|By G. Michael Dobbs
Superintendent Paul Barabani accepts the donation.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs
HOLYOKE – The Soliders’ Home now has additional funding to underwrite recreational activities for its residents thanks to a motorcycle run conducted in June.
Representatives of Victory4Veterans presented Superintendent Paul Barabani with a check for $23,500 on July 23 during the facility’s annual “Summer Hoe Down” event.
The motorcycle run attracted more than 1,000 riders on June 1. Supported by corporate sponsors, the result was the largest single donation ever made to the Home, according to John Paradis, the home’s communications director.
Paradis explained the donation will help pay for activities such as the Hoedown, which included a barbeque meal catered by Outlook Farm of Westhampton. He added one resident at the home, a Navy vet, would now have a wish fulfilled of visiting a submarine. Paradis said staffers plan to bring the man to Battleship Cove in Fall River where one of the exhibits is the USS Lionfish, a World War II submarine.
The funding is also used to help fulfill the “last wish” of the vets when possible, Paradis added. He noted the average age of the residents of the home is 85 and that two to three residents pass away every week.
In accepting the donation, Barabani said, “I’m in shock.”
He added, “Events of this nature are examples of what we can do for our vets.”
Although the donation was impressive, Barabani said, “The financial reward is one piece but not the most important piece in my mind.”
For him it is the community support for the facility and its residents that is “overwhelming.”
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