Wreath project stretches to 3rd year…

For the third year in a row Preserving Newbury will be hosting Wreaths Across America in Newbury Massachusetts. Wreaths Across America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 2007 to continue to expand their annual wreath-laying ceremony which started at Arlington National Cemetery and now stretches to cemeteries all around the country. This program was started by a Maine businessman, Morrill Worcester. Wreaths Across America was able to provide every headstone at Arlington National Cemetery a wreath for the first time in 2014 – 227,000 in total. This year Preserving Newbury’s goal is to provide a wreath for every Veteran grave within the town’s limit – 600 in total.

Preserving Newbury understand that we have Veterans’ Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring. However, our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedom. In many homes across the United States there sits an empty seat for a loved one who is serving, or a loved one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. This is why our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach. This mission last all year round – not just for a single day. Throughout the year, Preserving Newbury works numerous ways to show our veterans and their families that they are never forgotten. 
When a volunteer places a wreath on a veteran’s grave we encourage them to speak that Veterans’s name aloud, and thank them for their service and sacrifice. In Newbury we have veterans who have served in just about every war and conflict that the United States has been part of – from American Revolutionary War – to the current conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Stretched amongst 7 burying grounds and cemeteries there are 600 veterans and one resting place of an unknown civil war solider. With Newbury being founded in 1635 some of these veterans served and played a critical role in the American Revolutionary War and the founding of our country. It would serve as a great honor to place a wreath at every veteran headstone within Newbury. If we go over our goal the remaining wreaths will be placed at veteran graves in surrounding communities. 

Engaging Students in South Byfield Cemetery. 

For the 3rd in a row Don’s community group ‘Preserving Newbury’ will be working with Triton’s Football and Soccer team. Every year Preserving Newbury can be found working in cemeteries making sure the veterans graves look great for Veterans’ Day and Wreath Day in December. 

The last couple of years these young athletics from Triton have done community service at the First Parish Burying Ground. Their day generally consisted of raking, clearing brush, pull weeds and basic lawn care maintenance. This year Preserving Newbury will be teaching these students the art of cleaning gravestones.

 Earlier this year Preserving Newbury was taught by a professional Ta Mara Conde from Histroic Gravestone Services on how to clean gravestones. These students will learn the same techniques. 

Town should adopt tax break program for veterans

Earlier this year, I proposed to the Newbury selectmen that they should consider adopting a program to help veterans who own property in town. 
Now, I have a question for the residents of Newbury: Would you be in favor of the town of Newbury adopting M.G.L. Chapter 59 Section 5N — “Reduction of property tax obligation of veteran in exchange for volunteer services”?

By adopting this Mass. General Law, Newbury can establish a program to allow veterans, or a spouse of a veteran in the case where the veteran is deceased or has a service-connected disability, to volunteer to provide services to the town.

Now, in exchange for their volunteer services, the town will reduce the property tax obligations of the veteran. This reduction will be in addition to any exemption or abatement of which otherwise they are entitled to.

The veteran (or spouse) cannot be credited more than the current minimum wage of the state’s minimum wage per hour rate. The reduction of the property tax bill may not exceed $1,000 in a given tax year.

The town would have the power to create local rules and procedures for implementing this program in a way that is consistent with the intent of this program if they choose to adopt this program. It is important to note that adopting this program cannot cause a reduction of workforce or replace existing staff and or positions.

The amount of money reduced of the veteran’s property tax is not considered income, wages or employment. While they volunteer for the town, the veteran will be considered a public employee for the purposes of Chapter 258 and their services will be considered employment for the purposes of unemployment insurance as provided in Chapter 151A.

The selectmen by vote may change the exemption in this program by: (i) allowing a representative for the veterans who are physically unable to provide services to the town; or (ii) allowing the maximum reduction of the property tax bill be based on 125 volunteer hours in a tax year, rather than the $1,000 maximum reduction.

Would you be in favor of Newbury adopting this program? We already have one similar to this for senior citizens in town and some of our surrounding communities have already adopted it.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Newbury’s Special Town Meeting, there will be a vote on whether the town should adopt this or not. I personally think the town should; it would be a great way for the town to show their appreciation and support for veterans.

Thank you all for your consideration on adopting this program in the town of Newbury. This is a small gesture to our veterans in town.

Wreaths Across America, Newbury 2017

Wreaths Across America, Newbury 2017

The Town of Newbury is going into their three year of hosting the Wreaths Across America program.  Wreath Across America started,  ‘National Wreaths Across America Day’, with a goal of to covering all Veterans grave markers nation-wide with a Christmas wreath.

