Military Appreciation Day marked at The Big E

Not only was Friday opening day of The Big E, it was also Military Appreciation Day.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:29 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Not only was Friday opening day of The Big E, it was also Military Appreciation Day. Active and retired military service members had the chance to enjoy the fair for free today, but also learn about benefits available to them.

The first day is always exciting at The Big E with all the sights and sounds of the fair once again returning to West Springfield, but adding to the excitement was Military Appreciation Day.

“I think it’s great, I think it’s great,” said Jim Maloney, who is retired from the Air Force.

The event gave military service members - active and retired - the chance to reflect and connect, while enjoying the fair.

“It’s awesome. I like the fallen military members table. They have some up here…was nice,” said Greg Medina, who is retired from the Navy.

However, they also had the opportunity to learn about their benefits and other crucial information.

“Every single VA benefit that a veteran can qualify for is represented here today, so you can plug in, understand your benefits, and get to them,” said Michael McNamara with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

It’s a service that he said matters

“A lot of veterans… and their families are unaware and uneducated on what they qualify for, so people are perhaps, are paying for different healthcare needs they really don’t need to that they can get through VA healthcare for free,” McNamara added.

The information was helpful to Medina and his family.

“My wife checks and benefits that she’s entitled to because of my disability,” Medina noted.

Free admission for service members was available until the end of the day Friday. The fair closes at 11 p.m. Friday.