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2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Video Program Premieres on November 14, 2020

2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Cover Photo. Photograph by Laura Paton.
A veteran proudly holds his torch at the 2019 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Lighting in Providence. Photograph by Laura Paton.


The 2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Online Video Premiere Screening is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. on WaterFire Providence’s Facebook Live and Youtube channels. The program will also be broadcast on Rhode Island PBS.

Presented in partnership with the State of Rhode Island, the Providence VA Healthcare Systems and PREVENTS, the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide, WaterFire Providence will premiere a pre-recorded video program to salute our nations veterans and active-duty military personnel and help raise awareness of the ongoing suicide and mental health crisis among those who serve.

The 2020 Salute to Veterans Online Video premiere is sponsored by National Grid, Starwood Energy/Manchester Street Power Station, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, and Citizens Bank.

National Grid
Chishom Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD. Logo
Citizens Bank
Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen
Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen

The 2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans keynote speaker is Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, executive director of PREVENTS. Prior to heading the PREVENTS taskforce, Dr. Van Dahlen is the Founder and President of Give an Hour, a national nonprofit that provides free mental health services to those in need including our service members, veterans, their families, and other at-risk groups. 

The 2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans program will also include inspirational messages from Governor Gina Raimondo, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, Congressman Jim Langevin, and the Director of Rhode Island Department of Veterans Affairs Kasim Yarn. The National Anthem will be performed by the RI Army National Guard “Governor’s Own” 88th Army Band; Navy Band Northeast will also join in for additional musical performances; a retrospective of Torch Lighting Ceremonies from previous years WaterFire Salute to Veterans events; a video from “Spirit of ‘45” celebrating America’s Greatest Generation on the 75th anniversary of their Greatest Day, a video recognizing new enlistees from Rhode Island, videos honoring WWII veterans & Gold Star Families; and a closing ceremony video featuring the Providence Fire Department and local Veterans filmed at the WaterFire Arts Center.

Additionally, Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea will introduce a video presentation honoring Rhode Island’s Student Veterans produced by the Rhode Island Chapter of the Student Veterans of America. Rhode Island Lt. Governor Dan McKee and Treasurer Seth Magaziner will also offer their thoughts honoring our veterans.

“Our nation’s veterans continue to struggle with the challenges of returning home after enduring the stresses and pressures of combat. These challenges cannot be ignored as they are real and continuously manifest in personal tragedies. In our honoring of veterans during this event, we are focusing on the Mental Health and Wellness of the veteran and their families. Only through this focus can we assist in mitigating these struggles to provide for a healthier lifestyle. In this challenging year of 2020, WaterFire salutes our nation’s heroes to recognize their selfless duty to our country. While unable to hold this event outside as normal with our large number of participants, the WaterFire Salute to Veterans Planning Committee and the whole WaterFire team feels it is imperative to honor our nation’s heroes in the best manner possible. We are glad that you can join us during this online event to honor veterans and all active-duty military personnel.”

– Dora Vasquez-Hellner and Ted Williams WaterFire Salute to Veterans Committee Co-chairs.

The 2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Online Video Premiere will be a 60-minute presentation that will be broadcast on WaterFire Providence’s Facebook Live and Youtube channels and will simulcast on RIPBS. The program will premiere on Saturday, November 14, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. Afterwards the program will be available for on-demand viewing at any time.

Leading up to the 2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Online Video Premiere on November 14, WaterFire Providence and Leadership Rhode Island will present two live panel discussions moderated by Casey Woods, Executive Director at Overwatch Project | FORGE, and emceed by Mike Ritz, Executive Director of Leadership Rhode Island. On November 12 the topic will be Innovative Treatments and Approaches for Post-Traumatic Stress and on November 13 the topic will be Managing Post-Military Employment Success. Each discussion will take place from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST and will be viewable on Facebook Live.

  • Innovative Treatments and Approaches for Post-Traumatic Stress
    Thursday, November 12, 2020, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
    As much as 20% of the post-9/11 veteran population experiences Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) in a given year. With symptoms that include flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety, PTS can impact a veteran’s ability to live a healthy and fulfilled life.
  • Managing Post-Military Employment Success
    Friday, November 13, 2020, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
    Transitioning from a military to a civilian career can be hard. Join us for a conversation with three business and nonprofit leaders, all veterans themselves, who will share their own experiences with the transition as well as knowledge and resources to help other veterans successfully navigate the employment landscape.

During the 2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans video WaterFire Providence, PREVENTS, and the Providence VA Healthcare System will be highlighting ways that veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their families, can take action towards suicide prevention and how they can get help with mental healthcare through PREVENTS and the VA’s many online and in-person resources. Veterans or active-duty military personnel in need of assistance can visit to access these resources. Follow the hashtag #MoreThanEverBefore to get daily news and learn more about the PREVENTS program and what you can do to help those in need or get help yourself. Veterans can always call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) for immediate help.

2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Committee

  • Dora Vasquez-Hellner (Co-Chair)
  • Ted Williams (Co-Chair)
  • John Gallo, Sr.
  • Mike Ritz
  • Stephen Mondaca
  • Dana Mondaca
  • Michael Cerullo
  • Steven Boudreau
  • Bruce Ferreira
  • Kasim Yarn
  • Mike Thomas
  • Lisa Woodbury Rama
  • Rebecca Gard
  • Heather Oberg
  • Lynn St. Germain
  • Matthew Shea
  • Meghan Connelly

About the author

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I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.

4 thoughts on “2020 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Video Program Premieres on November 14, 2020”

  1. Dora Vasquez-Hellner

    Tim thank you for starting this blog. It has been an honor to co-chair this year’s event. Little did we know after our first couple of meetings we would need to adjust to a virtual event. The group stepped in and did what the military does on a regular basis, adjust to the situation. I have made so many wonderful lifelong connections from this event. Thank you Ted Williams with your outstanding co-chair abilities. My final words – Go Army!

    1. Thank you Dora. I’m proud to do my part to help Rhode Island celebrate our veterans. Looking forward to the video premiere on November 14!

  2. Hi my name is Jim LaRose and I served our country for 8 years. I’m currently the Commander for Howard Rogers American Legion Post 25 out of Pawtucket. I think it’s awesome what your doing Tim. If I can help,join or participate. Please call401 641-7442 or email me at
    Thank you,
    Commander Jim

    1. Thank you, Commander Jim! Your support is vital to our success. You can help out by sharing our event links with any who you think would enjoy or could benefit from tuning into our program on November 14 or the panel discussions on November 12 and 13. Thank you again for supporting the WaterFire Salute to Veterans.

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