January 20, 2019

Knights Remember RI Veterans at Christmas

ROVAC led by two EP Friends

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Building on a tradition that began 18 years ago, the East Providence Knights of Columbus Council #1528 led a state wide Knight of Columbus effort to provide the residents of the RI Veteran’s Home in Bristol with clothing, toiletries and other vital necessities for Christmas. ROVAC stands for Remember Our Veterans at Christmas. Operation ROVAC is a giving-mission that was started by Big Blue Bug's Tony DeJesus. DeJesus teamed up with his life-long East Providence friend Steven Perry to combine volunteers from the Knights of Columbus and Big Blue Bug. DeJesus and Perry are East Providence High graduates and are both active in community charities.

The K of C councils across Rhode Island collect gift items all year for distribution to the RI Veteran's Home in Bristol. "It doesn’t take much to change someone’s life and make their holidays bright," said DeJesus. "Thanks to our generous community we have been able to make this amazing charity drive a success year after year." Some of the items collected were board games and playing cards, socks, underwear, comfy pajamas and slippers. Also sweats, sweaters, gloves, jackets, scarves, clothing, books and other gift sets.

Joining the Big Blue Bug Solutions is the Knights of Columbus. During ROVAC Saturday, December 17, 2016, E.P. Council #1528 collected a truckload of clothing and other needed gifts for Christmas distribution to the men and women at the R.I. Veterans Home in Bristol, R.I. “I want to thank all my WPRO listeners, Big Blue Bug Solutions, East Providence Knights Council #1528 and the R.I. Knights of Columbus for all of your generosity. You are all Christmas angels for our veterans” said ROVAC founder, Tony DeJesus. “The project gets bigger every year and it is really heartwarming to present the brave men and women of our Veteran’s Home with these Christmas gifts,” said Steve Perry of the Knights Council #1528 State ROVAC Coordinator. Perry and his members spent weeks organizing and eventually getting the gifts delivered to the Veteran's Home in Bristol.

"Remember, it doesn’t take much to change someone’s life and make their holidays bright. Thanks to our generous community we have been able to make this amazing charity drive a success for 17 years now, and it is that support that will allow continued support for local vets for many more years to come," said a Big Blue Bug statement.

Some of the items collected were board games and playing cards, socks, underwear, comfy pajamas and slippers. Also sweats, sweaters, gloves, jackets, scarves, clothing, books and other gift sets. "Operation ROVAC 2018 totaled 129 boxes and 15 large bags of brand new clothes, toiletries, and necessities for the Veterans Home in Bristol," said Steven Perry, State Community Service director for the Knights of Columbus and state operation chairman for ROVAC. "We topped last year's donation by 65%. An amazing achievement whereby the EP Council 1528 and Knights of Columbus Councils state wide remembered and saluted 200 veterans at Christmas. Over the last four years, the East Providence Council has raised, organized and distributed over $100,000 worth of donations."

The Knights’ next project, as a continuation of their efforts on ROVAC, is to organize a quarterly visitation schedule at the Veteran’s Home to share time with the men and women residing there.

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