By G. Michael Dobbs
HOLYOKE – George Clarke and his sacrifice for his country may be forgotten by some, but not by veterans from the city and around the region
Representatives from veterans’ groups assembled at Mayor Alex Morse’s office on Feb. 27 to witness a proclamation Morse made honoring the Holyoke native.
According to Brian Willette, senior vice commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 801, Clark grew up at 244 Sargeant Street. He entered the Army in 1917 and was a member of the 104th Infantry during World War I.
He was apparently killed on Feb. 17, 1918 during the opening battle for the 26th Division at Chemin des Dames in France. His remains were never recovered and he is among the approximately 4,500 service men who are still missing in action from the war.
Willette said VFW Post 801 was named in Clarke’s honor in 1921.
The motivation for the proclamation, Willette explained came “with the 100th anniversary [of World War I] coming we wanted to recognize the sacrifice of the vets.”
Clarke’s grandnephew Steve Clarke was in attendance. He said the family today doesn’t know too much about George.
Besides Willette, Raymond LaRose, commander of the Yankee Division Association, Holyoke; Eric Segundo, commander, VFW Hampden District 7; Nello Rota, commander, The George G. Clarke VFW Post 801 Holyoke; George Murrah, VFW National Council Member; Thomas Paul, past commander, VFW Department of Massachusetts; Mike Brunetti, commander, American Legion Post 438, Chicopee; James Bronson, Military Order of the Purple Heart Western Massachusetts Chapter 875; Joseph Delaney, VFW Post 801, Holyoke; and Christine Lupacchino, 104th Fighter Wing Base Honor Guard.
Rota also received a commendation from Morse honoring him for his many years of service to Post 801.