For more than twenty-five years Ken Smith has been a leading advocate for veterans. A combat Vietnam veteran, Ken served during 1971-72 as a paramedic and an infantry squad leader with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, in the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. After his discharge, Ken continued his work as a paramedic in New England. On the streets of Boston he encountered growing numbers of homeless Vietnam veterans, and he became determined to both assist them and draw attention to their plight.

In 1989, Ken founded the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans, located in a former VA hospital at 17 Court Street in downtown Boston. One of the first facilities designed for homeless veterans and now a national model, the shelter has served over 35,000 of America’s veterans who, for whatever reason, find themselves living on the streets.

In 1992 Ken was awarded Point of Light #142 by President George H. W. Bush, and later that same year received the AMVETS Silver Helmet Award, considered the “Oscar” for American veterans. As one of America’s foremost veterans service organizations, AMVETS (or American Veterans) has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve our country and its citizens. Ken was awarded this honor along with Peter Coors, with whom he still maintains a personal friendship.

Over the years Ken has appeared on many national media programs including Good Morning America, Prime Time Live, ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN, 60 Minutes, and The Geraldo Show. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and numerous international newspapers, magazines, and websites. In 1992, Ken had the distinction of addressing both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions as a keynote speaker on the subject of veterans.

Ken recently left his last assignment with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, where he was the chief technology architect of the Veteran’s Vocational Technical Institute, Purple Heart Car Donation program, Purple Heart Call Center, Purple Heart Radio, Purple Heart Tech Support, Purple Heart Services, and over thirty new Purple Heart websites. Ken Smith provided the vision and has overseen the implementation of innovative, virtual, work-at-home training programs for veterans with combat disabilities. Ken has designed, upgraded, and supervised the integration and installation of Purple Heart Service Foundations computer and telephony systems, upgrading features from legacy POTS phones to SIP-trunked communications systems including establishing new VPN networks for teams of remote virtual employees.

An adventure sports enthusiast, Ken enjoys extreme skiing, competitive sailing, flying, and travel. He has traveled extensively worldwide, delivering his positive message to the veterans of other countries that a paraplegic veteran of the United States suffers the same as a paraplegic veteran of India; that an amputee veteran of Nepal suffers as much as an amputee veteran of France. Ken’s mentor was Harold Russell, the two-time Academy Award winner who starred in the 1946 film Best Years of Our Lives. A World War II veteran, on D-Day, June 6th, 1944, Harold lost both of his hands. This ghastly misfortune did not stop him, and he went on to become the chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Disabilities. For over fifty years he served US presidents from Truman to Clinton. Ken was humbled and grateful when Harold agreed to serve as the best man at Ken’s wedding.
Ken has been instrumental in the planning stages for the Veterans Workshop, a new nationwide veterans’ advocacy group building a new “Veterans Hotline, and the development of special programs for those who have lost their sight or their hearing, or who have suffered spinal cord injury, as a result of their military experience. The Veterans Workshop provides a forum where new technology and advancements in the fields of prosthetic and orthotic solutions, many designed by Ken, are shared along with virtual training and employment programs.

A 1970 graduate of De La Salle Academy in Newport, Rhode Island, for the past twenty-five years Ken has continued his education with extensive college courses in computer technology and related social service fields. He resides in his native state of Rhode Island with his wife and children.

View Latest Posts >>>

Mitt Romney – Ted Kennedy and Veterans Milking Cows

Romney Privately Makes Good on the Milk Goof in a Classy Way


 … by  Ken Smith


Mitt Romney and Veterans

Once upon a time, I ran the largest shelter for Homeless Veterans in the USA, located in Boston Massachusetts.  Here is a story about Mitt Romney and Ted Kennedy that I remember with a smile:

Mitt Romney ran as the Republican candidate in the 1994 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts, losing to incumbent Ted Kennedy.

I know a little bit about that race, as at the time, I was the executive director of the homeless veterans shelter in downtown Boston.  

I invited both Kennedy and Romney to the shelter and since both were based out of Boston, it got onto both of their busy schedules to come and take a tour of our facility and have a talk with the hundreds of homeless veterans who lived at the shelter.

Kennedy’s visit was brief as I remember, he came and spent maybe 25 minutes, looked around at our progress and seemed impressed with what we had done with the old VA hospital.

He congratulated us on our programs and promised if he was elected to the senate for another term, he would befriend the shelter and that’s exactly what he did.

Mitt Romney came in a few days later and spent close to an hour absorbing everything we showed him about how our program worked.

We explained that our operation was more like a “boot camp” for homeless veterans and there were rules and expectations and each vet was expected to “get tough and get out” as that was our motto.

Ted Kennedy - Mitt Romney Senate Race - 1994When either of these candidates came for their visit, they brought with them a ton of media.

TV crews, print reporters and assorted staff added to all the confusion of trying to show the candidate’s what the homeless veterans shelter was trying to accomplish.

It was a three ring circus, similar to what you are seeing on TV now as the candidates visit coffee shops and schools giving speeches in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

At the end of Romney’s visit, as he was preparing to leave out the front door, he pulled me aside and asked me what was the biggest problem that I was facing at the time?

Milk, I said.

Milk?  What do you mean Milk?  he stated

I explained that the state of Massachusetts was giving me $2.37 per vet, per day for meals.  That funding included both dinner and breakfast expenses and since you couldn’t go to McDonalds for that amount of money, one of the biggest expenses I encountered, was giving each vet a pint of milk at dinner and again at breakfast.

Now, what I didn’t know at the time, was that Romney has a funny bone.

Ah Yes - Who Remembers Doing This?

