For Immediate Release
September 08, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced today that he has selected Francisco Urena to be the new Commissioner of Veterans Services for the City of Boston. Urena is currently Veterans Service Director for the City of Lawrence and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served eight years in the US Marine Corps and was awarded a Purple Heart for sustained combat injuries. Boston’s Veteran’s Services Department is currently implementing a reorganization plan to improve policies and procedures and better serve younger veterans, following an independent review and report issued by Mayor Menino earlier this year.
“I’m excited for the fresh energy and new focus that Francisco will bring,” Mayor Menino said. “His exceptional service in Operation Iraqi Freedom and his experience overseeing Veterans Affairs in Lawrence make him uniquely suited to lead this department as we continue to adapt and evaluate how we can best support our young veterans and their families in the 21st century.”
“I have long loved the city of Boston and respect the way in which the city is mindful and dedicated to our armed services personnel,” Francisco Urena said. “I remain dedicated to serving veterans from all walks of life and I am excited to work with Mayor Menino to support the veterans of Boston and their families.”
In early 2011, Mayor Menino ordered an independent review of the policies and procedures of Boston’s Veterans Services Department, following an investigation by the Boston Police Department’s Anti-Corruption unit in conjunction with the Suffolk County District Attorney. The report included recommendations in three areas: Personnel, Policies and Procedures, and Technology. It has been used as a road map to assist the city in reducing the risk of fraud and updating procedures to develop a more effective service agency for recently returned service members and their families.
As Director of Veterans Services in Lawrence since 2007, Urena has singlehandedly managed an active caseload spanning conflicts from World War II to present. In 2008 he was awarded Veterans’ Services Officer of the year under Secretary Thomas Kelley, of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services. During his eight years of honorable service in the United States Marine Corps, Urena performed the duties of Diplomatic Security with the Department of State, serving at two American embassies in Damascus, Syria and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He was on the front lines as a tank commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was awarded a Purple Heart for sustained combat injuries.
About the City of Boston Veterans Services Department:
The mission of the Veterans’ Service Department is to provide financial assistance to eligible veterans and their dependents residing in Boston; participate in the payment of burial expenses for indigent veterans under prescribed regulations; assist all veterans in obtaining whatever benefits (federal, state or local) to which they may be entitled; oversee the decoration of all veterans’ graves (primarily in Boston) on Memorial Day; and carry out commemorative and recording activities related to Boston Veterans. Currently, over 700 veterans are receiving services from the City of Boston.