Get-together to honor post-9/11 veterans set this Saturday

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Four veterans organizations – the VFW Department of Rhode Island Service Office, Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post 2812, Providence VA Regional Office and VA Medical Center – will host a Post-911 Get-Together this Saturday, Jan. 25, which will be focused on the needs of veterans.

It will take place at the Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post, located at 1418 Plainfield Pike on the Cranston-Johnston line.

“All post-9/11 veterans are cordially invited,” offered Raymond Denisewich, service officer for the VFW Department of Rhode Island. “We’ll begin with a social hour featuring free food and drinks as well as music by Tony Weaver at the Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post and admission is free.”

After the social hour, which will run from 5-6 p.m., Kasim Yarn, the state’s director of veterans affairs, will deliver a welcome address. He will be followed by VFW Commander Michael Carter, who will introduce professional advocates and VA personnel for what Denisewich said will be “some short presentations.”

Once those presentations are complete, there will be time for continued socialization and direct interaction with the presenters and benefits advocates.

“Veterans who have questions about healthcare, benefits and the Veterans of Foreign Wars will be answered by the VFW-VA team,” Denisewich went on. “The event will conclude with a summary of how the VFW can help our post-9/11 veterans and what is the way forward for those people in partnership with the VFW.”

Denisewich then further explained that, “We all thought we need a different approach to engage our post-9/11 veterans. The post-911 veterans initiative began in November 2019 after the committee identified need to get our post-9/11 veterans enrolled in VA healthcare system and apply for earned benefits to include disability compensation, educational and vocational rehabilitation.”

Moreover, as Denisewich and committee members noted: “A large number of post-9/11 vets were not applying for either healthcare or benefits and we needed an out of-the-box solution, so we thought a social get get-together with our highly trained professional VFW advocates and VA subject matter experts would work.”

Today, as Denisewich and committee members Adam DeCiccio and Rachael Garcia related, “there are more post-9/11 veterans than any other group of veterans, and these post-9/11 veterans require our assistance and given the highly complex nature of VA compensation benefits, we need to identify, assist and advocate for as many post-9/11 veterans as possible.”

Also, as a number of committee officials wanted it known, the young post-9/11 veterans are not applying for their earned benefits and now is the time. The service office is motivated, trained and ready to assist all veterans and the focus for this event in the post-911 veterans. Denisewich noted that the office is comprised of unpaid volunteers.

Saturday night’s event will conclude with remarks and future events recommendations.

“This will be the first of many events with the intent to focus on the special healthcare and benefits needs of post-9/11 veterans, their modern approach to social media communication and their specific generational and cultural needs,” Denisewich said.

Denisewich, who is the VFW Department of RI service officer and a VFW Post 2812 trustee, can be reached at 644-8066 for further information. He also issued a “thank you” to Kelley-Gazzerro VFW Post 2812, DAV Chapter 1, Tony Weaver and Spirito’s Restaurant for hosting. 

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