Naval War College Sailors Support Local Veterans Home in Need

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Story Number: NNS140811-12Release Date: 8/11/2014 2:38:00 PM

By Lindsay Church, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs

BRISTOL, R.I. (NNS) -- Sailors attached to the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) volunteered in support of an ongoing community outreach project at the Rhode Island Veterans Home (RIVH) on Aug. 7, helping to build a new recreation facility for up to 339 veterans of foreign wars in Bristol, Rhode Island.

The NWC and Newport Naval Station have been participating in the project since January 2014, and continue to send volunteers on a weekly basis.

The recreation area for the facility was previously located in the basement of the building, which had limited access due to ambulatory restrictions and intermittent elevator outages.

Given its budgetary constraints, the project has relied heavily on the ongoing support of volunteers to complete the majority of the work.

"I'd say about 80-90 percent of the work has been done by volunteers from various different groups," said Raoul "Rick" Riccardi, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who is now the foreman of the project. "A large portion of the site's volunteers have come from the Newport Naval Station and the NWC. If it weren't for volunteers coming out and working on this project, it wouldn't get done."

The Rhode Island Veterans Home is a 110-acre complex on Mount Hope Bay that provides nursing and residential care to Rhode Island war veterans. The facility houses 260 nursing care beds in six long-term care units as well as 79 beds in two ambulatory care units.

"It's important to see active duty sailors serving the veteran community so that they can understand each other's experiences," said Riccardi. "This project is important to the RIVH because it will boost the morale of the residents that live here every day. The return on the investment of time and resources is invaluable."

Volunteering on the project has also had a profound impact on the sailors who participated.

"I enjoy volunteering to work at places like the veterans home, because it is important to remember those who sacrificed so much for our nation so that we may enjoy the liberties that endure today," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Andrew Cook, a Sailor attached to the NWC. "There is a certain amount peace that comes from being able to get out of the office and get your hands dirty doing an honest day's labor that benefits such a worthy community."

The project is expected to be completed before the holiday season so that the residents may enjoy the holidays with their families and friends in the new space that's being specifically built for them.

Sailors from the NWC will continue to work on the project until it is completed.

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