Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massachusetts. Show all posts

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Fort Carson Staff Sgt. killed by police after domestic disturbance

Army staff sergeant shot and killed after allegedly pointing rifle at police through basement window

Army Times
Kyle Rempfer
April 30,2020

Thorpe, a 28-year-old combat veteran assigned to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, joined the Army on May 22, 2012, according to his service history. His home of record is Canton, Massachusetts. He had been assigned to Fort Carson since April 14, 2016.

Thorpe deployed to Afghanistan between May 2, 2013, and Dec. 1, 2013.
(Blackfoot Troop 4-10 Cavalry Regiment)
An Afghanistan veteran and non-commissioned officer was shot and killed by four police officers on April 19 after he allegedly picked up a rifle and pointed it at them through a basement window, Colorado Springs Police Department officials said.

Staff Sgt. Virgill Thorpe, a cavalry scout assigned to nearby Fort Carson, was shot on a Sunday night. A woman had called police to report a domestic disturbance in which a man was armed with a rifle. Officers arrived at the 3200 block of Oak Creek Drive East in Colorado Springs at roughly 10 p.m. and spoke at the front door with Thorpe.

“There was a verbal exchange. The suspect then ran inside ... downstairs to the basement of the residence where the [reporting party] was at,” said Colorado Springs Police spokesman Lt. Jim Sokolik.

“Officers were on the outside of the residence and could see through the basement window that he picked up a rifle," Sokolik added. “He then pointed that rifle at the officers who were outside the residence, through the basement window. And that’s when the officers fired.”

All four officers fired shots. Until the coroner’s report comes back, which takes about four weeks or longer, police cannot say definitively how many times Thorpe was struck. Sokolik could also not say how many rounds were fired in total or how large the basement window was through which Thorpe pointed his rifle.
read it here

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Seth Moulton 'Fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire' and Washington

'Fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire': The only 2020 Democrat to experience combat finds it counts for little in political arena

The Washington Examiner
by Emily Larsen
September 07, 2019
But despite having what one Republican strategist described as “the most perfect resume of all time,” Moulton made barely a ripple in the crowded field of presidential hopefuls during his four-month bid. When his campaign ended last month, so too did the possibility that Democrats would nominate an experienced battle leader to be the next commander in chief.

It has been more than three decades since the United States elected as commander in chief a veteran who fought in combat. In 2020, that period will be extended after the only candidate who fought in battle dropped out without making a debate stage or registering above 1% in polls.

Two other Democratic candidates served in uniform in a war zone — Pete Buttigieg in Afghanistan and Tulsi Gabbard in Iraq — but neither fired a weapon or themselves came under fire. President Trump avoided Vietnam service because of bone spurs, Democratic front-runner Joe Biden because of asthma.

By contrast, Seth Moulton, 40, a Massachusetts congressman, served four tours in Iraq during his seven years as a Marine Corps officer from 2001 to 2008, retiring as a captain. He fought in one of the first American units to reach Baghdad in 2003 and led troops in intense battles in which some of his Marines were killed or wounded. He was awarded two medals for valor.

“I felt when I came back from Iraq that I'd seen the consequences of failed leadership in Washington, decisions made by people in Congress and the White House who had no idea what it was like to be a Marine in the infantry on the ground,” Moulton said. “I don't think you can ever fully understand it [combat] unless you've been through it yourself."
read it here

'You remain a frickin' coward': Trump taunting a 2020 Democratic candidate and retired Marine isn't a laughing matter for some veterans
Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts during the singing of the national anthem. Stephan Savoia/AP

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Massachusetts was warned about Zhukovskyy before Jarheads deaths

Nearly 900 drivers suspended in wake of deadly motorcycle crash in New Hampshire

USA Today
Joey Garrison
July 5, 2019

Connecticut also mailed the Massachusetts RMV as notice, but like thousands of other out-of-state notifications, it was discarded into one of 58 mail bins in a state facility in Quincy, Massachusetts.

