said Ray Trinque, Post Commander, “The supplies were in dire need by our partner post in Kentucky who would be receiving and distributing the supplies to veterans and their families.”

Among the supplies were 15 generators and coolers packed as kits. Extension cords, work gloves, chain saws, first aid kits, etc. were some of the other items packed and loaded into the truck provided by Rainbow Movers of Franklin, Massachusetts.

“The Rainbow Movers name was my great grandfather’s Army division, and in 1918 when he left the military, he named the company after his division,” said Erin McEnaney, owner of the moving company that donated all boxes and transportation to Kentucky. McEnaney added, “we’re humbled to help the veterans and those in need.”

After the truck was loaded, Trinque handed the Rainbow Mover driver a U.S. Flag and a Rhode Island Flag signed by most of those who had donated. The flags will be delivered and handed over to the American Legion Post #23 in Kentucky.

The flag of Rhode Island features an anchor that symbolizes hope. Surrounding the anchor are thirteen stars that represent both the original 13 colonies and Rhode Island’s role as the 13th state to ratify the Constitution. There is a ribbon below the anchor that has the state’s motto, “Hope.”

After an estimated 50 volunteer members and others from the community loaded the truck for about an hour, it departed the American Legion Post on Chapel Street in Harrisville with a police and fire escort from Harrisville Police and Fire Department.

The supplies will arrive in the next five to seven days in Kentucky. “Our partnering American Legion Post in Kentucky will be the drop and distribution point,” said Trinque.

The Rhode Island veterans will continue to accept donations of generators, gas cans, outdoor heavy-duty extension cords, batteries, coolers, and other items needed. “We are scheduling driving down in January with a few campers and trailers being donated,” said another veteran. The campers and trailers are needed as temporary shelter and storage, and the veterans are also seeking donations of those items, too.

Campers, RVs, and trailers with wheels that can be towed and left for veterans in Kentucky are all especially needed. If you have a camper or mobile trailer to donate, please contact John at (401)677-9838, who will coordinate pick-up and provide a receipt to be used for the IRS as a donation. 

“We have a GoFundMe that donations can be made to allow us to purchase additional items for the next shipment,” said Linda D Andrea, Town of Burrillville Veteran Service Officer, and a member of the Post.

Donations can be made through the American Legion Go Fund Me site, Veterans in Need of Helping Hand, Veterans Needing Helping Hand in Kentucky, organized by John Cianci. Checks can also be mailed to the American Legion Post #88, 111 Chapel Street, Harrisville, RI 02830.


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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.