RIPTA Will Be Providing Complimentary Service This Friday and Saturday Between Kennedy Plaza and Johnston War Memorial Park
The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will be providing free service to veterans participating in Operation Stand Down Rhode Island’s (OSDRI) annual service weekend on Friday, September 18, 2020 and Saturday, September 19, 2020. This year’s event has been relocated to the Johnston War Memorial Park at 1583 Hartford Avenue in order to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. RIPTA will be providing free transportation to participants with trips running to and from Kennedy Plaza in Providence, from 8 am to 4:30 pm on both Friday and Saturday. The trips will run at two-hour intervals using Bus Stop Y at Kennedy Plaza.
Since its inception in 1993, the annual event has provided thousands of veterans with access to important services including healthcare, dental care, employment services, legal services, social welfare benefits, housing assistance, and clothing. This year the event will be scaled back and feature a modified version of services to include medical health screenings, flu and pneumonia shots, legal consultations, housing and employment services, and distribution of food and personal hygiene care packages. For more details on the event and COVID-19 screening for participants, please visit https://osdri.org/event/osdri-stand-down-weekend/.
“As in the past, we are proud to be one of the community partners supporting our veterans and this event, said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer. “We know how important it is that veterans have access to this event and the many services it offers. They have served their country and it is our honor to serve them.”
Erik Wallin, Esq., Executive Director of Operation Stand Down RI, said the organization felt it was important to continue with the annual event even though some modifications were necessary due to COVID-19. “We believe the event to be such a staple in the veteran community and far too important for our struggling veterans to cancel in light of the global pandemic so we have chosen to scale it back and modify the event to ensure veterans are still able to access the most essential services available,” Wallin said.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only VA eligible veterans (not their dependents) will be permitted to attend this year’s Stand Down Weekend. Face coverings are required on the bus and will be provided if a participating veteran does not have one.
Additionally, OSDRI is unable to provide overnight accommodations, however, veterans experiencing immediate homelessness will be placed into emergency housing. Current and former service members wishing to attend must present a valid government issued ID-Card (including a VA Healthcare enrollment card) or document such as a DD-214 as proof of military service to be admitted to the grounds. Former service members without such documentation are encouraged to contact OSDRI prior to the event and request information or assistance in obtaining such a document.