Veteran Services

The Mission of the Holyoke Veterans' Services office is to help Holyoke veterans and their dependents access services that were earned by military service.  These services include records retrieval, pension and disability help with the Department of Veterans Affairs, employment, training, education programs and bonus/annuity applications.   Additionally, this department issues next of kin gravesite flag holders, and assists them with filing for Federal gravesite markers.  Finally, Veteran Services administers Massachusetts Chapter 115, which is a needs based program for qualifying veterans and their dependents and is designed to provide assistance to help defray the cost of everyday living expenses.


Our Commitment To You

The sacrifices made by the men and women who have served and are serving our country can never be justly repaid. However, the Massachusetts Veteran Ser- vices office has made strides, in every conflict since the Civil War, to ensure the benefits due our veterans are offered to them in return for their sacrifices

Mandated by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 115, the Holyoke Veteran Services staff act as advocates for veterans providing them with support services and emergency financial assistance. Every effort is made to remain current with the ever-constant changing legislative process which impacts on our veterans and their dependents.

Our staff will apply their specialized knowledge best suited to the needs of each veteran and his or her dependents.

These benefits may apply to:

  • Veterans (with honorable discharge and meet the definition in M.G.L. Ch 4, Sec. 7, cl. 43 Widows of veterans
  • Parents of veterans
  • Dependent minor children of veterans
  • Disabled children of veterans


All documentation conveyed to our staff is handled with the highest degree of confidentiality and protected under federal and state privacy guidelines. Signed releases are necessary to complete the application process.

Wilfredo Melendez - Deputy Director

(413) 322-5630

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Current 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

Brian Willette - term expires June 30, 2018

Richard Purcell - term expires Sept. 30, 2017


Established Acts of 1929, Chapter 113

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:




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

Department Head

Jim Mahoney


Office Address

War Memorial Building 310 Appleton Street Holyoke, MA 01040 Map

Contact Info


(413) 322-5630

(413) 534-2339 (fax)

Office Hours

Monday - Friday
8:30 - 4:30 pm

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Posted on December 27, 2012 by