HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will be awarding their prestigious “Above and Beyond Award” to two members of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition.

Former Holyoke Soldiers Home Superintendent, Paul Barabani and former Deputy Superintendent, John Paradis are being recognized by the VFW for their work in providing support and advocating for the rights of elderly Massachusetts veterans. They were nominated by past VFW State Commander, Russell Jobe.

The VFW issued this statement: “This is a rare, national award which is presented to an individual who exemplifies through work, actions, and perseverance a level of service that is above and beyond in support of our Veterans and their community,”

Barabani and Pardadis were cited for creating the Holyoke Soldiers Home Coalition in the wake of the deaths of 77 veterans from during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coalition has successfully advocated for many health protocol and management reforms, and the reconstruction of a new facility at the Holyoke location.

The Florence VFW Post 8006 will also be receiving a VFW National Award in recognition as the 2021 Outstanding Community Service Post for the State of Massachusetts.

The awards presentation will be held at noon on January 23 at the VFW Post 8006, 18 Meadow Street, Florence, MA.