CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A coalition of veterans and supporters are conducting several ‘standouts’ throughout the Pioneer Valley this week to draw awareness and support for major renovations to the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.
“We had 1/3 of our residents pass away,” said John Hurley, veteran, and captain of the outreach program for the Fund Holyoke Soldier’s Home Now Coalition. “I think many of it could have been prevented—maybe not all of it—but many of it could have been prevented and we could have had more veterans still alive. So this has to be done.”
The effort is all part of a campaign calling on Governor Charlie Baker to immediately approve funding for renovation improvements. Construction of a new wing for 120 private rooms for veteran residents would be included in the project.
James Bouchard, a veteran from Granby told 22news residents should be provided with greater independence, safety, and improved quality of life.
“My son was wounded in Afghanistan,” said Bouchard. “Hopefully he won’t have to use the facility, but you know I want to have something there for him. I will probably be using it too.”
Several veteran organizations have written a letter to the Baker-Polito Administration in support of the coalition’s cause including the Military Order of the Purple Heart Department of Massachusetts.
Nearly 1,500 people have signed the petition in support of the coalition’s call for action. Anyone interested in signing the petition has until August 31.