America is at war against terrorism and Representative Carlo Basile said the victims of last week’s Boston Marathon bombing are casualties of that war and should receive help from the state.
Basile has amended his wounded veterans bill to include those severely injured during last week’s attack.
“Just like our wounded veterans that are returning home from overseas with missing limbs we now have dozens of amputees locally that are going to need our help,” said Basile, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Last week’s attack killed three and wounded nearly 200 people. Of those wounded many suffered severe lower limb injuries and amputations.
“The people that were wounded did not sign up for military combat but they became casualties of war,” said Basile. “It is our duty to help these victims and by broadening this bill to include those victims and their families we can help with the healing process.”
Basile filed the legislation that would force the state to financially aid returning veterans who have been injured in combat and lost limbs or the use of limbs while serving their country last week.
After the Marathon attack, Basile added an amendment to Chapter 115 of the General Laws by inserting language that would allow returning veterans and those injured and maimed in the attack the ability to apply for financial help and receive benefits for the purpose of home modification from the Commonwealth.
The benefits provided to veterans and victims of the bombing will be used to provide any modification, including but not limited to, special fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the veteran’s disability. These benefits will be available for the modification of every owner-occupied or rented dwelling, dwelling unit, mobile dwelling unit or rooming house in which the wounded veteran or bombing victim resides.
The benefits, said Basile, will be capped at $75,000 for people that qualify for the financial assistance.
While the bill did not pass during the last legislative session it has not deterred Basile and the events of last week have brought his intentions closer to home.
“Right now, Massachusetts leads the country when it comes to veteran support programs, but that is not enough,” said Basile. “The sacrifices these men and women make should be repaid to them tenfold and after last week’s attack the men, woman and children injured deserve the same respect.”
Basile was inspired to become involved in veteran affairs by his friend, Andrew Biggio, a leading figure at the East Boston ITAMs. Biggio is a veteran of two tours – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He started the Wounded Veterans Bike Run after returning home from his second tour.
This year’s Vet Run will roar through Eastie on Saturday, April 27.
“Carlo (Basile) is one of those guys you can call on the phone and tell him you have a wounded veteran or a veteran that recently returned home from active duty that needs help and he’ll do anything he can to lend a hand,” said Biggio. “He’s done so much to make the Vet Run a success and this year’s fundraiser will be no different with his help.”