MNA members from across Western Massachusetts rallied in the rain on Saturday, November 14, 2009 with hundreds of veterans, family members, staff, and concerned community members to demand the immediate restoration in state funding for the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Governor Deval Patrick recently announced a cut of $894,000 from the Home’s budget that will result in the elimination of outpatient services at the Soldiers’ Home. The closing of the outpatient clinic follows closely on the heels of the dental clinic closure in July. These services are utilized by thousands of veterans in the Pioneer Valley and western Massachusetts. Speakers called on the Governor and the state legislature to reverse these cuts and keep the outpatient clinic open.
Carol Konrad, a registered nurse and MNA leader at the facility recently told the Springfield Republican newspaper, “It’s not a good thing,” “The veterans do well by us. We’ve got to do well by them.” MNA members from the Soldiers’ Home, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, and Western Massachusetts Hospital participated in the rally.