BOSTON — The embattled Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has suspended an additional 330 drivers whose past violations in other states had gone unprocessed after thousands of notices piled up in mail bins inside a registry facility for the past 15 months.

The RMV's lapse in processing out-of-state suspensions was discovered in the aftermath of a horrific crash in Randolph, New Hampshire, in which Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, a 23-year-old truck driver, crossed a double-yellow line, collided with a group of bikers and killed seven motorcyclists.

In all, 876 Massachusetts drivers whose out-of-state traffic infractions had previously been overlooked have now had their licenses suspended in the two weeks since a deadly motorcycle crash in New Hampshire exposed severe deficiencies within the RMV.
read it here

Sunday, June 30, 2019

"The thing that brings us all together is love..." at Jarheads funeral

'Tough to Lose Your Brothers': Funerals Held for Marine Motorcycle Club Bikers

The Associated Press
By Michael Casey
29 Jun 2019
"The thing that brings us all together is love, love for my Dad." Matthew Ferazzi
Members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club and a police honor guard salute as the casket of Michael Ferazzi is loaded into a hearse outside St. Peter's Catholic Church in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Friday, June 28, 2019. Ferazzi, a motorcyclist and retired police officer, was killed in a fiery crash that claimed the lives of seven people riding with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club in New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — A motorcyclist who was among seven killed in a collision with a pickup truck last week was a family man, proud Marine and dedicated public servant, mourners said Friday at a funeral that drew about 200 people, including leather-clad bikers and law enforcement officers.

The funeral for Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire, was held at a church in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The rumbling of motorcycles echoed through town as dozens of bikes made their way to the service.

Many riders were fellow members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, with which Ferazzi and the other six killed were riding when they died. They hugged one another as Ferazzi's flag-draped casket was carried into the church and offered a military salute alongside their bikes as the service ended with the Marine Corps hymn on bagpipes.

"Tough to lose your brothers, especially so many at one time," said Jarheads member Paul Downey as he and his fellow bikers got on their motorcycles for the ride to the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

"He had a lot more life in him," said retired Lt. Col. Joe Murray. Ferazzi was in his American Legion post, he said, and the two marched in parades together.

"He didn't need to die when he was obviously enjoying the ride with his buddies," Murray said. "But it's good he died doing something he loved."
read more here

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

If you want to help the Jar Heads

Here is what to do if you want to help after a tragedy

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 19, 2019

Right now, everyone wants to help the Jarheads after the terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of 7 of their group.

Right now they need all the support they can get, but it is more important they receive the right kind of help. 

While the shock is still fresh for them, many will experience a harder time after the funerals. Some may think it is their job to stay strong for the others, and that is OK, as long as they allow themselves time to grieve.

Let them honor what they are feeling so they can begin healing. 

If they are angry do not try to shut it down. Help them yell at the air, hit pillows, stomp their feet...let them release it.

If they want to cry, let them. Hold their hand, walk beside them or sit near them. Let them know you are there for whatever they need. Do not try to stop their tears. They will stop crying when they get out as much pain as they need to.

If they want to talk, listen to them. Do not try to fix them. They do not need to be "fixed" and you finding something to say is not what they need from you. They need your ear, your time and patience.

If you think about what you would want from them if you were in their place, that will help you know what to much as you will know what to not do, or get as close as you can.

There is no time limit to grieving other than as long as it takes them to do it. No two people are the same.

If you are a survivor, know that the guilt you may feel is "normal" but whatever you think you may have been able to do, it was not like the movie you can play out in your own mind. Most of the time, what you think you should have done, or could have done, is usually impossible. 

Do not blame yourself any more than you blame God. He did not do this, but He did send people to help comfort you as much as they can. Lean on those who care about you so you can heal. After all, you'd probably do the same for them.

Within 30 days, if you address what you are going through, your pain should ease up. Flashbacks and nightmares should begin to lose power. 

While the pain may be there for a long time, as long as it is not as strong, keep working on it.

