HCN News & Notes

Sen. Velis Receives Hope for Holyoke’s Lifetime Achievement Award

HOLYOKE — On May 3, state Sen. John Velis joined community members at Hope for Holyoke’s eighth annual Hopey Awards. During this event, which recognized individuals, businesses, staff, peer leaders, and volunteers, Velis received Hope for Holyoke’s Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his work to support those in recovery.

“I am beyond honored to have received the lifetime achievement award from Hope for Holyoke, an incredible organization that does so much work every single day to help those in recovery in our community,” said Velis, who chairs the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery. “I firmly believe the three hardest, and most courageous, words any person can say are ‘I need help.’ In return, we must create an environment, and really push back on the stigma that too often exists in society, so that when people raise their hand and ask for help, they are met with the support that they need to begin their recovery.”

Hope for Holyoke provides free peer-to-peer recovery support programming in the city of Holyoke. Throughout Velis’s career, he has championed legislation and support for programs focused on supporting those with substance-use disorders. As the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use, and Recovery, he noted that he will continue to focus on these issues in the Senate’s upcoming FY 2025 state budget and throughout the rest of the legislative session.