Veterans Day parades fall victim to COVID-19

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Region – Justin Sousa, director of central Massachusetts Veterans’ Service District, recently gave an update regarding Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11. Traditional Veterans’ Day parades are just one more victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Due to COVID, we cannot and should not have a parade, so I will work with the towns to create meaningful programming relevant to Veterans Day, similar to our Memorial Day programs earlier this year,” Sousa said.

In the meantime, while his agents, who serve the towns of Shrewsbury, Grafton, Northborough and Westborough, are not seeing customers in person, they are fielding emails, phone calls and regular mail as quickly as possible. 

“Any paperwork can be dropped off at the respective town hall in a sealed envelope with ‘Attention Veterans Services’ on the front, and it will be placed in our inbox,” he stated. “I am also working remotely, but regularly checking our physical mailboxes in all four towns. I am meeting with customers on an as needed/emergency basis.”

Veterans may visit www.town.westborough.ma.us/central-ma-veterans-services or call 774-551-5782 for assistance.

Likewise, the Federal Department of Veterans Services is operating remotely during regular business hours and communicating through mail, email and telephone. However, delays in written correspondence may be experienced. 

The VA Central/Western Massachusetts Healthcare System may be reached by phone by calling 413-584-4040, press 0 for operator, and ask for the Worcester Clinic.

Sousa stressed that in case of an emergency, whether it be coping with stress, fear or anxiety, people are encouraged to call 800-273-8255. 

For more information, contact Sousa at www.centralmassvets.org or 774-293-2208.