If your pain is stronger after 30 days, contact a mental health professional so that you can work on healing with their help.

Know that if you are hit by PTSD, it hit you because your emotional core is strong. As you feel good stuff stronger, you feel pain on a deeper level. As a survivor use that strength to help you heal.

Honor your feelings so you can begin healing! Trying to "get over it" or "stuff it" lets that pain spread out like an infection.

If I can help contact me at or 407-754-5426 and it will be kept confidential.

Motorcycle club leader says resignation of RMV head over N.H. crash is ‘ridiculous’

Boston Globe
By Travis Andersen and John Hilliard Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent
June 26, 2019

The head of a motorcycle club that lost seven people in a horrific New Hampshire crash last week said Wednesday that the abrupt resignation of the Massachusetts RMV boss is a “ridiculous” response to the tragedy, allegedly caused by a West Springfield man who kept his commercial driver’s license after an impaired driving arrest last month in Connecticut.

“It’s ridiculous for someone to be allowed to resign, or forced to resign . . . [and] run away from the problem,” said Manny Ribeiro, president of Jarheads MC, which lost seven riders who were killed June 21 when a truck driven by Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, allegedly plowed into them in Randolph, N.H.
read more here

‘It was extremely horrific’: Jarheads motorcycle club president describes New Hampshire crash scene

“It was like nothing I’d ever seen — never in my life.”
By Dialynn Dwyer
June 25, 2019

A Marine who survived the deadly New Hampshire crash that killed seven motorcyclists says what he witnessed that day was worse than anything he saw in combat.

Manny Ribeiro and his wife, Valerie, were riding in the front of the group of motorcyclists with Jarheads MC, a New England-based club for Marine veterans and their spouses, when an oncoming pickup truck hauling a trailer collided with other bikers in the group on Friday evening in Randolph, New Hampshire.

“It was like nothing I’d ever seen — never in my life,” he told reporters on Monday, according to CBS Boston.

The driver of the pickup, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide. Authorities have not revealed details about the potential cause of the crash, only that Zhukovskyy was traveling west on U.S. 2 while the bikers were headed east at the time.

Ribeiro, who is now serving as president of Jarheads MC, told the Associated Press that the 21 riders in the group of 15 motorcycles had just finished dinner and were on their way to a fundraiser at a nearby American Legion post.

The motorcyclist had been riding beside the club’s president, Albert Mazza Jr., 59, of Lee, New Hampshire, at the time of the crash.

“It was just an explosion … with parts and Al and everything flying through the air,” he said. “He turned hard left into us and took out pretty much everyone behind me. The truck and trailer stayed attached and that is why it was so devastating … because the trailer was attached and it was such a big trailer, it was like a whip. It just cleaned us out.”
read more here

To contact the JarHeads go here

Monday, June 3, 2019

Veteran denied VA Mortgage because of legal cannabis company

update A Revere veteran’s legal marijuana job cost him a VA loan. Now, Congress is stepping in

On Friday, it passed a measure banning the VA from considering veterans’ income from state-approved cannabis industries as a reason to deny them their benefit of a low-rate home loan guarantee with no money down.

VA denies Mass. veteran home loan over his legal marijuana job

Boston Globe
By Naomi Martin Globe Staff
June 3, 2019
Veterans who work in the marijuana industry face financial consequences. Retired Army Major Tye Reedy, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, lost his military pension for working as director of operations at Acreage Holdings, one of the nation’s largest cannabis companies, according to a Barron’s report.

Parade participants march through town during the annual Memorial Day Parade in Naugatuck, Conn., on May 27.(SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES)

The couple, crammed in a tiny Revere apartment with two kids and a third on the way, had spent months searching for a house they could afford.

It wasn’t easy in Massachusetts’ pricey market. But the man, a disabled Army veteran, had one advantage — a military benefit, a loan guarantee, that would provide a low-rate mortgage with no money down.

