HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The last three months have been very hard on family members of veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

The coronavirus killed 78 veterans, including Laurie Beaudette’s father James.

“It’s agonizing knowing how my dad passed seeing him fade away on Facetime, it was awful. I took screenshots and I get nightmares looking at them,” Beaudette told 22News.

Congressman Richard Neal’s uncle was one of more than a hundred veterans infected by the virus. He’s supporting Beaudette and other members of the coalition, “Fund Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Now.”

They’re pushing the state to make upgrades to the facility, including building a five-story addition, that would provide 120 private rooms for veterans.

Congressman Richard Neal wants to see the state invest in the future of the Soldiers’ Home just like the one in Chelsea. And he’s asking them to take into account the coalition’s proposed changes.

Input from the families is very important. This is something that has a lot of emotion attached to it and for good reason. The state has day to day responsibilities but whatever we can do in terms of federal resources that were available, I’d want to embrace that enthusiastically.

Congressman Richard Neal

Governor Baker said he intends to hear from family members on what they’d like to see happen to the facility, now that the state investigation is complete.

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