Saturday, 2:15 PM
Servicemembers get "Welcome Home" $1K checks
By Brian Ballou, Globe Staff
The greeting "Welcome home" came with a $1,000 check yesterday for nine US servicemembers, a thank-you from the Commonwealth for helping with the war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The greeting has already been mailed to at least 17,000 servicemembers in the state, but there are about 7,000 eligible Marines or soldiers who still have not applied to receive their tax-free check.
Yesterday, in the State House's Grand Staircase, Cahill made a push to get the word out that servicemembers called into active duty since 9/11 and served in combat theaters in Afghanistan or Iraq are eligible for the checks.
State Representative Anthony Verga, the co-chair of the joint committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, said at yesterday's event, "The idea that we're just giving this money to you, let me tell you something, we're not giving it, you've earned it.''
The recipients were given large cardboard checks, the kind that lottery officials give to mega winners, and State Treasurer Tim Cahill also handed them small white envelopes that contained the actual checks.
Each soldier or Marine posed with Cahill, Verga, and Massachusetts National Guard Brigadier General Thomas Sellars, while the servicemember's spouses and other relatives snapped pictures. About 60 people attended the ceremony.
Former Gov. Mitt Romney signed the Welcome Home Bill into law on Veteran's Day 2005.