Haverhill Councilors Back Giving COVID-19 Relief Aid to City Veterans’ Groups

VFW Lorraine Post 29 Post Commander Keith Gopsill. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill veterans’ groups are looking for help to offset money lost due to COVID-19.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Lorraine Post 29 Junior Commander Keith Gopsill told city councilors Tuesday the groups require federal relief aid to make ends meet.

“It would help with the various insurances, utilities, required bonds, and we think that with the assistance, it will allow us to continue the great work that we’ve done for the veterans in the community, their families and also the community at large,” Gopsill explained.

Shawn Watkins, adjutant of the Haverhill Veterans Council, echoed the request, saying even without income, they never stopped serving the veteran community.

“During COVID, we were prevented from our normal revenue sources because everything is donations and fundraising, and we couldn’t do much for fundraising, but we continued our mission. We figured out ways to deliver meals at veterans’ homes and that was a way for us to check in on them and we continue our mission,” he said.

Although councilors were unanimous in voicing support, they explained the terms of these various grants require a thorough accounting of how the money is being spent. Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan gave his advice.

“You really need to identify exactly what you want this money to be used for. I do think that’s important that you nail down exactly the areas that you want help and I would fully support making that happen,” he said.

Watkins thanked the Council and noted he is in the process of putting a detailed request together.

Members voted unanimously to back a motion offered by Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua to send a letter of support to Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Community Development Director Andrew K. Herlihy.

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