Finally, in November, they found a yellow split-level ranch in Dracut they loved — it had a giant living room, a two-car garage, and a nice yard for the kids. The veteran filed his Army paperwork.
read more here

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Seth Moulton trying to make a difference on PTSD...because he has it

Seth Moulton discloses PTSD, unveils military mental health proposal


“Just because other presidents haven’t talked about this openly doesn’t mean that presidents haven’t dealt with these issues in the past,” Moulton said.
Democratic presidential candidate Seth Moulton said he hopes opening up about his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder would help ease the stigma that veterans and nonveterans feel when confronting mental illness. | Scott Eisen/Getty Images
The Democratic presidential candidate sought treatment after his combat deployments during the Iraq War.

Rep. Seth Moulton, a Marine veteran who is running for president, will introduce a plan Tuesday evening to expand military mental health services and will disclose that he sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder after his combat deployments during the Iraq War.

“I had some particular experiences or regrets from the war that I just thought about every day, and occasionally I’d have bad dreams or wake up in a cold sweat,” the Massachusetts Democrat told POLITICO in an interview ahead of a Tuesday night event in Massachusetts that will begin a Veterans Mental Health Tour in early-primary states. “But because these experiences weren’t debilitating — I didn’t feel suicidal or completely withdrawn, and I was doing fine in school — it took me a while to appreciate that I was dealing with post-traumatic stress and I was dealing with an experience that a lot of other veterans have.”

Moulton arrived home in 2008 and sought counseling in 2009, trying a few therapists before finding one he connected with and met with weekly.

“I got to the point where these experiences weren’t haunting me every day,” he said. “They’ll always be there and there will always be regrets that I have, but I got to a point where I could deal with them and manage them. It’s been a few years now since I’ve woken up in a cold sweat in bed from a bad dream or felt so withdrawn from my friends or whatever that I would just go home and go to bed because I miss being overseas with the Marines.”
Some politicians below the presidential level have been able to openly discuss mental health treatment and still win their elections. Former Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota told voters before winning his first term in 2010 that he had been taking antidepressants. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said he had PTSD after serving in Iraq.
read more here

Friday, May 24, 2019

Vietnam War Memorial vandalized in Massachusetts days before Memorial Day

A Vietnam veterans memorial was vandalized with a swastika. Police want to find out who did it

May 24, 2019

(CNN)Several days before Memorial Day, a Vietnam War memorial in Massachusetts has been vandalized with "hate-related" graffiti.
Police are canvassing the area near the memorial in Dorchester, about six miles from Boston. Early Thursday, flags were ripped down and tossed; dozens of plants were torn from the ground; and stone monuments were marked with hateful graffiti -- including a swastika -- according to a press release from the Massachusetts State Police.

In addition to graffiti, police say flags were torn down and plants were ripped from the ground. In addition to graffiti, police say flags were torn down and plants were ripped from the ground. The memorial is on a space owned by The University of Massachusetts Boston and includes the names of 80 Vietnam War veterans, according to the university.

"The University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts State Police condemn this despicable act and are conducting a thorough and coordinated investigation to determine who is responsible and to hold that person or persons accountable," the release said.
read more here

Friday, May 3, 2019

Man called VA claiming to be suicidal...then streamed it on social media as a joke!

Fall River man accused of placing hoax suicide call to VA hotline, making racist comments

WHDH News Boston
May 2, 2019

FALL RIVER, MASS. (WHDH) - A Fall River man is facing a raft of criminal charges after police say he streamed himself live on social media making a hoax phone call to a Veteran Affairs Hotline during which he claimed to be contemplating suicide and disparaged the hotline staff member’s race and ethnicity, police said.

Officers responding to a call from the Veterans Affairs Hotline indicating that a man on Senate Road was threatening to commit suicide with a firearm spoke with Kenneth Fillion, 37, who initially provided them with a fake name, according to the Fall River Police Department.

During the investigation, police say Fillion admitted to making the prank call while streaming himself live on social media as a joke.

