© 2024 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
PBS, NPR and local perspective for western Mass.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Year After Outbreak Revealed, Remembering COVID-19 Victims At Holyoke Soldiers' Home

The Holyoke Soldiers' Home in March 2020.
Jesse Costa
The Holyoke Soldiers' Home in March 2020.

A vigil held Tuesday night at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home marked a year since the announcement of the first coronavirus deaths at the state-run veterans facility. At least 76 veterans who tested positive for COVID-19 died during the outbreak.

The event was organized by labor unions representing workers at the home. Speakers, including staff members and clergy, remembered residents who died and expressed continued support for their families.

"Not a day has gone by since COVID first struck that we have forgotten our veterans and their families, as they are, and will forever, be embedded in our minds and our hearts," said Carrie Forrant, a social worker at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home for the last 28 years. "To the nation, they may have been seen as numbers, statistics and headlines, but — to us — they were, and are, our heroes."

Some speakers also expressed hope for a new Soldiers' Home in Holyoke. A $400 million funding bill proposed by Governor Charlie Baker is currently making its way through the legislature. It needs to be approved soon in order for the project to qualify for federal matching funds.

The former superintendent and medical director of the Soldiers' Home both face criminal charges over their handling of the crisis.

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
Related Content