Mass Fallen Heroes

MFH Announces Filing of Boston Home Rule Petition to Adopt All-Encompassing Paid Military Leave

  • Ensures adequate paid military leave for City of Boston employees currently serving as National Guardsmen or Military Reservists while activated, deployed, in training or drills on Title 32 or Title 10 orders.
  • Establishes parity to benefits enjoyed by State employees.
  • Prevents the City of Boston from reducing paid military leave via unilateral policy changes.

BOSTON, Mass. – Aug 14, 2023 – Massachusetts Fallen Heroes® (MFH) announced today the filing of the Boston Home Rule Petition to Adopt MGL Chapter 33, section 59, Paid Military Leave by Boston City Council President Ed Flynn and 11 other Boston City councilors.

This Home Rule Petition authorizes City of Boston employees who serve in the National Guards or Military Reserves activated on Title 32 or Title 10 orders (active duty orders) for more than 30 consecutive days to receive paid leave for the first 40 days of active duty. It will also mandate that the City provide 40 days of paid military leave per federal fiscal year for Guard and Reservists for drills, training and parade duties.

The City of Boston’s recently revised paid military leave policy provides that activated or deployed service members receive only differential pay between their city salary and military compensation for the entirety of their active duty. As such, members must take a pay cut compared to their counterparts employed by the State or many other neighboring cities and towns across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that have already adopted this policy. There is no justification for City of Boston employees who are deployed in dangerous situations to be paid significantly less than fellow employees on customary training, drills, or parades.

In addition to leveling the playing field, this Home Rule petition takes politics out of paid military leave by preventing the City of Boston from cutting service member pay while activated or deployed. Furthermore, its adoption will provide the city and its employees a conclusive pay leave policy that will prevent confusion and inconsistent interpretation, and provide a clear course of action for fair implementation. Providing appropriate paid military leave in a consistent manner to City of Boston employees only serves to benefit not just our service members but our community as a whole. Such a policy is likely to increase retention in the Reserves and National Guard which in turn ensures the protection of our community in the event of natural disasters and civil unrest.

“Our National Guard and Reserve service members make significant personal sacrifices to serve the state of Massachusetts and our nation, especially when activated or deployed. We owe it to them and their families to ensure they do not suffer financial hardship. This home rule petition solidifies a vital benefit for all city employees who serve our nation’s military,” said Jesse Flynn, Program Director, MFH. “By providing paid military leave in a consistent manner to city employees, we are not only helping to alleviate the stress of financial burdens, we are setting up our service men and women for success as they continue to serve our communities. We appreciate Council President Flynn’s continued dedication to all City of Boston’s employees, service members, Veterans and their families. We are grateful to the city council for coming together in support of this petition.”

A place of support for veterans and Gold Star families

In 2010, a group of combat veterans, Gold Star families, and first responders formed Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, a nonprofit group committed to memorializing post-9/11 veterans who did not return home. The nonprofit group’s fundraising events help support these Gold Star families. The funds also support the Innovets program – designed to help veterans develop their own business ventures and get feedback from other professionals.

Erica D’Agostino of the Arthritis Foundation says members of the military are disproportionately affected by arthritis: “On average, the general population’s onset of arthritis is the age of 48, where the military community that onset can be in the early 30s and sometimes in the early 20s.” She tells us that the Arthritis Foundation has resources that can help with the pain and get veterans the support they’ve earned.

Learn more about the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Fundraising.

There are many organizations that support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, mild cognitive impairment due to traumatic brain injury, substance use disorders and related conditions. The veterans and families we spoke with say that the Veterans Administration is a good place to start.

If you or a family member is in crisis or facing an emergency, go to the nearest emergency room or call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

‘I’m gonna keep going’: Burlington Officer Walks for 24 hours in Honor of Fallen Heroes

BURLINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) – A Burlington police officer took to the track, to walk for 24 straight hours in support of fallen heroes and their families this Memorial Day.

Army veteran Jake DeSantis marched around the Burlington High School track in an effort to raise money for the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes and to raise awareness for veteran suicides.

“At the end of it, there’s not gonna be a second, not gonna be step when I’m not thinking about someone who’s given that blood sacrifice,” he said.

Two of his close friends that he was stationed with died by suicide last year and inspired this act.

“From there, I wanted to spread awareness and shed a light on the veteran community as well and really every community and just show my respects to them,” he said.

Throughout the day, people from Burlington joined DeSantis for a few laps of his ruck march.

“It’s always been ingrained in me that the men and women in the armed forces deserve the utmost respect,” said town Selectman Mike Runyan.

DeSantis said the cold, wet weather added an extra challenge to an already tough event.

“It’s rainy its cold but some people have seen worse days and I’m just out here doing my best,” he said.

He hopes a day of discomfort and sacrifice will help raise awareness and money for his cause.

“The colder the wetter the better because at the end of the day, this may be the hardest 24 hours that I experience physically, I know my body is going to give up — but mentally, I’m gonna keep going because there’s a higher power that I’m walking towards,” he said. “Every step that I take is one more step that’s gonna spread awareness.”

Memorial Day Ruck: 24 for the 22

Jacob DeSantis, a Burlington Police Officer and United States Army Veteran, will be conducting a ruck march to honor our nation’s past and present service members. The ruck will take place this Memorial Day (May 31, 2021).

This past Veterans Day Jake, and his friend 1st Lieutenant Joseph Morgan, completed a 22-mile ruck as a way to show their support for fellow Veterans and our Gold Star families. Jake and LT Morgan’s altruism were a refreshing display of hope during these challenging times, especially among our Veteran population. They were able to raise $14,396 in just one week in support of our mission, surpassing their original goal of $500 to be donated.