He was arrested after officers discovered that he had three outstanding warrants.
read more here

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Vietnam Veteran, Firefighter died fighting fire

Town of Marion mourns death of veteran firefighter

February 27th 2019

MARION, Mass. (WJAR) — A 45-year-veteran of the Marion Fire Department passed away Wednesday in the line of duty.

Marion town officials said Firefighter Thomas Nye, 72, helped extinguish a fire on Point Road Tuesday and then collapsed early Wednesday morning after suffering from an apparent cardiac arrest incident.

Thomas Nye passed away in the line of duty Wednesday. (Marion Fire Department)
Nye was taken to Tobey Hospital in Wareham where he was pronounced dead.

"Firefighter Nye was a proud firefighter who served our community with distinction. We are a call fire department, and Firefighter Nye anchored our Station 2 during the day. While many of our younger firefighters are working their private jobs, he was always available when people needed help." Marion Fire Chief Brian Jackvony said. "We are all feeling the loss of our friend and brother firefighter today."

Nye was a Vietnam veteran and also worked as an auto mechanic. Officials said Nye was known for his handy work and was always helping service the station's equipment.
read more here

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Privacy Law protects first responders being treated for PTSD

New Law Protects Privacy of First Responders Seeking Mental Health Treatment

Karen Hensel
January 16, 2019

Those stories included the night that Boston Police Sgt. Brian Fleming recalled nearly took his own life. It was his first time the now-retired officer and peer support counselor talked about what happened. "I took a gun out, put it to my head," Fleming said. "I wanted to die."

Massachusetts police officers and firefighters say a new bill signed into law Wednesday will allow them to ask for help and will save lives.

Surrounded by first responders and lawmakers, Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill allowing first responders to seek guidance from their peers confidentially. They say that one-on-one conversation with someone who has also been through similar experiences will help them cope with the traumatic events experienced in the line of duty.

They say they can now confide without fear the conversation will be used against them on the job.

"Providing law enforcement officers with the ability to confidentially seek guidance from their peers will help them cope with the events they experience in the line of duty," said Baker. "We are thankful for the Legislature and law enforcement for their advocacy on this bill to increase support for services and reduce stigma around mental health issues. I am glad people saw it through and got it done."
read more here

Saturday, December 15, 2018

December 13, 1636, thus marks the beginning of the organized militia

National Guard Birth Date December 13, 1636

We recognize December 13th as the birthday of the National Guard. On this date in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts. 

Based upon an order of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's General Court, the colony's militia was organized into three permanent regiments to better defend the colony. 

Today, the descendants of these first regiments - the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military. December 13, 1636, thus marks the beginning of the organized militia, and the birth of the National Guard's oldest organized units is symbolic of the founding of all the state, territory, and District of Columbia militias that collectively make up today's National Guard.

Belated Happy Birthday to all the members of the National Guard for what you do for us everyday!!! The wish may be delivered late, but you guys are never late!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Sgt. 1st Class Eric M. Emond killed on 7th tour

Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, Co-founder of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, killed in Afghanistan

November 28, 2018

One of the special forces soldiers killed Tuesday in Afghanistan was a co-founder of a Massachusetts organization that provides support for veterans and gold star families. 

Sgt. 1st Class Eric M. Emond, 39, succumbed to wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle during operations in Ghanzi province, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday. 

Also killed were Captain Andrew P. Ross, 29, and Air Force Staff Sgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25. Emond and Ross were both members of the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. 

Emond was a native of Boston who had more than 21 years of military service in the Marine Corps and Army. He was on his seventh overseas tour. read more here

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Roxbury Social Services got Vietnam Veteran out of needs help

Helping a Homeless Vet Drains Roxbury Social Services Account

Tap Into Roxbury
October 30, 2018
Roxbury Social Services can be reached at (973) 448-2026. Wald can be emailed at Donations can also be made through Friends of Roxbury Social Services.
ROXBURY, NJ – When Roxbury Social Services Director Janet Wald learned about the Vietnam veteran living in his car, Wald did what she usually does: Everything she could to help.

