By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Francisco Urena, the state secretary of veterans’ affairs, recently met with local leaders in Westborough as part of a series of meetings he is conducting across the state.
Urena first met privately with Adam Costello, director for the Central Massachusetts Veterans’ Services District (CMVD) before holding an open meeting. Joining the two men were veterans services officers Michael Perna and Ken Ferrera; Brent French, chair of the Westborough Veterans Advisory Board; Westborough Selectman Denny Drewry, who is also the quartermaster for the Westborough VFW Post 9013 and State Rep. Hannah Kane, R-Shrewsbury. Several veterans also attended.
“We want to create a better relationship with the local veterans’ organizations,” Urena said, “and serve families better.”
French told Urena that he worries about what will happen to the local veterans who will be needing support and services in “20, 30 or 40 years.”
“It keeps me up at night,” he added.
“But we are doing some things right,” he said, praising the work of Costello, Ferrera and Perna, who had “cast a wider net to help make positive things happen.”
The schools had also been very responsive, he said, in assisting with such things as placing and then removing flags from veterans’ graves and organizing a ceremony recently to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.
Getting youth involved in working with veterans was important, Urena agreed.
“JROTC is a great organization,” he said, “And many Scouts’ core mission is to help veterans.”
His department will soon be giving local veterans’ groups a book that had been written for young children, he said. He urged the local leaders to try to find veterans who could meet with school children and read them the book and then discuss their experiences with them.
“Creating more involvement [with the community] is good,” he added.
For information on CMVD, visit centralmaveterans.vt-s.net/pages/index.