For Immediate Release - June 18, 2013

Volunteers at Soldiers’ Home Recognized

HOLYOKE — Volunteers at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke were honored during an appreciation dinner Wednesday, June 5, at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee.

Each year, the Soldiers’ Home recognizes the more than 250 community volunteers and members of veteran service organizations who support the needs of resident veterans and their families.
 
“The Soldiers’ Home is grateful for every hour that each volunteer contributes to the home,” said Beverlyn Blanchard, voluntary services coordinator. “They make a big difference in the lives of our veterans every day.”

Volunteers assist and supplement staff members with a variety of assignments including escorting, transporting veterans to recreation activities, assisting veterans with applying for and receiving state and federal benefits, among many more daily tasks.
 
Volunteers offer residents opportunities for friendship and socialization. While some volunteers cook and serve monthly meals off-site, others sponsor summer picnics under the pavilion at the facility. Volunteers also donate free meals to residents at various restaurants throughout greater Holyoke and Springfield.

Several new volunteer assignments added during the last year included benefits counselors at a new Veterans’ Assistance Center, supporting community outreach events, one-to-one volunteer walkers, and lunch and dinner “hour runners,” where volunteers offer to carry trays for wheel bound and residents with walkers as they go through a food line.

“As important as assisting veterans and staff in a variety of ways, volunteers are present for our veterans,” said Paul Barabani, superintendent. “Our volunteers listen, they lend a helping hand, and they offer encouragement. They are a major contributor to our health care mission in providing care with honor and dignity.”

The theme for this year’s appreciation dinner was “Volunteers Making a Difference in the Lives of Others.”

Barabani recognized the following volunteers at the dinner as representative of the contributions all volunteers make at the Soldiers’ Home:

  • Al Roccanti – Roccanti was this year’s Belchertown Citizen of the Year for his advocacy and volunteerism for veterans at Belchertown’s senior center and for contributing more than 3,290 hours as a volunteer at the home since he starting volunteering in 2004. Roccanti significantly increased the number of Sunday volunteers, who help wheel-chair bound veterans and other veterans needing assistance attend the on-site chapel services.
  • Katie Vautrain – Vautrain of South Hadley was noted for her advocacy and support to veterans with Alzheimer’s and for establishing a partnership with the Soldiers’ Home and the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter.
  • Members of the Veterans’ Assistance Center. The center, established in February, meets with and assists any veteran with applications for state Department of Veterans’ Services or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and programs.
  • Members of the Veterans’ Advocate Council. The council advises Soldiers’ Home leadership on ways to improve health care for resident veterans and overall programs and services for Veterans at the home. Volunteers who reside at the Home’s domiciliary also help with the distribution of interoffice mail, take photographs at recreation activities, and assist with canteen and cafeteria operations.
  • Members of the Victory 4 Veterans organization. The organization was recognized for hosting the 2nd Annual Motorcycle Run at the Soldiers’ Home, which raised contributions for the home’s recreation program, helping the home provide social activities and outings for residents at the home. More than 50 volunteers supported the run.

Blanchard said she is continually looking at ways to improve and expand a program that will continue to appeal to a new generation of volunteers to back up an aging volunteer force.

“We know that our own volunteers and employees are our best recruiters,” said Blanchard. “We encourage all our volunteers and staff to share their experiences with friends, family, church members, and neighbors.”

For more information about volunteer opportunities with the Soldiers’ Home, contact Blanchard at (413) 532-1104, extension 5321377.

The following individuals and organizations volunteered their time and services during the past year:

