HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Bob Aucoin should be eligible for the funds through the Holyoke Soldiers’ home settlement, he said this is a good step, but this will never replace those lives lost.

When speaking with 22News, Bob remembered his neighbor from across the hall, Don, “He’s a Yankees fan, too, god bless him.” Don’s daughter was in the room when Don died.

“And that was pretty sad, knowing that was somebody I knew [was] tough,” said Bob.

Bob, a veteran who served in the Air Force in the 60’s, has lived in the Soldiers’ Home for four years. The pandemic arrived like a wave, where both he and his daughter, Michelle, were not getting answers.

“They had a truck outside and that’s where they were putting the boys in, but that’s about it, that’s all we really knew,” Bob explained.

“It was going like wildfire, why is it going on? Why is no one getting any answers? Why is it stopping?” Michelle said.

Michelle wasn’t able to go inside, a bad situation that became terrifying when Bob got COVID. Call after call to see how he was doing, while Bob was on oxygen for weeks. 22News asked him if he was afraid he would die.

“I never even thought of it,” Bob said, adding with a laugh. “It never entered my mind. Strange huh?”

Bob survived. Michelle said she feels lucky to still have her only parent with her, but recognizes there are so many who can’t say the same.

“I can only imagine what the families went through with their family members that passed away” Michelle said. “It’s very sad.”

When it comes to the past, Bob said that he’s moving forward, but he wants to make sure that no one forgets what happened.

“It happened, it’s gone,” he said. “I’m living now. I’m not living back then. You got to move on that’s all there is.”

Bob said things have improved at the Soldiers’ Home since this tragedy, and he’s longer living three to a room.