HOLYOKE — As part of community activities associated with the 2021 Medal of Honor Convention taking place in Boston, Medal of Honor recipients visited the veterans residing at both Massachusetts Soldiers’ Homes on Wednesday.
Medal of Honor recipient Michael John Fitzmaurice flew in a Massachusetts National Guard Blackhawk helicopter to the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and met with Holyoke veterans in the building’s canteen. The veteran residents shared camaraderie with Specialist Fourth Class Fitzmaurice and told stories of their time in the service. Veteran resident Eugene Murphy presented Fitzmaurice with a Holyoke Soldiers’ Home baseball cap from all of his fellow veterans.
Later, Medal of Honor recipients James McCloughan, Thomas Kelley, Robert Patterson, and Michael Thornton visited the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea. The veteran residents in the long-term-care building and the domiciliary met one on one with Medal of Honor recipients and swapped stories of their shared experience.
The Medal of Honor is the highest award given by the U.S. for military valor in action. The medal is authorized for any military service member who distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in action.