HCN News & Notes

Harmony House to Break Ground on New Home for the Terminally Ill

CHICOPEE — Founded on one woman’s desire to provide a comfortable and loving home for those at the end of their lives, Harmony House of Western Massachusetts will break ground on a permanent home in Chicopee on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.

Harmony House is the mission of 85-year-old Ruth Willemain, a former teacher and hospice worker who saw a need for a place for individuals with little or no family or support to live out their last days with dignity. She recruited volunteers, knocked on doors, sold candy, hosted fundraising events, and did whatever was needed to make it happen.

It took years to launch a temporary home in Chicopee, which has been in operation for two years. That house recently closed so all efforts could be devoted to the renovation of the new home at 66 View St., in the Aldenville section of the city.

“It’s so exciting that, after so many years of dreaming of this home, we are finally bringing it to fruition and will soon be able to offer not only a loving atmosphere for our residents, but a beautiful and comfortable new residence,” said Amy Corcoran, president of the board of directors. “We are humbled by not only the financial gifts we have received, but the dedication of so many volunteers and supporters of Harmony House.”

Staffed mainly by volunteers — nurses, CNAs, caregivers, companions, and more — Harmony House is privately funded through the generosity of individuals, businesses, and foundations.