LGBTQ Veterans Panel Discussion
Time & Location
About the Event
Join us for a conversation with four outstanding LGBTQ veterans as they explore issues facing veterans within our LGBTQ community. We’ll learn about challenges our veterans still face, and successes we can enjoy. Our conversation will be moderated by Sue O’Connell, and will be followed by questions from the audience, time permitting.The Panelists
Robert Santiago – Commissioner, Veterans Services Santiago joined the City of Boston in 2016 as Deputy Commissioner at the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Services. He is the first Puerto Rican and LGBTQ Veterans’ Commissioner in the City’s history. Before joining the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Services, Santiago served 20 years in the Navy in diverse duty stations including sea duty on four warships; and overseas tours in Belgium, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Japan. Santiago participated in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Eastern Exit, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. His final duty station was in Boston onboard America’s Ship of State, the USS CONSTITUTION which is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. He retired from military service in 2008 while onboard USS CONSTITUTION. Santiago is on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Veterans Services Officer Association and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Santiago is also a member of the leadership team for the Homes for the Brave initiative which is part of the Mayors’ Challenge to end Veterans’ homelessness. He currently resides in Jamaica Plain with his husband, Robert Torres.
Deborah Drew – Board member, Boston Pride Committee Deborah (Debbie) Drew is the President and CEO of GovMojo Inc, a management consulting and employee development company that focuses on diversity and inclusion. GovMojo is a Veterans Administration-verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Debbie is the Past Vice President of Worcester Pride and is the Secretary of Log Cabin Republicans of Massachusetts. In 2016, Governor Baker appointed her as a Commissioner on Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. She is also an Associate Director on the Board of her credit union. Debbie is a veteran of the US Army and has over 24 years of leadership experience at pharmaceutical companies around the world. She has held leadership positions in LGBTQI employee networks in large international corporations, is the past Chair of the Out&Equal Workplace Advocates Transgender Advisory Committee and a member of the team that wrote Out&Equal’s Workplace Gender Identity and Transition Guidelines.
Hanna Tripp Hanna Tripp is the Veterans Caseworker for the Office of Congressman Seth Moulton. Hanna previously served in the United States Air Force from 2009 to 2013 as both an AC-130u Aerial Gunner and C-5 Loadmaster. As an Aerial Gunner, she was deployed to Iraq where she flew 20 combat sorties in support of special operation forces and was awarded an Air Medal for her actions. She has since served on the Board of Directors for Modern Military Association of America (formerly Outserve-SLDN), was a community service fellow with The Mission Continues at the Office of Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III and is currently a Defense Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.
Father Alex Oneto Rev. Fr. Alex Oneto is a Vietnam Veteran who served as a Medic with the US Marines. Fr Alex served for 6 yrs. Serving 2 Yrs. of Active Duty and 4 yrs. as a Reservist. Fr Alex holds degrees in Biology from Simmons College, Syracuse, NY. as well as Theology and Philosophy degrees From St Hyacinth’s College and Seminary Granby, MA. He is the Pastor of St Frances X. Cabrini Mission in Roxbury, MA. were he has served for 9 yrs. Prior to that assignment he was Associate Pastor at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Providence, R.I. Arriving here in 1984 Fr Alex began his work serving the needs of Boston’s LGBTTQ Community and over the coming years he has been a Board Member of GOAL/NE, The Boston Living Center, and the Board of Visitors, Legacy Society and the Haviland Society of Fenway Health. He has been a supporter of Fenway Health for over 25 yrs. He often speaks at The Arlington Street Church and works closely with both Jewish and Christian Clergy.