Letter: In my father’s honor, veterans home needs help

Posted 11/15/18

My late father, Sassio Michael Minutelli, served as the R.I. Permanent Advisory Council on House Veterans Affairs President Emeritus, in addition to many other positions in the State of Rhode Island …

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Letter: In my father’s honor, veterans home needs help

Posted

My late father, Sassio Michael Minutelli, served as the R.I. Permanent Advisory Council on House Veterans Affairs President Emeritus, in addition to many other positions in the State of Rhode Island and numerous veterans organizations in Rhode Island. My late father lived his life for the veterans of Rhode Island and their families.

If you ever had the opportunity to meet my father, you know he was tough, but he loved his country, his state, his fellow veterans, and his family. He was proud to have served in World War II as a Petty Officer on a PT Boat, and then re-enlisted in the U.S. Army. We always joked that his family came last, and we were all okay with that, because of the legacy he has left us and his future generations.

In my father’s last days, including the day before he died at the Rhode Island Veterans Home, he made sure that the bill was ready to go for approval, so that all he and others had worked on to see this new home come to life, would not be in vain. It is because of all my father did for veterans that I am writing to you.

Recently I had the honor to attend Sunday Mass with my mother at the new Veterans Home in Bristol. This is the first time that I have seen the new building. I was unable to make the dedication of the conference room that was built to honor my late father when the new home was dedicated.

The new home is everything that my late father envisioned, and more. Upon speaking with people that Sunday, I learned that the home is less than 30 percent staffed, and that the beautiful dining hall, that my father envisioned as a social gathering for all veterans, is not used because there is not enough staff. I have done my research, after all I am his daughter, and found out that when the bill was passed for the bond to build the home, the salaries were not factored in.

These men and women, in addition to the current staff, deserve the respect of the State of Rhode Island. We need to secure funding for staff and to make sure that the veterans home is at least 75 percent, if not higher, staffed with qualified people.

Because of the lack of staff, something as simple as attending Sunday Mass is not an option for most residents.  These men and women risked their lives so that we can have the freedoms that we have, yet we are not allowing them theirs. To attend church is a freedom that we have taken from them because we did not do our job to secure funding for staff.

These men and women, my father included, fought for our country. It didn’t matter whether they were Republican, Democrat, or Independent. They fought side by side, they protected each other, and they had “each other’s back.” We need to take their example.

Please consider doing one of the following:

  • Consider attending Mass on a Sunday at 10 am. Get there 25 minutes before and ask if you can help wheel veterans down to the chapel.
  • Organize with your church or organization to attend Mass and then host a coffee social for the residents.  Spend time talking with the veterans.
  • Reach out to your newly elected representative and ask them what they plan to do about securing funding for staff.

Michele Pimentel
Barrington

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