Vets enjoyed raffles, food and entertainment by the Swinging Seniors
It was a full house at the Tewksbury Senior Center for the annual Veterans Breakfast today. Veterans agent Lisa Downey thanked Blair House, Clear Path for Veterans, Donna’s Donuts and Army veteran and Select Board vice-chair James Mackey for their generous donations of breakfast items.
“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” said Downey, below. In her welcome remarks, she expressed the community’s gratitude and reaffirmed Tewksbury’s committment to its veterans.
“As we take a moment to reflect on the profound impact of our veterans, let us also remember that the spirit of Veterans Day goes beyond a single day on the calendar,” said Downey. “It should serve as a reminder to express our gratitude, respect and support to our veterans every day.”
Town staff and first responders served guests. From left to right, below, DPW director Kevin Hardiman, town accountant Al Rego, Tewksbury Fire Department Chief Joe Kearns, assistant town manager Steve Sadwick, town manager Richard Montuori, Tewksbury Police Chief Ryan Columbus, TPD officer Michael Jones, officer Katrina Valeri, sergeant Lauren Strong, and Senior Center activities coordinator Diane Dunlevy.
Senator Barry Finegold visited with veterans. Finegold recently filed legislation to help reservists with service-connected disabilities.
Finegold also attended the recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Soldier On veteran’s housing project at 1660 Main St., where he highlighted $250,000 in state funding earmarked for the project. Below, Soldier On Veteran Community Coordinator Courtney DiCicco, with Joe Gill, attended the breakfast and gave an update on the progress of this project.
After some delays due to the extremely wet summer, DiCicco said the project is on track to open to veterans in Oct. 2024. In addition to $500,000 from the town and $650,000 from the Affordable Housing Program, she said the group has applied for $3.9 million from the state Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, among other funding sources. As the facility gets closer to opening, Soldier On will reach out to the community for help filling Amazon Wish list items. For now, anyone who knows a veteran who would like to apply for one of the 21 units should have them reach out.
Vinnie Oliva from Tewksbury’s VFW Post 8164 and Richard Frank from American Legion spoke. Both organizations are looking for new members. The VFW is open to those who served in combat overseas, while the Legion is open to any veterans who served from 1941 to the present, male or female, and have been honorably discharged. The Legion meets the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Rod & Gun Club, while Post 8164 meets next on Monday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at TJ Callahan’s.
Finally, Senior Center director Jan Conole reminded attendees to get their tickets for the Silvertones dance on Nov. 17 and the Christmas party on Dec. 10. A full calendar can be found in the newsletter, here. Conole also said Mackey will present a program in December on how to avoid scams.
Thanks to COA staff, La Vita Dolce and the Swinging Seniors Chorus!