  • 40 & 8 Club, Easthampton
  • Arby's in Chicopee
  • Aditus,Inc., East Longmeadow
  • American Legion Post 124, Westfield
  • American Legion Post 25, Holyoke
  • American Legion Post 275, Chicopee
  • American Legion Post Auxiliary 325, Holyoke
  • American Legion Post Auxiliary 438, Chicopee
  • American Legion Post Auxiliary 463
  • American Legion Post Auxiliary 207, West Springfield
  • American Legion Auxiliary of Hampden County
  • AMVETS District 3, Hampden County
  • AMVETS Post 12, Chicopee
  • AMVETS Post 2577, Ware
  • AMVETS Post 74, Three Rivers
  • AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary Post 74, Three Rivers
  • Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Chicopee Elks #1849
  • Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Holyoke Elks #902
  • Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Ludlow Elks #2448
  • Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Massachusetts Elks Association
  • Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, Archbishop Williams Assembly 388, Springfield
  • Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts, Inc., Springfield
  • Blessed Sacrament School, Holyoke
  • DAV Chapter 59, West Brookfield
  • DAV Chapter 41, Holyoke
  • DAVA Chapter 61
  • DAVA Chapter 92, Northampton
  • General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Massachusetts
  • Granby PM Club
  • Hamilton Sundstrand “Day of Caring” Employees, Windsor Locks, Conn.
  • Italian American War Veterans
  • Korean War Veterans Association
  • Marine Corps League, Westfield River Valley Detachment 141
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company “Day of Caring” Employees
  • Outback Steak House, West Springfield
  • Polish American Veterans of Wilbraham
  • Porter & Chester nursing students
  • South Hadley Sporting Club
  • Knights of Columbus Fairview #2670, Chicopee
  • Knights of Columbus Archbishop Williams Assembly #388, Springfield
  • Knights of Columbus St. Francis of Assisi #10698, Belchertown
  • Knights of Columbus, Ludlow
  • Soldiers' Home in Holyoke Veteran's Assistance Center
  • U.S. Postal Service, Holyoke
  • Victory 4 Veterans
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 7352, Springfield
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars District 7, Massachusetts
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6714, West Springfield
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8006, Florence
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 872, Southwick
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 111, Chicopee
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 219, Westfield
  • Westfield Job Corps students
  • West Springfield Veterans Council
  • Dave Adams
  • Dr. Iqbal Ahmed
  • Marilyn Akalis
  • Margaret Altobelli
  • Stella Aning
  • Dennis Bajek
  • Delfo Barabani
  • Tom Barry
  • Kush Basu
  • Shirley Beaudoin
  • Ben Bennedetti
  • Mary Ann Bishop
  • Roland Blanchard
  • Jeanette Boczon
  • Migdalia Bones
  • John Brunato
  • Rob Brunato
  • Bill Buckley
  • Jon Bussolari
  • Marilyn Caldwell
  • David and Sonia Carrigan
  • Colleen Chesmore
  • Paul Chrzan
  • Verona Cole-Lamouthe
  • Heriberto Colon
  • Jim Coughlin
  • Mark Dansereau
  • Matthew Dansereau
  • Robert Daysh
  • Al Desilets
  • Jeanette Desilets
  • Leo Desjardins
  • James Dowling
  • Ron Dupont
  • Anne Fancy
  • Daniel Fischer
  • Ryan Flannery
  • Tom Flouton
  • Nancy Forte
  • Marvin Fuller
  • Thomas Flouton
  • Scott Garcia
  • Cynthia Gaspari
  • Marion Gartman
  • Otto Gartman
  • Lorraine Gorham
  • Frank Grano
  • Don Greany
  • Lloyd Green
  • Helen Greenwood
  • Erin Hall
  • Jeanette Halloran
  • Richard Halpin
  • Scott Hansom
  • John Hendricks
  • Don Henneman
  • Patricia Holbert
  • Cheryl Humphrey
  • Gaetanne Isabelle
  • Erna Jimmo
  • Ann Johnson
  • Erica Johnson
  • Darlene Kasia
  • Matthew Kele
  • Steven Kellner
  • Marianne Kennedy
  • Maxine Kent
  • Kenneth Kent
  • Caroline Kenyon
  • Joseph Kenyon
  • Edward Knowlton
  • Ronald Knox
  • Joseph Kugler
  • R.J. Landry
  • Richard Lane
  • Raymond Leary
  • Normand Lapointe
  • Nelson Letendre
  • Barbara Leyden
  • Thomas Livingstone
  • Virginia Lyons
  • James Mahoney
  • Everlyn Marlborough
  • Janet Masciotra
  • Kelly McCarthy
  • Skip Mendes
  • Deborah Meredith
  • George Merrill
  • Rose Morace
  • Joseph Morin
  • Frederick Morris
  • Eugene Murphy
  • Jen Newton
  • Jarid Niejadlik
  • Peter Paul Nowak
  • Jacqueline Ouimette
  • Lauren Ouimette
  • Hector Page
  • Robert Peloquin
  • Luz Pereira
  • Raymond Phaneuf
  • Don Plante
  • David Plourde
  • Lisa Potito
  • William Rae
  • Bill Ralph
  • George Reneris
  • Luis Rivera
  • Rich Rivet
  • Don Rivette
  • Marlene Roberts
  • Alfred Roccanti
  • Dianne Roeder
  • Nello Rota
  • Harry Ruddock
  • Mary Rugani
  • Lori Santy
  • Deborah Sammataro
  • Peggy Schuemaker
  • Neil Scott
  • Norman Smith
  • Lou Smola
  • Thomas Soja
  • Stanley Stec
  • Marjorie Stephens
  • Eleanor Stoler
  • Rita & Strong
  • Michael Sullivan
  • Lyndsay Tetlow
  • Thomas Thompson
  • Robert Theroux
  • Gloria Tremblay
  • Shirlee Uggiano
  • Eleanor Ustach
  • Richard Vallincourt
  • Katie Vautrain
  • Katherine Walbridge
  • Chuck Watts
  • Stanley Werbecki
  • John Wesloski
  • Larry White
  • Trina Winans
  • Bill Wilson
  • Ramona Wilson
  • Irene Wolfe
  • Sophia Woodfine
  • Ann Ziemba.

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