Veteran Services

The Department of Veterans' Services assists veterans in the community learn about, apply for, and in some cases, receive benefits by furnishing information, advice and assistance to veterans and their dependents enabling them to procure the benefits to which they are or may be entitled relative to employment, vocational, or other educational opportunities, hospitalization, medical care, pensions and other veteran benefits. Veterans Services also helps veterans and dependents apply for a range of other programs including VA, Social Security, and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.

Veterans Bill of Rights

M.G.L. ch. 115 and 108 CMR (Code of Massachusetts Regulations)

You have a right to:

  • File a written application for veterans' benefits at any time. You can insist upon this right, even if told that you are not eligible. 108 CMR 4:02 (1)
  • Receive assistance from your local veterans' agent in completing your application (M.G.L. ch. 115, s. 3)
  • Receive a full explanation of the services and benefits available under M.G.L. ch. 115, as well as other available benefits
  • Receive a written notice and explanation of the approval or denial of your application for benefits (108 CMR 8.02)
  • Be treated with dignity and respect and to receive accurate, courteous, and timely service
  • Appeal and request a hearing if you disagree with any action taken in your case [108 CMR 8.07(1)]
  • Expect confidentiality; personal information will not be collected or used except for the purpose of determining your eligibility for benefits (M.G.L. ch. 40, s.51)
  • Receive fair and equal treatment without regard to sex, race, religion, handicap, ethnicity, or national origin (M.G.L. ch. 151B, s.3)
  • Preference in public employment (M.G.L. ch.31, s.12, 26, 28 and ch. 41, s.112.)
Wilfredo Melendez - Deputy Director

(413) 322-5630

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Veteran Services agents assist veterans and their dependents in filing for all benefits to which they may be entitled including but not limited to:


  • Annuities
  • Burial Benefits
  • College Planning
  • VA Home Loans
  • Education
  • Pensions
  • Widow’s Death Pension
  • Survivor Benefits
  • Medical Reimbursements
  • Housing Assistance
  • State Bonuses
  • Career Direction
  • Military Record Retrieval
  • State & Federal Cemetery Applications
  • Disability Compensation
  • Property Tax Abatement Disabled Veterans


In addition to filing claims, our agents assist veterans and their dependents by providing information and referral where needed to help navigate the complex federal government system. Assistance is also provided for shelter and subsistence for homeless veterans.


A summary of benefits are found in the following links:




To be eligible for veterans’ benefits, one must be a “veteran” or a dependent of a “veteran” under M.G.L. c. 4, sec. 7, cl. 43rd as amended by the Acts of 2005, ch. 130.

 Veterans, dependents of Veterans, and survivors of Veterans of any of the following wars or campaigns may be eligible to receive benefits and/or services provided by Federal or State statues:


  • World War I April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918 90 days service of which one day was wartime

  • World War II September 16, 1940 – December 31, 1946 90 days service of which one day was wartime

  • Korean War June 25, 1950 – January 31, 1954 90 days service of which one day was wartime

  • Vietnam War, Part 1 February 1, 1954 – August 4, 1964 Served at least 180 days active duty

  • Vietnam War, Part 2 August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975 90 days service of which one day was wartime

  • Lebanon August 25, 1982 – Date to be determined 90 days service one day of which was wartime Campaign Medal required

  • Grenada October 25, 1983 – December 1983 90 days service one day of which was wartime Campaign Medal required

  • Panama December 20, 1989 – January 31, 1990 90 days service one day of which was wartime Campaign Medal required
  • Persian Gulf War August 2, 1990 – Date to be determined 90 days service one day of which was wartime


Not considered a Veteran:

  • Active service in the armed forces as used in this clause shall not include active duty for training in the army or air National Guard or active duty for training as a reservist in the armed forces of the United States.

Chapter four, section seven, clause forty-third M.G.L. 

There are many charity organizations which help Veterans.

These charitable organizations can provide advocacy, emergency assistance, grants, counseling, and other types of direct and indirect support.

Below is a listing of some of the charities we recommend.




Veteran Charities ICA Certified        (Ind.Charities of America)


Angel Flight for Veterans

Blinded Veterans Association

Coalition to Support America’s Heroes*

Coming Home Project*

Fisher House Foundation (FHF)

Homes for Our Troops

Injured Marine SemperFi Fund

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF)

MA Soldiers Legacy Fund *

Military Friends Foundation

Operation Homefront

VFW Foundation


*Not Certified by ICA

Holyoke War Memorial Commission

Mission Statement

War Memorial Commissioners support and represent all Holyoke Veterans, while operating and maintaining the War Memorial building and all other Holyoke Veteran Memorials to the men and women who served with the armed forces of the United States or of any nation allied or associated with the United States in any war.


 Mission Strategies

The Commission has the power and authority, for the purpose of accomplishing our mission to hold gifts real and personal, from any and all sources, to purchase real estate in said city and to contract for the erection, care, maintenance and supervision of any building, buildings, monument or monuments to be used as such a memorial or memorials. The Commission provides a venue for Veterans groups or organizations to meet and operate to support their mission. The Commission also provides a venue for community events, ceremonies and public education. The Commission will provide a venue to hold, honor and display all donated military historical memorabilia and all historic documentation associated with any Veteran from the city of Holyoke.


Soldiers Memorial Commission Members:

Kenneth Harstine - term expires June 30, 2018

James B. J. Hoar - term expires Sept. 1, 2018

Randy Malek – term expires June 30, 2018

Stephen Riffenburg – term expires Sept. 1 2017 (Chairman)

Paul Seifert - term expires June 30, 2018

Richard Purcell - term expires Sept. 30, 2017


Established Acts of 1929, Chapter 113

Friends of the Holyoke War Memorial

Mission Statement

Friends of the Holyoke War Memorial Inc. is an organization dedicated to maintaining, protecting and improving the War Memorial building and all Veteran Memorials in the City of Holyoke. The Friends of the Holyoke War Memorial are committed to raising funds for this purpose by seeking gifts, bequests and grants that support mission-related programs and services.

Department Head

Jim Mahoney


Contact Info


(413) 322-5630

(413) 534-2339 (fax)

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Posted on December 27, 2012 by