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Senator Velis reacts to Holyoke Soldiers’ Home settlement

Senator Velis reacts to Holyoke Soldiers' Home settlement
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 9:43 PM EDT
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HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -A $56-million settlement has been reached between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and victims of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home deadly COVID-19 outbreak, that claimed the lives of 84 veterans in 2020.

Families, who will receive a part of the settlement are still grieving their losses.

“Like missing him and just knowing that he had to die alone because of the poor decisions made by the administrators there,” said Laurie Mandeville-Beaudette, whose father passed away at the Soldiers’ Home.

Under the settlement, there are two classes of victims. One class includes the families of veterans who died in the outbreak, this group will receive an average amount of $500 thousand and no less than $400 thousand.

The second class includes veterans who contracted the virus and survived. This group will receive an average of $20 thousand or a minimum of $10 thousand.

Senator John Velis, who has had ongoing conversations with the impacted families, reacted to the news of the settlement.

“No dollar amount is going to bring back the veterans, the family members are always going to be grief-stricken, there’s always going to be that anguish…That being said I am pleased that it is tenability resolved if you will, because the longer this endured, the longer the families had to go through this,” Sen. Velis said.

Looking ahead, Senator Velis explained to Western Mass News that the initial phases of construction for a new Holyoke Soldiers’ Home will begin this summer.

The new facility would provide more living space for veterans so that another tragedy does not take place.

“So these are going to be single bedrooms, in some instances, you may have two veterans but the rooms that have two people...It’s really indented for veterans a family member,” said Senator Velis.

We also reached out to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. She said:

“Although no amount of money can undo the tragic loss suffered by residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and their families at the start of the pandemic, I’m pleased that this lawsuit has been settled with significant compensation for those who were wronged. Our veterans deserved better, and my office will continue to fight to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. I hope this settlement gives the families some relief and closure.”

Now, her office continues to pursue an appeal in the criminal case against the former superintendent and former medical director of the home, in connection to their roles in the deadly COVID-19 outbreak.