Holyoke Honors Veterans

Holyoke Honors Veterans

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I ended. Every year since on November 11th the national holiday, Veterans Day, has celebrated the thousands of men and women who have served to protect our wonderful country, and have even gave the biggest sacrifice, their lives.

Each year on Veterans Day, the United Veterans of Holyoke hold a ceremony at the War Memorial Building in downtown in the city to honor the many who have served. The ceremony honors veterans and current military personnel, and also recognizes people in the community who have spent countless hours supporting veterans, and have helped to make Holyoke a better place for them. Mayor Alex B. Morse, and State Representative Aaron Vega were in attendance, and helped to present the awards to the deserving winners.

The first award presented was to Jesus M. Perreira, who received the “Veteran of the Year Award”. In 2015, Perreira founded the 501 Non-profit called “Vet Air” which strives to help bring veterans to a place where they can receive medical attention. Perreira explained how sometimes veterans will have to travel hours in a car to get to an appointment where they can get medical attention. His mission is to provide veterans with the opportunity to get picked up in an aircraft where they can be brought to a medical center, saving hours of travel time and free of charge.

veterns2The next member of the community who was honored was Holyoke Fire Chief John Pond. Pond received the Public Safety award for his extensive work in the community, and his stress on public safety. A veteran of the US Army, Pond has been Fire Chief since 2011, and in 2015 he was accepted to the Massachusetts Fire Academy executive office program.

The last person who received an award was Holyoke High School’s own, Joan Cavanaugh. The much loved Mrs. Cavanaugh is the Holyoke High School Band Teacher, and yesterday she was the recipient of the “Citizen of the Year” award. A Holyoke native, Cavanaugh has worked in the district for over 30 years, and has won countless awards for her band, traveling as far south as Virginia.  Cavanaugh has constantly supported veterans, and whenever an occasion came up where music was needed, Mrs. Cavanaugh has been more than happy to share her wonderful bands talents with the veterans in Holyoke. Cavanaugh says, “It was really an honor to be chosen, I was extremely shocked and very pleased.”

In addition, Mayor Alex B. Morse, announced that in partnership with Revitalize CDC, the city of Holyoke has raised $30,000 in part with sponsors and community help to help renovate a local veterans home. Morse also stated that the city of Holyoke made a promise to eliminate veteran homelessness in the city, and as of yesterday November 11th, 2011 there are NO homeless veterans living in Holyoke. This is a huge accomplishment, as no one who serves our great country should have an issue finding somewhere to live. Happy late Veteran’s Day, and make sure to thank the people who serve our country every single day.