Veterans Voice

Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016


VET2VET CLASSES: Holyoke Community College will continue its series of free classes this spring for veterans and their families while expanding the number of locations where they are offered.

Called “Vet2Vet,” the 10 single-session classes are designed to support, inform, educate and facilitate networking of veterans for personal and professional growth. The courses are all taught by veterans of the U.S. military and are only open to veterans and their family members.

HCC is running the classes in partnership with the Springfield Vet Center, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office in West Springfield; the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home; Veterans Outreach into Community Action; Soldier On; Veterans Inc.; and Employment Support of the Guard and Reserve.

The Spring Vet2Vet series begins at HCC on March 1 with “Transitioning to Civilian Life” from 1 to 4 p.m.

The other classes include:

∎ Leadership Skills for Veterans: March 21, 6 to 9 p.m., Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Cherry Street, Holyoke.

∎ Getting Control Over Your Finances: March 31, 1 to 4 p.m., Veterans Inc., Building 1, STCC Technology Park, Federal Street, Springfield.

∎ Left, Right, Left: April 2, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dept. of Veterans Affairs Hospital, North Main Street, Leeds.

∎ Current and Pending Veterans Legislation: April 8, 6 to 8 p.m., Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

∎ Female Vets: Realities Back Home: April 15, 1 to 3 p.m., HCC, Homestead Avenue, Holyoke.

∎ From Combat to Classroom: April 29, 1 to 3 p.m., Springfield Vet Center, Ashley Avenue, West Springfield.

∎ Getting Maximum Benefit from Your Benefits: May 3, 1 to 4 p.m., Veterans Inc.

∎ Career Development & Enhancement: May 11, 1 to 3 p.m., Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Industrial Drive, Northampton.

∎ Veterans’ Life Forum: May 26, 1 to 4 p.m., Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.

For more information or to register for a class, go to or call 552-2324.

HEALTH CARE SURVEY: Advocates for western Massachusetts veterans are surveying veterans and their families to better understand health care services that are provided outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system. The survey will also ask veterans and their families to identify services that are not currently available.

The survey is anonymous. It is completed online and takes seven minutes or less to finish. Area veterans, family members or friends of veterans are encouraged to complete the survey.

Access the survey here: or

Survey results will be used to identify gaps in western Massachusetts health care services. Organizers will also use results to identify and assess the training needs of civilian healthcare agencies that serve veterans and their families. Later, strategies for reducing or resolving those gaps will be developed.

The project began earlier in 2015 with a goal of improving access to local healthcare services for veterans and military families.

People who are unable access the survey electronically can get assistance from the Central Hampshire Veterans Services office in Northampton at 587-1299.

For more information contact Susan Leary,, Veterans Education Project, 253-4947 or Kathryne Basham,, 585-7959.

GIFT OF CARING: The Girl Scouts of the Hamptons visited the veterans at the Soldier’s Home in Holyoke on Valentines Day delivering donated cookies they have collected during their cookie sale season. This is an annual project for the Scouts.

Calling the Roll

Following is a list of local veterans whose obituaries appeared in the Gazette between Feb. 5 and 18. The information given here about their service is what was provided in each obituary.

Louis E. Tacy, 74, Westfield, formerly Northampton, d. Feb. 3; he was a veteran of the Vietnam War, serving in the United States Air Force.

Charles D. Christopherson, 89, Northampton, d. Feb. 1; he served in the Navy V12 program during World War II, and was always grateful that his assignment was to go to college.

Sean Clifford, 60, Tucson, Arizona, formerly Northampton, d. Jan. 25; he served in the Army National Guard at Fort Huachuca.

Raymond G. Perry Jr., 92, Greenfield, d. Feb. 6; he enlisted in the war effort of World War II. As a member of the “Greatest Generation,” Ray answered his nation’s call for service by joining the U.S. Marine Corps and served honorably in the islands of the South Pacific as a radar operator. He was awarded a Purple Heart for his heroism and injuries sustained in combat, as well as the Good Conduct Medal and Sharpshooter ribbon. He served honorably from May 21, 1942, until February 5, 1946, and attained the rank of corporal.

Gerald Bouthilette, 82, Northampton and Fort Myers, Florida, d. Feb. 5; he served in the United States Army during the Korean War.

Eugene “Hap” Briere, 97, Easthampton, d. Feb. 12; he was a World War II veteran serving with the United States Army Air Corps.

Veterans Voice appears every other Saturday. Readers are encouraged to submit questions, story ideas, announcements, military photos with captions and other materials of interest to veterans. Send submissions to Veterans Voice, c/o Brenda Nelson, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Box 299, Northampton, MA 01061; or email


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