Her efforts aided the fellow, at least temporarily, but they also pretty much wiped out the money Social Services sets aside for temporary housing of the homeless.

The matter was raised by Roxbury Councilman Bob DeFillippo at a recent meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council. He asked Roxbury residents to donate some money to help replenish Wald’s temporary housing account.

“Social Services could really use some help, so I’m giving a shout-out to the community,” Defillippo said. “Janet could use some donations … to replenish that housing budget.”

Wald said she expended about $1,200 helping the man.

“This gentleman, a veteran, was also a New York City policeman and a 9/11 responder,” Wald said. “He ended up homeless. He was living out of his car.”

On top of that, the 69-year-old was suffering from a “pretty big hole” in his foot caused by an ulcer and was “going back and forth to a doctor,” according to Wald.
read more here

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Southeastern Massachusetts Veteran of the Year Helping Veterans Recover

New Bedford veteran overcame his troubles and now helps other veterans

Sun Coast Today
Curt Brown
October 23, 2018

Azevedo was deployed to Desert Storm with the U.S. Navy from 1988 to 1991 and was with the Naval Reserve until 1993 and received an honorable discharge in 1994. He worked as a corrections officer and then became a member of the New Bedford Fire Department, after leaving the Navy.

But then 9/11 happened and Azevedo had a change of heart after the terrorist attacks. He remembers hearing the sound of fighter jets over his deck flying from Cape Cod hours after the attacks, he said.
NEW BEDFORD — A New Bedford veteran, who is devoting his life to helping others after suffering a combat-related brain injury in Iraq, is this year’s Southeastern Massachusetts Veteran of the Year.

Christopher E. Azevedo, 48, who also recently retired from the New Bedford Fire Department, was unanimously selected by the Board of Directors of the Veterans Transition House for the honor, according to Wayne Carvalho, chairman of the board. “We all feel he epitomizes what struggle is for veterans and the ability to give back,” Carvalho said.

Azevedo will receive the award at a luncheon at Rachel’s Lakeside, 950 State Road, Dartmouth, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 8.

He said he does not help others for the recognition and was floored when he received a phone call from board member Linda Silveira, informing him he was selected as this year’s Veteran of the Year. He was nominated last year, did not receive it and never thought he would be nominated again, let alone receive it.
During his deployment, he survived numerous attacks, but in one direct hit to his vehicle from an IED, he suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as damage to his spine and chest, he said.

Azevedo suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from his service, which he still battles today, and was overprescribed meds and became addicted to painkillers, he said. He won that battle, too, and has been free of painkillers for five years now and alcohol-free for three years.
read more here

Monday, October 22, 2018

VA Security Guard sent away homeless veteran despite rules

Left in cold by VA medical center, homeless veteran finds kindness in strangers

Boston Globe
Brian MacQuarrie
Globe Staff
October 22, 2018
VA officials said they have no record of an encounter that night between Franks and VA security officers. Under the Bedford VA’s policy, any veteran who turns up homeless can be sheltered in the urgent-care area if no other beds are available, agency officials said.

CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF Navy veteran Norman Franks spent four months in a cramped tent in a campsite on the grounds of Hanscom Air Force Base. (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff)
BEDFORD — At 2 a.m. on a chilly May morning, Norman Franks sat slumped in a chair in a TV lounge at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical center, fighting for snatches of sleep under the glare of ceiling lights, he said.

A Navy veteran of the late 1970s, Franks had led a troubled life. His addiction to crack cocaine led to a long series of armed robberies, which led to 15 years in prison. Now, he found himself homeless.

Franks wanted a clean start, but first he needed a place to live. With no good options, he made his way to the Bedford veterans complex, an outpost of a sprawling federal agency that takes its motto from Abraham Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle.”

