Santiago Becomes Haverhill’s Veterans Services Officer; Served in Brigade Capturing Hussein

Luis Santiago was appointed by Mayor James J. Fiorentini, replacing Amanda Buckley. (Courtesy photograph.)

A bilingual veteran of the Iraq War became Haverhill’s veterans services officer this week.

Luis Santiago, 39, was appointed by Mayor James J. Fiorentini, replacing Amanda Buckley, who left last month after her Marine fiancée was transferred to another military base. Santiago served as an infantryman in the Army from 2001 to 2005 and was a soldier in the brigade that captured Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. Fiorentini said Santiago already has worked with veterans, serving recently as an intern in the Lawrence Veterans Services Office.

The mayor said, “He has tremendous enthusiasm and has the experience from working in the Lawrence office to start the job immediately. The interview committee was especially impressed with his commitment to helping unemployed veterans find jobs.”

Santiago started work Monday and has already helped a recently discharged female soldier looking for housing and educational benefits and a veteran whose check was lost in the mail. Among other duties, the veterans services officer determines veterans’ eligibility for benefits, decides the extent of financial need and the amount of aid to be given, counsels veterans and their families about available benefits, arranges for veteran burials and helps plan local military observances and holiday celebrations.

Santiago is a 2018 graduate of Northern Essex Community College and a 2019 graduate of Merrimack College. He received his master’s degree in public affairs from Merrimack College in June. While stationed at Colorado’s Fort Carson in the early 2000s, Santiago maintained and managed data bases, personnel assignments, promotions and related personnel actions. Prior to his Lawrence internship, Santiago was a manager at a pharmacy and for a health care provider.

He is a Lawrence native who lives in that city with wife Johanna and their four children. He may be reached at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., by calling 978-374-2351, ext. 3932 or emailing [email protected].

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