PVA: Paralyzed Veterans of America Lauds House and Senate Committee Leaders’ Agreement on Long-Term FAA Bill

PVA: Paralyzed Veterans of America Lauds House and Senate Committee Leaders’ Agreement on Long-Term FAA Bill

Source: Paralyzed Veterans of America

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) today lauded House and Senate transportation committee leaders for coming to an agreement on a long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill.

“We are extremely pleased that the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 302) includes multiple provisions that specifically target the air travel experience of passengers with disabilities,” said PVA National President David Zurfluh.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 includes some crucial provisions such as an Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights; an Advisory Committee on the Air Travel Needs of Passengers with Disabilities; a study on in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems; increased civil penalties for damage to a passenger with a disability or his or her mobility aid; and a requirement for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to move forward in implementing the reporting requirement for large domestic airlines to report on the number of wheelchairs and scooters enplaned and subsequently damaged.

H.R. 302 also includes a revision of training requirements for Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officers in screening people with disabilities in consultation with disability and veterans organizations and increased reporting requirements.

“We greatly appreciate the efforts of the leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation and House Transportation and Infrastructure and Committees who listened to the concerns of paralyzed veterans and all people with disabilities to ensure that this FAA Reauthorization Bill begins to address the difficulties people with disabilities encounter in air travel and in transiting airport security,” stated Zurfluh.

Zurfluh also thanked Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL), Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA), and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR) for their efforts on this bill.

“We applaud Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) for introducing the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act (S. 1318/H.R. 5004), which helped inform many of the disability-related provisions related to improving access to air travel,” said Zurfluh. “We would also like to thank Ranking Member Nelson for including improvements to the airport security process for all people with disabilities.”

ProJo: Hundreds pay tribute as Bristol post office is renamed in memory of fallen soldier

ProJo: Hundreds pay tribute as Bristol post office is renamed in memory of fallen soldier

By Linda Borg

BRISTOL, R.I. — A Bristol native who died serving in Afghanistan was honored Sunday for his patriotism on one of the country’s most patriotic streets.

More than 200 people along with Gov. Gina Raimondo and the entire congressional delegation turned out to dedicate the Bristol Post Office on Hope Street in memory of 1st Sgt. P. Andrew McKenna Jr.

“It’s wonderful we should be here on this most patriotic street in America,” said U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. “Go forward 100 years. A child will come through the post office doors and ask, ‘Who was Sergeant McKenna?’ and his mother will say, ‘Let’s look it up.’ And his memory will be revived again, as it should be.”

When terrorists breached his defensive perimeter with a truck bomb in Kabul on Aug. 7, 2015, McKenna ran toward attackers, helping to repulse them while losing his own life. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest military honor, and the Purple Heart. A Green Beret assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group, he was deployed overseas six times, and received the Bronze Star during his first tour in Afghanistan.

“We owe him the debt of gratitude forever,” Raimondo said. “How many of us would have run toward fire, toward danger? His humility was the most distinguished thing about him. He did it because it was the right thing to do.”

McKenna always wanted to be a soldier.

As a child, he rarely took off his “Army” uniform, and friends remembered how he organized the neighborhood kids into one band of brothers or another.

“From the youngest age, he wanted to be a soldier,” said Robert McKenna of Bristol, a cousin. “He’d gather the local kids and off they’d go on their mission.”

McKenna traveled far from home during his nearly 20 years of service, but he never forgot what made Bristol special.

Three years ago, he was honored at the Bristol Fourth of July parade for traveling the farthest — from Afghanistan — to his hometown. The town bestowed an American flag that had once flown above the White House.

A month later, he was gone.

His mother, Carol McKenna, was a bit overwhelmed by this latest tribute, which was hardly the first. A stretch of Route 114 between the Warren Bridge and the Mount Hope Bridge has been renamed in his honor. A monument sits in front of the Bristol VFW Club.

“If he was here, he’d say, ‘I can’t believe people are doing this,’” said Carol McKenna. “I have mixed emotions. I’d give all of this up in a heartbeat…. He was a special man.”

Even those who didn’t know McKenna personally had some connection to his family. The mother whose son, an Eagle Scout, helped build the monument on Hope Street. The neighbor who has a photograph of him as a little boy, dressed in his uniform.

“It’s a small town,” Pam Meyer said. “People come out.”

Sgt. Maj. Calvin Boersma served with McKenna in Afghanistan. He said Andrew saved his life.

Boersma described the boyish side of McKenna, the young soldier who liked to tear up North Carolina on his motorcycle, the guy who gave friends a thumbs-up if he liked their girlfriends.

But he also recalled a man who was fiercely loyal, no matter how far away his buddies were. When one soldier was in a bad way, McKenna showed at his house and forced him to get out of bed and go outside. The friend later described that encounter as a turning point.

“He loved his town and his country,” Boersma said. “His patriotism was driven by how he grew up. I don’t think there could be a better place in the world to commemorate him.”

Warwick Post: Langevin Presents Medals To Seven Veterans Including Warwick’s DePetrillo

Warwick Post: Langevin Presents Medals To Seven Veterans Including Warwick’s DePetrillo

By Rob Borkowski

WEST WARWICK  — Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), hosted a military medals presentation and veterans town hall meeting at VFW Post 449 in West Warwick Tuesday at noon, honoring seven veterans with medals for their service decades after the conflicts they helped fight ended, including Paul DePetrillo of Warwick, a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War.

