For Immediate Release - September 21, 2009

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES FUNDS TO SUPPORT VIETNAM VETERANS' MEMORIAL

Funds from the Environmental Bond Bill to help maintain and improve Vietnam Veterans' Memorial

WORCESTER - Monday, September 21, 2009 - Continuing with the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to veterans' affairs and services, today Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced the release of $191,800 from the administration's Environmental bond bill to support maintenance and improvements of the Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

"After the great service and sacrifice these veterans have given to us, it is fitting that we honor that service with a memorial that all can see and appreciate," said Governor Deval Patrick.

"The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial is a beautiful complex that honors our Massachusetts men and women who gave their lives while defending our beliefs and ideals so we can continue to live in a greater and safer nation," said Lieutenant Governor Murray, who also chairs the Governor's Advisory Council on Veteran's Services. "It is important that we continue to maintain this memorial which pays tribute to our brave veterans."

Since the start of the administration, Governor Deval Patrick has successfully authorized ten bond bills, including the authorization of $1.64 billion in the Environmental Bond Bill, signed in 2008. The Environmental bond bill supports land, parks, and clean energy projects across the Commonwealth. The funding for the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial will help maintain the integrity of the memorial, a complex located on four acres of land in Worcester, consisting of a pond, walking paths, and the memorials. Maintenance will include walking and drainage improvements, electrical repairs, electrical upgrades, and new flagpoles.

"The Massachusetts Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Worcester serves as a fitting tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation," said Senator Harriette Chandler. "I applaud Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for continuing to demonstrate a strong commitment to the men and women who have served our country."

"Thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration and passage of the Environmental bond bill, funding can be provided to improve projects, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial," said Representative James O'Day. "I feel incredibly proud to have this Memorial in the City of Worcester and will continue to strive to ensure that it is always the jewel it was meant to be."

"All of the Vietnam veterans appreciate the work by Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Murray, and all involved in this effort," said Phil Madeio, President of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Board of Directors. "This is one of the best Vietnam memorials in the country and this assistance will help maintain that great distinction."

"Worcester is honored to be home to the Massachusetts' Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and we are grateful for the Commonwealth's commitment of $191,800 to fund improvements to the Memorial," said City Manager Michael V. O'Brien.

In 1989, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Trust was established in Worcester to dedicate a memorial to honor those who died while serving our nation in Southeast Asia. The memorial design has a place of flags, a place of words, and a place of names. The place of names includes names of 1,536 Massachusetts men and 1 woman veteran who either remain missing or who died in combat in Vietnam.

After joining local and state officials at this announcement, Lieutenant Governor Murray chaired a quarterly meeting of the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services. At this meeting, council members and veterans advocates were briefed on the new Home Base Program run by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. The meeting also included presentations on workforce employment opportunities for veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the partnership between the UMASS Medical School and the VA.

"The Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services continues to exhibit the great work being done on behalf of the Commonwealth's veterans, both past and present, and we are fortunate to have full support and leadership from the Patrick-Murray administration," said Secretary of Veterans' Services Tom Kelley. "An important aspect in honoring our fallen heroes is through the memorials constructed in their memory. So we gather here today to celebrate the announcement that the Worcester Vietnam Veterans Memorial will stand for many more years to come."

The Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services was created by Governor Patrick's Executive Order Number 483 in April of 2007 and works to review and assess state and federal statutes and programs relating to veterans and the delivery of services to veterans, including health care, education, housing, outreach, training and retraining.

The Commonwealth is a national leader in the services provided for veterans and is continuing its commitment to advancing their opportunities. Every city and town in the state is required by law to have a Veterans Services Officer who is available to meet with all veterans to discuss what opportunities they qualify for. Also, through Chapter 115 Benefits, the Commonwealth provides financial and medical assistance for veterans and their family members. Those eligible receive financial assistance for food, shelter, clothing, housing supplies, and medical care. To learn more, click here.

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