The Central Massachusetts Veterans' Services District
The Central Massachusetts Veterans' Services District (CMVSD), officially formed on May 6, 2013, serves the towns of Grafton, Northborough, Shrewsbury, and Westborough. CMVSD is the municipal advocate for U.S. veterans living within the district, regardless of branch or time of service. As part of our services, CMVSD administers the veterans' benefits program covered under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115, offers guidance and assistance for accessing benefits through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and helps local veterans access the wide range of local, state, and federally funded initiatives and services offered by public and private agencies. Click here to contact us.
John Gallinagh is experienced in Veterans' issues and an accomplished business owner and former CEO. He served 2 years active duty in the US Navy. His skill in developing and maintaining key relationships within the district with both businesses and individuals has enhanced our services and inspired our community. John is also the Secretary of the Westborough Veterans' Advisory Board and the Westborough Burial Agent and Graves Officer.
Mike Perna served for 36 years in the MA Air National Guard, retiring in 2004 as a SMSgt, 1st Sgt. Mike is a known local historian, and has authored four books on Shrewsbury/Lake Quinsigamond history and is a newspaper columnist for the Shrewsbury Chronicle, where he has written a weekly history article for the past 17 years. Mike has also served as the Chief, Military Records Branch for the Commonwealth of MA since 2004. In addition, Mike is also a member of the town's Historical Commission and Shrewsbury Historical Society.
Justin Sousa is the Director of the Central Massachusetts Veterans' Service District. He served as a combat medic in Afghanistan in 2011 and as a member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard from 2007 - 2014. His extensive knowledge of local, state, and federal veteran services is being put to good use by the veterans he serves. His intent as director is to educate veterans on the benefits available to them, and then help them access and navigate those benefits.
The mission of CMVSD is to act as the chief advocate for our local veterans. To accomplish our mission, we:
- assist veterans to access and navigate federal, state, and local programs, benefits, and other resources;
- serve as an information conduit for veterans and their families;
- coordinate across state agencies and local governments;
- develop innovative, flexible outreach to address veterans' needs;
- provide individual support where necessary;
- provide leadership and proactively respond to systematic issues and policies that impact veterans and their families, and;
- assist in providing a dignified resting place for our fallen heroes.
The Department of Veterans Services
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services (DVS) is the Commonwealth's lead agency for overseeing the general welfare of the Commonwealth's veterans and their families. DVS establishes policy, proposes legislation, and advocates for adequate funding for the commonwealth's veterans' benefits program under chapter 115 of the Massachusetts General Laws, and other veterans' program and services. Although DVS works closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), DVS should not be confused with the VA, which is an agency of the federal government. Click here for DVS services.