Rep. Campbell to Co-Chair Inquiry into Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Where 100 Died from COVID-19

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell. (Courtesy photograph by Aaron Basiliere.)

Rep. Linda Dean Campbell is co-chairing a special joint oversight committee to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home that has taken 100 lives.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate adopted an order earlier this month establishing the committee which will recommend legislative changes to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. The committee is tasked with conducting public hearings and witness examination to review topics including the structure and leadership at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home; quality of care provided; pandemic response by leadership and staff; communications on the local, state, and federal levels associated with the outbreak; and results of any state and federal investigations.

Campbell, chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, said the committee will provide a report to the legislature no later than March 31, next year, along with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out the committee’s recommendations.

Campbell also secured $50,000 for the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation’s Food4Vets program within a $1.1 billion spending bill passed by the House to cover COVID-19 expenses that will be reimbursed by the federal government.

The Food4Vets program provides meals to Veterans statewide, including in the Merrimack Valley, with meal kit distribution sites at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill and the Methuen Empowerment Center in Methuen. Due to increasing need for food assistance during the pandemic, the program has been expanded in recent months, distributing more than 3.5 million meals since March. Of these meals, 1 million were given out on Patriots Day at Gillette Stadium in partnership with the New England Patriots. The $50,000 in funding helps provide meals to additional Veterans in need.

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