Dedication of Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke Attracts 15,000

by Laurel | April 27th, 2010

Holyoke Soldiers' Home

Holyoke Soldiers' Home

April 27, 1952

High-Ranking Officials Attend Ceremony

“The scissors of false economy will never be used to cut the appropriations needed for the maintenance of this outstanding institution erected for the veterans of Massachusetts,” was the assurance of Governor Dever emphasized as he formally dedicated the $3m000,000, 234-bed Soldiers’ Home atop Cherry Hill this afternoon. It was estimated that the crowd at the open air exercises and along the parade route exceeded 15,000.

104th Vets Donate $5000

The dedication followed an inspection of the building by Gov. Dever and the special auditorium exercises during which the 104th Infantry Regiment, Veteran’s Association, which brought its 33d annual convention to a close in Springfield today, formally presented the main lobby furnishings to the home. The association donated over $5,000 for the furnishings.

Harold Russell, double amputee and a past national commander of the Amvets, was a guest of honor at the exercises and he praised Massachusetts for having “one of the best and most complete programs for veterans,” of any state in the nation. The speaker said that the statement was made on the basis of personal observations in tours throughout the Unites States , and Gov Dever was thanked in behalf of the veterans for his outstanding services to the cause of the former servicemen and women.

Stressing the obligation which the state has to the veteran, Gov. Dever said that “Massachusetts has not forgotten the veteran.” The moral debt which the state owes to those who fought to protect the Commonwealth and the nation can never be allowed to lapse, and it is a part of the payment of that debt which Massachusetts “today is discharging by opening the portals of this home as a haven for cure and understanding for the veterans,” Gov. Dever said.

Hits False Economy

The home was termed by Gov. Dever as a “monument to the faith of Massachusetts for her veterans,” and he decried “the parochial action which denied to the western sector of the state for too long an institution for the care of the veteran.” It was, with emphasis that Gov. Dever told the large gathering that “the scissors of false economy” will never be used by him to deny to the veterans the high standard of medical services to which all are entitled.

John S. Begley of this city, a member of the board of trustees of the home, presided at the outdoor program, and the invocation was offered by Rt. Rev. Msgr. George S. L. Connor, vicar general of the Springfield Diocese and a former Army chaplain. Paul G. Martel, commandant, opened the program and presented Chairman Begley, seated on the platform were Mayor Toepfert, Mayor Daniel Brunton of Springfield, Col. Jack Merrill of Westover Air Force Base, several senators and representatives of many city and town governments of the western section of Massachusetts.

Dr. Thomas F. Corriden, of Northampton, chairman of the board of trustees gave a brief resume of the history of the Soldiers’ Home and the legislation which brought it into existence. Dr. Corriden said that the home which is located on a 23-acre site cost $3,100,000 and is staffed by one of the best organizations in the entire Connecticut valley. In behalf of the trustees the chairman extended words of appreciation for the untiring efforts of Gov. Dever to have a hospital for veterans erected for the convenience of those in the western counties and the central part of Massachusetts.

Trustees Introduced

Introduced to the gathering were these members of the board of trustees: John P. Beasley of Springfield, James M. Burt of Lee, James P. Kelly of Holyoke, Walter Stachowicz of Springfield and Dr. Stephen Wolanske of Greenfield. Dr. Isadore Kaplan, medical director of the home, was also introduced.

The dedication program was brought to a close with a prayer offered by Rev. James R. MacArthur of Ludlow.

The auditorium was filled to capacity for the lobby dedication program of the 10th Infantry Regiment Veterans’ Association, and here, too, Commandant Martel, a member of the association, opened the program by presenting Kenneth B. Page, who presided, Rev. D. Earl Daniel, pastor of the First Presbyterian church of this city, offered the invocation and a prayer was also said by Rabbi Hugo Mantel of the Congregation Sons of Zion, also of Holyoke. The closing prayer was given by Msgr Connor.

During the program, Col. Ralph Paladino of Boston, who returned the 104th Infantry Regiment from overseas after World War II , was presented.

A colorful parade in which detachments from Westover Air Force Base, the Massachusetts National Guard, and municipal units participated, was seen by many thousands along the Northanpton street route. The parade formed in the vicinity of the new John J. Lynch Junior High School and moved south in Northampton St., then west on Cherry St., to the home.

From The Springfield Republican.

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