Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition seeks to create virtual memorial to COVID-19 victims

The Holyoke Soldiers’ Home Coalition is making a list of the names of 76 veterans who died at the home during the COVID-19 outbreak there last spring to create a virtual memorial. But organizers want the approval of family members before they include veterans’ names.

“We are looking for a listing of the names of those who died to be placed on a memorial page on our website,” said spokesman John Paradis. “But we realize that not all families may want the name of their family member released publicly. We want to be respectful to all the parties.”

The coalition is asking family members of the 76 veterans who died from the COVID-19 pandemic while at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, and who want their veteran included on the memorial, to contact the group by Nov. 1 by emailing [email protected]

Paradis said a virtual memorial will be set up at the coalition’s website — www.holyokesoldiershomecoalition.org — to specifically remember the veterans who died of the disease while under the care of the home.

The coalition was created in the wake of the deaths to advocate for improvements to the Soldiers’ Home and the care of veterans who live there.

It is calling for an expansion of the state facility to allow single-patient rooms to better isolate those with communicable diseases and to improve the living conditions of veteran residents, increase services and give veterans a more dignified lifestyle.

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