Yankee Homecoming Veterans Luncheon 2018

Yankee Homecoming Veterans Luncheon 2018

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The 2018 Yankee Homecoming Committee is excited to announce the Annual Yankee Homecoming Veteran Luncheon. This luncheon aims to bring our Veterans and their guests together to make new friends, provide on-going resources, and to acknowledge the service that our Veterans gave to this great country. The Veteran Luncheon will be located at the Hope Community Church, 11 Hale Street, Newburyport, MA on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 from 12 noon – 2 pm. We would like the community to extend a special thanks to our luncheon sponsors: Fairway Mortgage, Hampton by Hilton, and Domino’s Pizza.

The program of the luncheon is as follows: Ret. Brigadier General Paul G. Smith will be the Master of Ceremonies for the luncheon. The Guest of Honor is Army Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Zeke Crozier of Handy-Cappin’ will speak about his service related injury and the power of art therapy and recovery. There will be number of guests speaking and sharing about Veteran Resources, Benefits, Programs and their Military Service. Challenge Coins will be gifted to Veterans during a special presentation ceremony. 

The Veteran Luncheon has been hosted during Yankee Homecoming for the last 10 years, and managed by Korean War Veteran, Frank Ventura. “Our Veterans are our own National Treasures,” shared local resident and Yankee Homecoming Committee Member Donald Jarvis. “Whether returning recently or during WWII where are eldest Veterans are from – we thank our Veterans for their service and honor them for continuing to share their stories and love for country.”

Further details of the luncheon’s programming are as follow: 

Master of Ceremonies: Brigadier General (retired) Paul G. Smith

 

Brigadier General Smith served as Assistant Adjutant General and Land Component Commander of the Massachusetts National Guard from 2012 to 2014. He commanded Joint Task Force Massachusetts during numerous emergencies including the Western Massachusetts Tornado, Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, Winter Storms Nemo and Saturn, and the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. His duties also included Army force development initiatives, such as suicide prevention, drug abuse reduction, sexual assault prevention, resiliency building, and development of diversity programs. He was instrumental in developing United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Republic of Paraguay. During his 35-year military career, he commanded forces at the platoon, company, battalion, and brigade levels. General Smith is a 2005 graduate of the United States Army War College and has served as a visiting instructor there since 2006.

Guest of Honor: Army Staff Sergeant (Retired) Zeke Crozier of Handy-Cappin LLC

Staff Sergeant (Retired) ‘Zeke’ Crozier joined the United States Army in 2004 and served a full nine years. Zeke deployed to Pakistan, Africa, and twice to Afghanistan. In 2011, Zeke was in country only 41 days when his helicopter crashed, and he was severely injured. This life-threatening injury left him retired young and uncertain of his future, until an unknown passion became art therapy. That therapy turned into a business called Handy-Cappin. Zeke donates many pieces to national charities. His artwork brings people happiness and hope, as he continues to serve in a different way. On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, Zeke Crozier’s artwork will be featured at the Inn Street Artisans Revival where his artwork will be displayed and sold.

Challenge Coins 

Each year, the Yankee Homecoming Committee present a special token of appreciation to our Veteran’s. This year a custom Yankee Homecoming Challenge Coin has been made to present to every Veteran as a token of appreciation. Traditionally, Challenge Coins are a symbol of hard work and a job well done — a token of thanks for the achievements in a soldier’s life. Each Challenge Coin has its own story. 

Any questions regarding the Veteran Luncheon, please email Donald Jarvis at Veterans@yankeehomecoming.com

Please note the change in venue. At times, some Veteran’s may struggle with dependency and PTSD challenges. The committee has opted to choose a venue which allows for the greatest level of safety for our Veterans, and most handicap accessible. Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our Veterans.

About Yankee Homecoming 

Yankee Homecoming is a week of innovation, talent and energy that fills Newburyport featuring a broad range of events and exciting activities. This annual celebration offers fun and exciting events for all. Local Newburyport residents and thousands of visitors descend upon Newburyport, allowing performers, artists, vendors and small business owners a chance to shine. From downtown entertainment, fireworks and more, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities to explore throughout the week, including free waterfront concerts, theatrical performances and food vendors serving the best New England bites. For more information, visit http://yankeehomecoming.com

Thanks to our Sponsors

American Flag Vending Machine

American Flag Vending Machine

Currently I am working on that I’m looking for advice, and guidance on. I’m in a bit of jam and would greatly appreciate anyone interested in helping or have ideas please feel free to share.

In 2017 I started a volunteer group called Preserving Newbury, and last year we started a Community Flag Retirement Box which is located at the Byfield Fire Department. The high volume of flags the box continues to collects got me thinking – where are people replacing their flags? Why can’t they do it right here at the same time when they retire their flag? (FYI – several thousand flags have been connected at this location since 2016).

I tossed around this thought to a few people and then the idea came up of taking an old newspaper vending machine and converting into selling American Flags. So I reached out to the Daily News of Newburyport and explained to them the idea and within a few weeks they had an old newspaper box for the project.