Langevin presented DePetrillo, 69, a Specialist Fourth Grade in the U.S. Army, Korean Defense,  with five medals:  Army Achievement Medal with Bronze Star Attachment; National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Expert Badge and Rifle Bar and Korea Defense Service Medal.

“It is a great honor to commemorate these Rhode Island veterans who have served with distinction and  integrity and dedicated so much to the safety and security of our nation,” said Langevin.  “One of my most important duties as a member of Congress is providing our service members and veterans with the support and recognition they deserve. I look forward to concluding my August listening tour with this mission in mind.”

Langevin also presented medals to six other veterans, four posthumously:

  • Private Adolf Ciummo, U.S. Army, WWII (Awarded Posthumously) Born on October 24, 1917 in Natick, RI
  • Corporal Frank Diana, U.S. Army, WWII (Awarded Posthumously) Born on September 20, 1912 in Providence, RI
  • Private First Class Carmine D. DiPippo, WWII U.S. Army (Awarded Posthumously)
Born on May 17, 1921 in Cranston, RI
  • Coxswain Axel Harold Halvarson, U.S. Navy, WWII (Awarded Posthumously)
Born on April 28, 1919 in Providence, RI
  • Sergeant John Boehnert, U.S. Army, Vietnam
, Born on Jan. 20, 1949 in Chicago, IL (resides in East Greenwich, RI)

The event is the first of several visits focused on military and veterans issues that Langevin is holding on Aug. 28 and Aug. 30 as part of the Langevin Listening Tour, an initiative Langevin has led through the August congressional district work period to collect feedback and gain insight from constituents.

“Rhode Island has a proud history of producing heroes,” said Kasin J. Yarn, the Director of Veteran’s Affairs for the State of Rhode Island. “Tomorrow’s ceremony is just another illustration of that. I applaud Congressman Langevin’s efforts to ensure these warriors and their families get the recognition they’ve earned and so thoroughly deserve,” Yarn said.

Coventry Courier: Coventry resident receives medals for WWII service

Coventry Courier: Coventry resident receives medals for WWII service

Written by Kendra Port

COVENTRY – On Friday Congressman James Langevin presented military decorations to retired Chief Petty Officer Edmund Del Barone, a Coventry resident who earned his medals throughout the course of his 22 years in the U.S. Navy.

Del Barone began his service in 1940 when he attended boot camp at the Newport Naval Station. He spent the majority of his naval career at sea performing maintenance on the several ships he was stationed on, including a destroyer, the USS Wadleigh.

Del Barone accepted his numerous medals during a ceremony at Alpine Nursing Home in Coventry surrounded by his friends and children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“When we were contacted about his medals we were very proud to go to work and do what we needed to do to track these medals down and verify his eligibility for each,” said Langevin. “It’s one of the longest lists I’ve ever read.”

Del Barone received the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star; the Navy Good Conduct Medal (5th award); the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; the American Campaign Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze stars; the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal – Lebanon.

“Throughout this generation there is a pride that has continued to show through,” said Langevin. “He put on the uniform and did what needed to be done, and that’s so typical of the World War II generation. There are many men and woman who continue putting on the uniform and we’re grateful for your service.”

“When we talk about heroes, look no further than the World War II generation, the greatest generation that helped shape the world,” said Kasim Yarn, Rhode Island Director of Veterans Affairs. “What can they tell us? Everything, through the lens of our greatest generation. They set the standard for all of us to be here today. He didn’t do this by himself and it wasn’t about him – it was about serving his nation.”

“I salute you,” Yarn concluded.

Langevin said the many medals Del Barone received show a “dedication to our nation and the principles for which it stands.”

Del Barone is also a talented artist, having painted several emblems for naval ships as well as murals for different Veterans of Foreign Wars posts. He even painted one of the first emblems at the Naval War College in Newport.

“We’re very proud to see him recognized,” said his grandson, Dennis Tallo. “It should have happened 50 years ago, so it’s a long time coming.”

Prior to the ceremony Del Barone’s granddaughter, Kim, performed a rendition of Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA.’

Patch: Langevin Presents Medals To World War II Sailor

Patch: Langevin Presents Medals To World War II Sailor

COVENTRY, RI — Cong. Jim Langevin (D-RI) on Friday presented military decorations to retired Chief Petty Officer Edmund Del Barone. The Coventry resident earned the medals over the 22 years he served in the U.S. Navy. According to Langevin’s office, “Del Barone began his service in 1940 when he attended boot camp at Naval Station Newport. The majority of his naval career was spent at sea conducting maintenance, and he was stationed on several ships, including the destroyer USS Wadleigh. Also a talented artist, Mr. Del Barone has painted emblems for naval ships and murals for several Veterans of Foreign Wars posts.”

Langevin said the medals show Del Barone’s “dedication to our nation and the principles for which it stands.”

The presentation at the Alpine Nursing Home in Coventry was also attended by Rhode Island Veterans Affairs Director Kasim Yarn, and Del Barone’s granddaughter, Kim.

The decorations presented include the Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation with one bronze star; Navy Good Conduct Medal (5th Award); American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one silver star and two bronze stars; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star; and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal – Lebanon.