City officials, veterans and their families gathered at Providence City Hall Friday to memorialize the 15th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

A small crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance before listening speakers including Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and the city’s chief of police, who recognized the thousands lost in the terrorist attacks. Veterans’ Organization, Operation Stand Down Rhode Island commemorated the servicemen and women who’ve died in the subsequent War on Terror.

Karen Brown / NENC

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that up to 30 percent of former service members, from the Vietnam War to Iraq and Afghanistan, have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Veterans seeking care at the Providence VA can now sign up for acupuncture treatments. It’s just one of several new alternative medical therapies offered at the VA to try to address pain and mental health. 

RI Veterans' Voices: Jay McBride

Nov 10, 2015
Emily Wooldridge / RIPR

In honor of Veterans Day, Rhode Island Public Radio is sharing stories from veterans this week. Today, we hear from Jay McBride, a Bristol resident who served in the Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. McBride has found a new way to serve by working with veterans recovering from addiction. He spoke at the VA Medical Center where he volunteers on a daily basis.

He spoke with Rhode Island Public Radio intern Emily Wooldridge, who produced this story.

Rhode Island is on track to house all its homeless veterans by the end of the year. That’s according to the Rhode Island Coalition for the homeless. Advocates will celebrate the opening of 20 new housing units Monday.

Out of an estimated 200 homeless veterans, advocates say more than 160 have been housed so far in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s only law school, in partnership with a local law firm, is opening a legal clinic for disabled veterans. Students at the Roger Williams University Law School will work directly with veterans.


With a little supervision, the lawyers-in-training will help veterans who have been denied disability benefits, navigate the appeals process.

Erik Wallim, director of the veterans’ advocacy group Operation Stand Down Rhode Island, says that process can involve a lot of red tape and long wait times for a resolution.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Veterans Health Administration has stepped up efforts to fight drug overdose deaths and prescription painkiller addiction.

Veterans are more likely to suffer from chronic pain than others, and opioid painkillers have been a mainstay of treatment.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

My friends Joe Labriola and Mike Skinner did the Walk for Hunger a few weeks back. They have done the walk before. They have done walks for Toys For Tots too. They have a problem with people going without in the richest country on earth.


The Providence VA is stepping up efforts to curb prescription painkiller abuse and overdose deaths. Now there are two new tools in the fight.

Nationwide, the VA rolled out its opioid safety initiative in 2013. Since then, VA systems around the country have begun tracking painkiller and other prescriptions better. That includes a new system to track whether a patient has also been prescribed a class of medication called benzodiazepines, which can be dangerous when combined with opioids.


Local veterans will gather at the Statehouse this Monday to remember troops who have died in combat. The ceremony is part of a national event with roots in New England.

Screenshot of live stream of hearing

In our ongoing series about hepatitis C, we look now at one of the hardest hit populations: veterans. Hep C is three times more prevalent among vets than in the general population. The Veterans Health Administration has the country’s largest hepatitis C screening and treatment program in the country. But that program is struggling to pay for new treatments – and the rising number of veterans who need them.


In late August, the power was shut off at the River United Methodist Church. The church, in the heart of downtown Woonsocket, was about a thousand bucks in arrears on its electric bill.  The guy from National Grid apologized for doing what he had to do.

Church members, who specialize in doing a whole lot with very little, scrambled to do what they always do.   They took food from freezers and refrigerators and headed to a nearby park to feed hungry people. 


Veterans are more complete citizens, I think.  We hold our country closer,  and we know our country better for having gotten on the bus and gone to boot camp and earned the right to train and fight, get scared and get drunk with the richest mix of Americans to be found anywhere.

I remember the farm kids and the ghetto kids and the kids gone to the Marines instead of prison.  I remember the kids like me who wanted to break from college-bred predictability and take a mad leap into the unknown.   Some of us were looking for our hard side and found we didn’t have one.

New Veterans' Home Project Hits Milestone

Oct 21, 2014

Rhode Island is steps closer to opening a new veterans’ home in Bristol. The state-of-the-art residence is to expected to break ground next year.

Providence VA Medical Center

Tonight, the VA hospital in Providence will hold a town hall meeting for veterans, their family, and the public. VAs around the country were directed to hold such public meetings by the end of this month. The aim: to regain trust after a widespread scheduling scandal.