On Friday morning, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chancellor J. Keith Motley, and Giselle Sterling, commissioner of veterans’ services for the city, celebrated the service of military veterans at UMass Boston’s alumni lounge. Service members from many different generations gathered at the sixth annual Veterans Welcome Home breakfast. Three veterans were honored for their outstanding contributions to the Boston community after their military careers.
“It is my honor, as chancellor, to be able to look each of you in the eye and to thank you for all you have given, and all you continue to give,” Motley said. When he asked all the active service members and former active service members in the room to stand and be recognized, nearly the entire assembled crowd got to their feet, including two veterans of World War II.
Mayor Walsh recalled serving in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the years after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and observing a moment of silence “nearly every session” for fallen service members. Walsh described some of the veterans affairs issues his administration has tackled, including access to education, housing, and other benefits. Despite his administration’s success in eliminating chronic veteran homelessness in 2015 through Boston Homes for the Brave, Walsh is looking ahead.
“We can always do more for veterans, we can always do more every single day,” Walsh said.
Sterling shared her personal story—a Marine Corps veteran and military sexual trauma related post-traumatic stress survivor—as an example of how the right network of support can change veterans’ lives for the better.
Sterling also introduced three veterans who received a new Community Leadership award honoring their service to Boston. Honorees Nancy Blanchard, Laura Piscopo, and Sarada Kalpee have dedicated themselves to helping their fellow veterans through their careers and volunteer activities.