The American Legion made a donation of 10,000 medical masks to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home on Aug. 19 in Holyoke, Mass. More than 76 veterans residing in the 250-bed, state-run facility have died since March after being sickened by the coronavirus, making it the site of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the country. The governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, said this was “one of the most depressing and utterly shameful descriptions of what was supposed to be a care system that I have ever heard of,” in the wake of the incident report released in June.
“Legion posts in Massachusetts have already risen to the occasion by providing care packages to the Home,” said American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford in a letter read by Cindy Lacoste, sergeant at arms for the Department of Massachusetts and member of the Board of Trustees for the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. “This mask donation is yet another example of our dedication to Holyoke and to keeping America's veterans and their communities safe during this unprecedented pandemic.”
The donation of masks to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home was made possible due to the generous donation of 250,000 medical masks to The American Legion by Taiwan.
“This gift of masks will save lives,” Oxford said during a ceremony celebrating the gesture of goodwill that took place on July 28 at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, D.C.
In his letter, Oxford added that “We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who have served in defense of this nation and I trust that the leadership and staff of the Soldiers Home of Holyoke will put these masks to good use.”