|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
||For More Information, Contact:
|February 17, 2005
||Coria Holland, Director of Communications
||617-727-5300, ext. 258
State Legislators View Community
Service Work Performed by Probationers at Soldiers' Home
Including the Creation of a New Ward for Women Veterans
State Representatives Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop,
the new chairman of the House of Representatives' Ways
and Means Committee, and Kathi-Anne Reinstein, D-Revere,
the new committee vice-chairman, joined Probation Commissioner
John J. O'Brien, Office of Community Corrections Executive
Director Stephen V. Price and Statewide Supervisor of the
Trial Court Community Service Program Kevin Duggan for
a recent tour of the Soldiers' Home in Chelsea to view
the community service work being performed by probationers.
One of the community service projects includes
the demolition and renovation of a special quarters for
women veterans. The Soldiers' Home is planning to open
an eight to ten-bed ward to accommodate the rising number
of female veterans.
"Put simply, this program works. Offenders
assigned to 'Community Service' are doing just that --
serving their community. In this case, we were able to
match dedicated and professional coordinators with a Soldiers'
Home that is both deserving and in real need of attention.
The result has benefited both," stated Representative DeLeo.
Representative Reinstein, who also serves
as vice-chair of the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee,
said "I am pleased to see that these offenders have been
able to make a positive contribution to the Chelsea Soldiers
Home and to the community. The Chelsea Soldiers Home continues
to play an integral role in the quality of life for our
Veterans. Our distinguished servicemen and women deserve
only the best, especially after risking their lives to
ensure that the safety of our country is not compromised."
For the past six weeks, more than 100 offenders
from Suffolk County have spent more than a thousand hours
painting walls and stairwells, and moving furniture, entire
offices and a medical lab. The offenders have also assisted
with the creation of the new ward for women veterans.
"The work at the Soldiers' Home is one of
many community service projects being performed by offenders
throughout the state. This work by offenders saves the
Commonwealth money and gives offenders the opportunity
to give back in a positive way," said Kevin Duggan, Statewide
Supervisor of the Trial Court Community Service Program.
Domenic Cirelli, Trial Court assistant court
service coodinator, supervises the crew at the site and
has noticed that the offenders are motivated by the work
they do at the Soldiers' Home. "A lot of the offenders
look forward to doing this work. They see this as a way
to help veterans. They are really driven and have a sense
of accomplishment when they complete a project," Cirelli
Scott Glucker, a Senior Aide to Commandant
Michael Resca at the Soldiers' Home, is pleased with the
work that is being done. "The community service crews are
very helpful. They are doing extremely hard work and provide
a valuable service to our veterans."
Glucker added, "This work is saving the Commonwealth
a great deal of money. The construction of living quarters
for women is essential. There are so many more women serving
in today's military and we must be prepared to accommodate
those who will need our services."
The community service crews will continue
to do work throughout the year at the Soldiers' Home, according
to Cirelli. This Spring and Summer, community service crews
will be dispatched to the home to do landscaping and painting.
In addition to the work the community service
crews perform at the Soldiers' Home, the offenders have
also worked at the Greater Boston Food Bank where they
load food onto trucks for distribution to shelters, food
pantries and other social service agencies. The crews have
also shoveled snow at several Boston Public Schools, local
housing authorities, courts and along the state highways
of Suffolk County. Six to eight community service vans
are dispatched each day throughout Suffolk County. In Suffolk
County last month, community service crews completed 4,185
hours of work.
The Massachusetts Trial Court Community Service
Program operates out of the 21 Community Corrections Centers
throughout the state. The Office of Community Corrections
is a department of the Office of the Commissioner of Probation.
The Soldiers' Home is comprised of 11 buildings
set on 17 acres of land on top of Powderhorn Hill in Chelsea.
The home currently services 450 veterans, ages 35 to 90.
There is a nursing home, dormitory and Outpatient Department
at the site for all honorably discharged veterans residing