Our son is currently serving in the Army National Guard as a radar tech in Afghanistan. He was in the Army full time for five years and has served in Iraq. He is now associated with the unit in Massachusetts because, when he made the decision to re-up, Maine does not offer radar positions, so he decided to join the Brockton, Mass., unit doing what he loves to do.
We have learned that Massachusetts soldiers receive a welcome-home bonus upon their return from war. That is a wonderful way of saying "thank you" for giving so much time of their lives to protect us. Unfortunately, our son will not qualify for that as he is not a legal resident of Massachusetts.
I contacted Peggy Rotundo and she inquired about the issue. I received an e-mail from her and from Peter Ogdon, who represents the Maine Veterans Services. Both e-mails stated that Maine does not offer such a bonus, and Massachusetts bonuses are for Massachusetts residents only.
I understand that Maine and Massachusetts are different, but I feel our son's life is of the same value as the Massachusetts soldiers with whom he works day after day, side by side, risking his life the same way they do.
I don't know if there is anyone who can help us with this, but I think the public should know what is happening when Maine soldiers serve with an out-of-state unit.
Doreen and Norm Gagne, Lewiston