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Holyoke Soldiers’ Home receives federal funding for safety system

July 19, 2013
<b>Congressman Richard Neal</b><br>Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

Congressman Richard Neal
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

By G. Michael Dobbs


HOLYOKE — Thanks to a federal grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs and an allocation from the state’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, a new fire alarm system that has been installed at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

The new system replaced one that was installed in 1952 and modified in 2006.

The superintendent of the facility, Paul Barabani, said the new system is part of a continuing updating of the home.

“The commitment to the veteran is truly what it’s all about,” he said.

Congressman Richard Neal noted those improvements have included new windows and air conditioning. Barabani added the facility also has a new elevator.

Barabani explained the new system is more than just an alarm system. It also can detect where a fire is in the complex. This detailed notification is then sent to the Holyoke Fire Department.

Neal noted there is a growing number of military veterans — almost two million a year — requiring service.

The newest group of veterans include 45,000 who suffered from wounds in the wars in the Middle East, he said.

“The VA [Veterans Administration] system has improved remarkably, remarkably in the last few years,” Neal said.

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