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Veteran Weldon Long, 82, 'Loved People'

One of the veterans from the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home who died in recent days of COVID-19 was Weldon Marion Long, 82.

"The staff down at the Soldiers’ Home really treated him like a complete human being that he still was," his only child, Mike Long, 52, told NEPR. "You know, he had Alzheimer’s, but he was always very happy. Good last few years he had down there."

Weldon Long died on April 8. He was born in Texarcana, and "loved people," according to his son. He served for two years as an infantryman in Korea, from 1957 to 1959. He later settled in Colorado, got married, and became a dad.

Mike shared one of his dad's legacies as an apartment manager in Denver in the late 1960s.

"My dad and my mom really held their ground as far as who they thought were good people to rent to," he said. "They just looked at people as potential neighbors. And I remember the building owner getting kind of upset with them. So they — pretty much by themselves — desegregated an apartment building, and it turned out that it kinda desegregated the block. And now, if you go back, that's sort of one of the nicest streets in Denver."

Mike said he got a call from the Soldiers' Home four days before his father died.

"They thought it was imminent," he said. "And I was able to be with him for his last four days. And I just really, really appreciate the nurses and the National Guard, and all that they did to make the accommodations safe and available."

Mike said he had to be in quarantine for two weeks after visiting with his dad.

"I’ve been taking my temperature three times a day since I left the Soldiers' Home," he said. "And yeah, everything is good."

After talking with NEPR, Mike texted about the care his dad received at the Soldiers' Home. He wrote, "everyone in the building are (were) heroes."

Carrie Healy hosts the local broadcast of "Morning Edition" at NEPM. She also hosts the station’s weekly government and politics segment “Beacon Hill In 5” for broadcast radio and podcast syndication.
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