West Warwick, R.I., March 3, 2017 – In June, 50 local World War II and Korean War veterans will be flown to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials built to honor their service, thanks to the work of the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub and a $10,000 grant from the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation.
The Foundation’s grant will cover the cost of purchasing much-needed medical equipment for Honor Flight participants, including wheelchairs oxygen concentrators and automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
The Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation presented $10,000 to the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub to fund the purchase of medical equipment needed for future honor flights. Pictured L- R: Thomas J. Lamb, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Centreville Bank; Chief Kenneth Finlay, Cumberland Fire Department; John P. Gallogly, Corporator, Centreville Bank; Domenic Giarrusso, WWII veteran; Julie Casey, Senior Vice President, Strategy & Marketing, Centreville Bank; Walter Richardson III, Trustee, Centreville Bank; George Farrell, Chairman, R.I. Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub; Benjamin Carbone, WWII veteran; Phil Casacalenda III, Corporator, Centreville Bank; and Jill DeShiro, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Administrative Risk Officer, Centreville Bank.
About the veterans pictured, above: Mr. Giarrusso, age 94, was a sergeant in the Army Air Corp stationed in Africa and Italy in the 1th Air Force 312 Depot Repair Squadron. He was responsible for all major repairs on aircraft damaged during bombing missions and was a flight test engineer who flew aircraft after repairs before they went back into service. He participated in Honor Flight “Foxtrot” on June 6, 2014, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Mr. Carbone, age 93, was a staff sergeant assigned to the 15th Air Force, 98th Bomb Group, 344 Squadron in Lecce, Italy. He flew in 50 combat missions as a ball turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator and was awarded the Air Medial with 3 Oak Leaf. He participated in Honor Flight “Julliett” on May 30, 2015.
“Due to their advanced age, most of the veterans we serve have mobility issues and chronic medical conditions. For this reason, our Honor Flight Hub is required to provide medical oversight, care and mobility equipment, which until now we have had to rent or borrow,” said George Farrell, Chairman of the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub. “Thanks to this grant from the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation, we will now own the equipment we need for our future Honor Flights. In addition, we will be able to purchase equipment that will provide a virtual reality veterans experience which we can bring to nursing homes, assisted living and hospice centers to give virtual tours of the memorials to veterans who are unable to travel on their Honor Flight.”
“We are pleased to support the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Honor Flight hub in their unique mission,” said Thomas J. Lamb, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Centreville Bank. “When we learned how much easier it will be for them to plan and execute Honor Flights, simply by owning this equipment, we saw an opportunity to make a meaningful difference. It is an honor for us to be able to assist our veterans in this way.”
Honor Flight takes WWII Veterans to Washington, D.C. for the purpose of visiting the national memorials that were built to honor their service and sacrifice. Korean War Veterans will be included on Honor Flights commencing in June 2017.
About RIFC Honor Flight Hub:
The Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Honor Flight Hub is a 501 c 3 public charity and is and Official Hub of the Honor Flight Network. Since America felt it was important to build memorials honor to the service and the ultimate sacrifice of her veterans, the RI Fire Chiefs believe it's equally important that they can visit their memorials in Washington, DC.
About the Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation:
The Centreville Bank Charitable Foundation was established as a non-profit charitable organization in 2006 by the Board of Trustees to further the philanthropic mission of Centreville Bank. The Foundation's goal is to partner with local non-profit organizations that work to strengthen, grow, and contribute to the well-being of the communities that we serve.