Jake will be conducting a 24-hour ruck march in order to raise money once again for Massachusetts Fallen Heroes. The march will begin at 12:00 AM on May 31, 2021 and will conclude at 12:00 AM on June 01, 2021. The ruck will take place in its entirety at the Burlington High School track located at 123 Cambridge St, Burlington, MA 01803.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial Rededicated in Boston

See a photo collection from this year’s rededication of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial, located in the Seaport area of Boston.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial in Boston Rededicated

BOSTON (CBS) – The Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial in the Seaport was rededicated Friday morning.

The memorial and 50-foot tall Beacon of Honor on Northern Avenue is a tribute to those who died in the war on terror since September 11, 2001.

The names of 272 fallen heroes from Massachusetts are displayed on glass panels. Service members who died in 2019 and 2020 were added on Friday.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia. Governor Charlie Baker and Congressman Stephen Lynch also attended.

Gold Star families were honored at the event for the sacrifices they have made.

“The loss associated with losing their son or daughter, their brother, their sister, will wear on their face for the rest of their lives. And I’ve seen it, every time I’ve been with them,” said Baker. “But there’s also a sense of pride about the fact that they raised a child that answered the call when the call came. And the pride they felt was also every bit as evident as the pain.”

4 Your Community: Massachusetts Fallen Heroes

WBZ-TV’s Liam Martin spoke with Dan Magoon, Executive Director of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, which is a non-profit that supports gold star families.

Curaleaf Celebrates One Year of Partnership with Veterans Cannabis Project

Partnership has been focused on providing veterans access to cannabis

Over $100,000 has been raised to date for veterans initiatives

WAKEFIELD, Mass., March 17, 2021 — Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., (CSE: CURA /OTCQX: CURLF), a Massachusetts based company and a leading U.S. provider of consumer products in cannabis, today marks the one year anniversary of its partnership with the Massachusetts chapter of the Veterans Cannabis Project (VCP), an organization that advocates for legal and supported access of medical cannabis for veterans. As part of this partnership, Curaleaf has raised $107,000 for veterans organizations through the sales of its VCP pre-rolls over the past year at its Hanover medical dispensary as well as its locations in Oxford, Provincetown & Ware, Massachusetts.

Although state laws have permitted marijuana in Massachusetts and in 35 other states, 20 million veterans across the country are unable to access medical cannabis to help them cope with a number of physical and mental health issues including PTSD, because of federal laws. The Veterans Cannabis Project (VCP) strives to bring additional visibility to this important issue to help millions of veterans across the United States and those here in Massachusetts to have greater access to high quality medicinal cannabis they want and deserve.

“Curaleaf has helped us bring this critical issue to the forefront in Massachusetts and across the nation,” said Doug Distaso, U.S Air Force Veteran and Executive Director for the Veterans Cannabis Project. “Through their commitment to helping underserved communities like veterans, we can continue to advocate for access to cannabis as medicine. Veterans and their families overwhelmingly support federal legalization, and it’s our mission to ensure their elected officials take action on this issue.”

In addition to increased awareness on the issue of veterans access to cannabis, Curaleaf has donated the $107,000 it raised to both the VCP and MA Fallen Heroes, which helps empower veterans through education, employment, healthcare and housing.

“We don’t know where we’d be without a partner like Curaleaf,” said Dan Magoon, Executive Director of Mass Fallen Heroes. “This past year has been extremely difficult for everyone and we salute Curaleaf for never wavering in its support of our mission to assist Gold Star and military families throughout Massachusetts and New England.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all, and it’s our responsibility to stand by our non-profit partners like Mass Fallen Heroes and the Veterans Cannabis Project during this critical time where the needs of military veterans and their families have only grown,” said Patrik Jonsson, Curaleaf Northeast President. “We look forward to our continued work on behalf of our veterans.”

Coupled with the major donations, Curaleaf has supported employment and awareness efforts for military organizations through its involvement in the Mass Fallen Heroes Innovets program, which is an incubator for entrepreneurship among military veterans, and through several volunteer efforts.

Duffy Gold Star Family House Fire

Massachusetts Gold Star Family Fire Relief Fund

On Saturday, March 6, 2021, one of our Gold Star families endured a scary and traumatic event—the loss of their home. Flames engulfed the residence where the Duffy family resided in Taunton, Mass. Fortunately, the Duffys were uninjured after getting out in time. However, their home has been totally destroyed along with all of their personal items.

Keavin is a retired Taunton Firefighter. He and his wife Frances raised their four children in this home, one of them being Shane. SGT Shane Duffy made the ultimate sacrifice on June 4, 2008, in Iraq while serving in the Army.

This life-changing incident has rocked their entire family, and once again they are forced to pick up the pieces and attempt to continue on. Please join us in showing the Duffy family that we all have them in our thoughts and prayers and will be assisting them by raising funds for rebuilding their home and providing them with any other assistance needed.

Your donations are greatly appreciated, as well as your effort in sharing the donation info with as many people as possible. Mass Fallen Heroes has pledged $5,000.00 and 100% of all funds raised will be restricted to the Duffy Family.

MFH Newsletter Fall 2020

Get the latest news about Massachusetts Fallen Heroes. In this issue, we cover:

  • 9/11 Remembrance
  • Gold Star Family Virtual Events
  • Community Outreach
  • Veteran’s Day
  • Holiday Remembrance Tree
  • Remembering the Fallen