His response to me was “Well Ken, maybe you can teach the vets to milk cows”.

I think my jaw was on the floor as he headed out the door and one reporter came over to me and asked what he said.

Did he just tell you to have homeless vets milk cows?  asked the young guy

Yes, he did.

That remark about milking cows spiraled way out of proportion to the comment and as a result Romney got killed in the media for saying it.  It was his “Fire them from their jobs” comment now.

The next day, the newspapers ran with the story and immediately the Romeny camp called me and was pissed.

“He didn’t mean that homeless vets should actually Milk Cows”, you know that, said the guy calling me .  Actually the guy was almost screaming it at me.

An hour later, Romney actually called me himself.

“Ken he said, its unfortunate that the discussion about your problem with milk became all blown out of proportion, and I hold myself responsible for that”.

He then went on to say that I should be getting a call from my milk supplier and he again proceeded to tell me how impressed he was with the concept of veterans working their way out of homelessness instead of being warehoused.

He was impressed with what we had built and he said so.

Among Other Things - He Was the Milk Man, When it was Needed, and Counted

The following week, the milk supplier called and told me that there was an anonymous donor who was going to pay for half the milk bill.

Opps! - I Got Milk All Over Me

For the next couple of years, not weeks, and not months, but for the next couple of YEARS, the bill I got from the milk supplier versus the amount of milk we were consuming was cut in half.

Years later, I found out that the anonymous donor was Romney.

Out of his own pocket he did this.

No press releases, no media attention, no “Look at what I am doing for homeless veterans” just him doing something that was good, and his generosity helped thousands of veterans who were homeless with nourishment everyday.

As I watch the republicans fight it out to see who will be the next presidential candidate, I know in my heart, that if Romney is elected, he will be extra special careful with the military and with veterans.

I know this because I have seen it first hand.

Now, I am not endorsing anyone, but thought you might want to know something special about one of the candidates.



Editing, and Spilled Milk Remover:  Jim W. Dean








Related Posts:

The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT, VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners, technicians, or the Veterans Today Network and its assigns. LEGAL NOTICE - COMMENT POLICY

Posted by on January 10, 2012, With 4239 Reads Filed under Government, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

FaceBook Comments

13 Responses to "Mitt Romney – Ted Kennedy and Veterans Milking Cows"

  1. 60sstreetpunk  January 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    One friggin comment and you go ballistic

  2. 60sstreetpunk  January 11, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Ken Smith: my first sentence indicates that I am speaking good of Romney. I only brought up the Israel stuff because I thought Romney was running for President if he gets nod .
    Where did I go criticizing- read the first few words I wrote.

    • Ken Smith  January 11, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Yeah, and the 2nd and third sentences are about Israel, which had nothing to do with the story. Jeez, are you that whacked out that you think that everything is about Israel? Come on, take it for how it was written, all I wanted was to attempt to show you a side of this candidate that maybe you didn’t know. I swear, at times, if some peoples brains were water, their heads would be deserts.

  3. Ken Smith  January 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I would guess your right, that since this story, its not anonymous anymore. I am not sure without the negative publicity if he would have given, that’s a good point, but the simple fact is that he did. So, you have to give credit where credit is due.

  4. joesigur  January 11, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Hey Ken, I wonder if he would have made this gesture without the negative publicity and yes, I am aware he gave annonymously, all though, it’s not annonymous anymore, is it!

  5. Hugh  January 10, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t know you so I won’t question whether you have an alterior motive for your generous report especially this close to an election.

    But I have to wonder, knowing the Romney that’s portrayed by others, if indeed he often feels compelled to consult with his attorneys prior to making any decision that may help someone other than himself.

    • Ken Smith  January 11, 2012 at 5:24 am

      OK, so let me get this right. You think, because you don’t know me, that somehow, I have an alterior motive for reporting on what I saw with my own two eyes. You know Hugh, your always looking for the bogey man under the bed, or for some reason to discount what someone else has seen, without taking into consideration what the story is saying to you. The last sentence of the story says it all. Wake up, there is no conspiracy here, its a story about something that happened. .

  6. 60sstreetpunk  January 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    That tells you a good thing about Romney. It is too bad that he and all the Republicans save for Ron Paul are beholden to Israel. If you want to save lives in the present and future, don’t do what Israel asks. PNAC and AIPAC already accounted for 4500 dead Americans in Iraq as well as other deaths- Iraqi citizens, American and foreign contractors, and you know all this anyway.
    Thanks for the great story. I wonder if Mitt Romney is still like this.

    • Ken Smith  January 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Why am I not amazed that something that this candidate did, something good for American veterans gets tagged as something about Israel. PNAC anbd AIPAC had nothing to do with this story and your attempts to insert it are lame. There is no way to know if he is still the same guy, but for crying out loud, admit it was a good thing and check the other crap at the door. It is what it is. He actually cares about American veterans, i know, I saw it first hand.

  7. Hugh  January 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt.

    One magnanimous gesture does not over shadow nor forgive the un-principled, mercurial beliefs of a statist yearning to be the titular head of empire.

    • Ken Smith  January 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      You know Hugh, you have this idea that i wrote a story to do anything other than to explain a “FIRST HAND” encounter with one of the candidates. Say what you want, but the facts are the facts. You can say its “One magnanimous gesture ” and poke at the story, but you know what? I was there and saw what he did.

  8. Excalibur  January 10, 2012 at 10:38 am

    That is a heart warming story. Are you sure that’s not you actually writing it, Mitt?

    • Ken Smith  January 11, 2012 at 8:48 am

      Hmmm, you calling me Romney? Read my other stories and you will see, I am Ken Smith. Jeez

You must be logged in to post a comment Login