Instead, he spent the night in the woods, shivering under a tarp. He stayed there for four of the next five nights, then spent the next four months in a cramped tent in a campsite on the grounds of Hanscom Air Force Base.

As the weeks passed, Franks fell deeper into despair. But slowly, unexpectedly, he was reclaiming some of his life, thanks to a devoted group of strangers — members of an American Legion post, volunteers from a Catholic parish, even from a congressman’s staff — who felt obliged to aid a veteran in need.
read more here

Friday, September 28, 2018

New home for disabled veteran vandalized by teenagers!

2 juveniles arrested for allegedly vandalizing home under construction for disabled veteran in Hanson
SEPTEMBER 26, 2018

HANSON, MASS. (WHDH) - Two juveniles were arrested in Hanson, accused of vandalizing a home under construction for a disabled veteran.
The teenage boys, whose names were not released, smashed every single window on a house being built by Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors — the first one this charity has built here in Massachusetts.

“This house is for a veteran. He’s a single-leg amputee, and his home right now doesn’t work for him on several levels,” said Karalexis, the lead project manager. “So what our organization does, we come in here, we build a fully functional handicapped home.”

Karalexis says the damage is so extensive, it’ll set them back weeks.

The home is free for the wounded veteran, but it costs construction crews time and money.

“They’re all mortgage-free,” Karalexis said. “We purchase the house, and the only way to do that is with the generosity of corporations. Every penny counts and the pennies go toward the projects.”

They estimate the damage at $50,000.
read more here

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fire Department Captain "I thought I was bulletproof"

First Responders and PTSD: Still waiting to just get over it? Pay attention! Your life is calling in sick. Time to #TakeBackYourLife

First responders can be haunted by close encounters with suffering and death

“I thought I was bulletproof. I thought nothing ever bothered me.”

Captain Rick Stack, a long-time North Attleboro firefighter, has been diagnosed with PTSD.
But beneath the aura of command he cultivated, invisible damage was webbing slowly outward. Stack didn’t know it yet, but the job was taking a toll — week after week, month after month, year after year. In time, his own suffering would break through the surface.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Weymouth Police Officer-Iraq Veteran killed in line of duty

Massachusetts police officer, bystander die from gunshot wounds
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Grimes described Chesna as a 42-year-old Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 4 and 9.
WEYMOUTH, Mass. — A Massachusetts police officer and bystander died Sunday from wounds sustained when a suspect allegedly took the officer’s gun and fired following a vehicle crash and a foot chase.

Authorities said Weymouth officer Michael Chesna was shot multiple times by his own fire arm before 8 a.m. Sunday, and died from the injures at South Shore Hospital.

Officials said an unidentified elderly woman also died after being hit by stray bullets in a nearby home.

Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes said the shooting suspect, Emmanuel Lopes, was in custody. No additional information about Lopes has been released.
read more here

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Amputee Peter Damon painting inspiration

Veteran who lost both arms in Iraq discovers a talent for painting
July 3, 2018

"I don't see it that way. Suffering an injury like this sort of has a way of making you focus on what's important in life." Peter Damon

Peter Damon at work on a painting CBS NEWS

MIDDLEBORO Mass. -- Peter Damon turns out about 30 paintings a year and sells them for between $250 and $1,500. That's not enough to make ends meet, but it has made him whole again. He lost both arms in Iraq.

"Having this skill or pursuing this skill that even able-bodied people find difficult was something that really sort of gave me a boost and sort of made me feel like I fit in more in the world," Damon said.

He was an Army helicopter mechanic working on landing gear in 2003 when pressurized gas blew it apart, killing one soldier and gravely injuring him. "I lost my right arm above the elbow, about three inches above the elbow, and my left about six inches below," he explained.

Damon was a blue-collar guy who had been an electrician before he joined the Army.

"How am I going to make a living and take care of my family? I had always worked with my hands," he said.

Then with a simple little drawing, a new future opened up for him.

"I was kind of miraculous in a way," Damon said. "Something was telling me to focus on this and everything will be alright."
read more here