Currently there is a bit of a learning curve that I am stuck on, and I’m hoping I can reach and connect with the right people to help and assist. These newspaper box were meant to accept change – I need to be able to have the ability to take payments larger then a few dollars and still have the ability to unlock the box. I have a few ideas on what a “P.O.S – Point of Sale” could look like for the box, but it’s beyond my knowledge on how to make it work. If someone is interested in helping with this piece please let me know. There are some people who I’ve been suggested to connect with and am working on connecting with them, but I feel the more people working on this the better the suggest.

In regards to where this vending machine will be placed, I have spoken with the Newbury Fire Chief about placing it next to the flag retirement box at Byfield Fire. He will be bringing the discussion before the board at the department for a vote and discussion. However, I would like to have and see more then one those out in the community in highly visible and trafficked locations. I’ve been eyeing possible locations Newburyport, Amesbury, and Haverhill while I have been out driving around.

With regards to the flags, the cost, and the profits. I have been talking with the flag company I use to purchase the grave marker flags that go out for Memorial Day. What I am going for is American Flags that are full size (4’ x 6’ or 5’ x 8’), embroidered, and packaged individually in boxes (which will allow them to be stacked in the vending machine respectfully. Yes, all the flags will be Made in America – just like the flags we place at the veteran graves in Newbury. We are currently looking at purchasing our American flags from MassCOR – the flags would be made here, in Massachusetts through a rehabilitation program offered by the Department of Corrections.

My goal is to keep the cost of the flags around the same price you would pay for them at the store. So it’s fair and reasonable. All proceeds from the sales of the flags would go and support the care of veteran graves. Which would only need to cover the cost of supplies as the work itself would be done by volunteers. Who have been properly taught and trained by the guidelines Preserving Newbury was taught from Historic Gravestone Services.

I am currently looking to partner up with a veteran organization (501c3) on this project and I have already started talking with a organization about this project. I feel this vending will be a great way to honor our veteran’s and our flag. The flag they once protected, now protects them and cares for them as they once cared for the flag. Each vending machine would be in honor and memory of a veteran killed in action.

If you are interested in helping make this vending machine, or you have ideas you would like to share pertaining to the vending machine please feel free to contact me via email – donnie@preservingnewbury.com

Merrimack Valley Hope Mission – Winter Outreach

What a truly amazing day it was today at GAR Park in Haverhill. Merrimack Valley Hope Mission was able hand out personal hygiene products (covering everything from toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, razors and more), sweat shirts, pants, socks, sneakers, backpacks, over 100 pairs of new Timberland boots, about 150 sandwiches, couple cases of MRE’s, blankets, sleeping bags, quilts, and so much more. This was all made possible by over 100 different resources and people donating stuff

On top of all of this it was truly great to be able to connect with and learn about 5 homeless veterans that are either living in someone’s shed, or on the streets in Haverhill. Looking forward to connecting them to different resources and benefits to help get them back on their feet.

Everyone who was part of today we made it special for a lot of people. Over 100 people made a positive impact on so many in a way that none of us may ever understand. Thank you Joe D’Amore for starting Merrimack Valley Hope Mission… and bringing us all together! I am honored and privileged to be able to help.

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. 

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.

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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Memorial Day 2017

Someone asked me how was my Memorial Day weekend was today. To be honest, Sunday made the weekend for me. Seeing a young 12 year old so engaged in wanting to clean and reset a Civil War soldier headstone. There was no short cuts, she wanted to be part of digging it out, cleaning it, putting the dirt back in, making sure it was straight and put the flag holder back. On top of that she asked questions about the stone, the procedure, and the veteran himself. It was truly great to watch it all unfold. A volunteer from Preserving Newbury, Tracey who did an amazing job working with the 12 year old all day. It was truly a blessing to witness. This was a great way to pay respect to this veteran for Memorial Day. 🇺🇸

An Act of Kindness Has A Bigger Impact then You Think!

I recently got an email from New England Center and Home for Veterans thanking for me taking veterans from the center to a Red Sox game, a couple Celtics games, and a Bruins game a few years ago. Back in 2015, I treated 18 veterans to an Red Sox with the help of Larry Lucchino. With the help of his staff the veterans who attended enjoyed the game from an executive suite, with a pig roast, food buffet and a baseball hat for everyone of them (all courtesy of the Boston Red Sox). On top of that I was also able to raise $2,000 which was donated to the education department at NECHV.
Since then, the Red Sox have been giving NECHV a steady supply of tickets now when they have them. It’s great to hear such great news and I’m very happy to see this as a result. Although the center accredits me for being instrumental in setting this up, I feel the Red Sox deserve all the credit for this continued work of serving veterans. Going to sporting events and concerts can be very therapeutic. This email has certainly made my week. I can’t wait to get a tour of the new remodel of the faculty on Court Street in Boston.