Last year about half of the Veteran grave markers in town received a wreath. That’s more then double the amount of wreaths the program has their first year in Newbury. Creativity and out-of-box thinking proves to be the root of the programs success in Newbury.

Linking of with local community groups, and businesses the program has grown year by year. This year our goal is to provide a wreath for every Veteran grave marker in Newbury (requiring roughly 600 wreaths).


With out the support from local business, the community and friends and family sponsoring wreaths there will be no wreaths to place. If you, or your place is interested in sponsoring a wreath visit http://www.NewburyWreaths.com

Details about this years ceremony are still being planned out. Keep checking Newbury Wreaths as information is constantly being added.


We are always looking for volunteers to help with this great program. If you are interested or would like to learn more please send us an email at NewburyWreaths@gmail.com

Yankee Homecoming 2017 – Veteran’s Luncheon

Yankee Homecoming 2017 – Veteran’s Luncheon

Photo Credit: Byron Eaton – Newburyport Daily News

On August 1, 2017 Yankee Homecoming hosted their annual Veteran’s Luncheon. This event was started by Frank Ventura, a Korean War veteran and long time Newburyport resident. It was sponsored by his son Dan Ventura at Fairway Mortgage of Newburyport.

It’s been an honor to carry on this great tradition started by Frank. This year, over 120 veterans and their guests enjoyed a delicious meal at the Veteran Luncheon. The meal consisted of Pulled Pork sandwiches and coleslaw from Rusty Can in Byfield, MA. The salad and vegetables were donated by Vets & Veggies in Athol, MA. The coffee was donated by Battle Grounds Coffee Company in Haverhill, MA and Cares O-lot Confections provided a delicious American Flag cake along with other assorted desserts. Family and friends also donated desserts and other items.

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Frank’s Hot Dog Stand – Yankee Homecoming 2017

2017 marks the second year of me running, and organizing “Frank’s Hot Dog Stand” as part of Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming. Frank’s Hot Dog Stand was originally ran by Newburyport native Frank Ventura who passed away in July 2016. 

Frank Ventura ran this Hot Dog Stand for several years for Yankee Homecoming. Formally this was referred to as ‘Yankee Homecoming’s Food Booth’, however, given Mr. Ventura’s dedication to the City of Newburyort and Yankee Homecoming we decided to rename the booth in his honor. 

Today, over 500+ Hot Dogs were sold at Frank’s Hot Dog Stand with all proceeds benefiting Yankee Homecoming. The Hot Dog Stand is back of Yankee Homecoming’s Olde Fashion Sunday which is the official kick off day of Yankee Homecoming! 

Looking forward to many years of organizing and running this booth. It is truly an honor and privilege to carry on Frank’s tradition. 

Yankee Homecoming – Veterans’ Luncheon

For the last couple of years Yankee Homecoming has hosted an annual Free Veteran Luncheon. This year the veteran luncheon is being held at the Firefighters Memorial Hall in Newbury. In the years past this event was held at the Elks Club in Newburyport. As a resident of Newbury and a veteran that is extremely active I’ve been working tirelessly the last couple of years to increase veteran related activities in town – relocating this luncheon is a step in that direction. 

In addition to serving a nice hot lunch to veterans; this luncheon also supports other veteran related projects. The vegetables at the luncheon will be from Vets & Veggies, a new nonprofit located in Athol, Mass. 

Vets and Veggies is an organization that provides housing opportunity for veterans and promotes a safe community environment. They work with veterans to establish education goals and job skills. Keeping the veterans hands and mind busy and building their self‐esteem all while growing food for the community. While in this program veterans will have the opportunity to integrate into the local and surrounding community, while learning how to organize and set up a long term sustainable income. 

Veterans love their coffee and I would be crazy not to have coffee at the luncheon for our veterans. In Haverhill there is a brand new coffee shop called “Battle Grounds Coffee Company”. Battle Grounds Coffee Company is an veteran owned and operated business. Battle Grounds is owned by a former Navy Seal Salvatore Defranco and his wife Dana Defranco. Most of the employees are veterans as well. 

As a veteran myself, served 7 years in the Massachusetts National Guard as a Combat Engineer with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a real honor to organize this luncheon for the second year in a row. Over the past could of year I’ve been working on doing more and more things to honor and support veterans in my Town of Newbury. This event is another great step in that direction. 

Any veteran looking to attend or would like to reserve a spot for them and a guest they can email me at veterans@yankeehomecoming.com – this luncheon is open to all veterans.