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Students send more than 1,000 letters of appreciation to veterans at Holyoke Soldiers' Home

State Senator John Velis with Holyoke Soldiers' Home staff members and letters from students for veterans on November 11, 2022.
Office of State Senator John Velis
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State Senator John Velis with Holyoke Soldiers' Home staff members and letters from students for veterans .

Veterans at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, received more than a thousand letters of appreciation from school students on Monday.

State Sen. John Velis, D- Westfield, organized the initiative, which began during the pandemic when visits to the home were limited. Schools were asked if they'd be willing to participate.

"Never did we imagine that the response was going to be as overwhelming as it's been," Velis said.

This year, students in kindergarten through twelth grade in Westfield, Easthampton, Agawam, West Springfield and other communities sent in letters, cards and drawings.

Velis said the veterans at the home really appreciate the effort.

"We've heard from the staff that they kind of compare letters," he said. "They talk about where the students are from, so it gets them to laugh, it gets them to smile. [It] just brightens up their day. And that's what it's all about on this Veterans Day — thanking those who have shown that willingness to raise their hand and go serve.

Velis said letters written by area students will also be included in care packages being sent to those serving in the military overseas.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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