Remember Memorial Day during long weekend’s festivities (Letters)

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

I hope all of you are able to enjoy this long weekend with friends and family. The weather looks to be ideal for cookouts and spending time outdoors. While we enjoy this time, it is important to remember the purpose of Memorial Day. It is a time to reflect on those members of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation and allow us to enjoy the freedoms that we hold so near and dear.

I spent the majority of the week in Boston as we took up the Senate’s FY24 budget proposal. My colleagues and I are thrilled to see the thoughtful and important investments in our public infrastructure, schools, healthcare systems, and so much more. At the same time, I am proud to have advocated for and secured several amendments of my own. These include increased funding for the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, $500,000 to expand MGH’s Home Base Program — allowing them to expand veteran services across the state, $200,000 to enhance outreach to women veterans, and $500,000 to establish a behavioral health pilot program for schools. In addition to these statewide initiatives, I will be bringing back $750,000 to fund local projects and organizations. I believe that each of these buckets of funding will work to address some of the most critical challenges we face as a state. Looking forward to sharing more details soon!

Although the budget debate ran through the week, I was happy to attend several other meetings and ceremonies at the Statehouse. On Tuesday, I participated in the Medal of Fidelity ceremony — recognizing service members who passed due to service-connected conditions. Later in the week on Wednesday I joined Gov. Healey for the signing of a proclamation designating May as Military Appreciation Month.

While in Boston, my team held down the fort in the district. District events of note included a retirement party for local service dog Yoshi at the Westfield Senior Center — congratulations, Yoshi! On Thursday my staff also attended DPW Appreciation Day in Holyoke. We too often fail to appreciate and recognize those who make our cities run. Glad to see the good folks of the Holyoke DPW get the recognition they deserve. Later that afternoon, the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home held a Memorial Day service. It was a great way to kick off this weekend of remembrance!

This week my team held office hours in Westfield and Russell. Next week we will be at the Southampton COA on Wednesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. If you can’t make office hours, I can always be reached at or at 413-572-3920. You can find me online at

State Sen. John Velis


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