The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home has officially embarked on a new face and mission to help care for veterans and their
Gov. Charlie Baker and Speaker Bob DeLeo lead the way in breaking ground for the new Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home this past Monday, Oct. 29. The new Center will eventually replace the Quigley Memorial Hospital. It is a state and federal project costing $199 million.
families, breaking ground Monday on a $199 million Community Living Center (CLC) that will provide modern accommodations and replace the old Quigley Memorial Hospital.
Gov. Charlie Baker joined Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco Ureña, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and veterans of the United States Armed Forces for the groundbreaking of the new long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
The current facility will continue to be fully operational, caring for 154 veterans, during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2022.
Some 65 percent of the funding for the new facility will come from the Federal government, which approved monies for the project earlier this summer.
“The new long term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will improve the quality of services and care provided to the Commonwealth’s men and women who have answered the call of duty and served our nation,” said Baker. “Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much for this country, and it is our duty to care for them with honor and dignity.”
House Speaker Bob DeLeo was also on hand and has been a friend to the Home for years. Gov. Baker gave credit to DeLeo for getting funding through the Legislature so that the federal application was prepared quickly.
“Having been in the Legislature 25 years now, you, Mr. Speaker, own a big piece of that and we are all extremely grateful for this work and all the work you do for veterans in the Commonwealth,” he said. “This place will be a true testament to our investment to our veterans.”
DeLeo said the Home does have a special place in his heart, and serves veterans from his district as well.
“I am so pleased this project is underway and moving forward,” he said.
In May 2017, Governor Baker HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-releases-fiscal-year-2018-capital-budget-plan” t “_blank” announced plans for a new long-term care Community Living Center, which was included in the Baker-Polito Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 capital investment plan, and in November 2017, HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-bill-to-fund-new-facility-at-chelsea-soldiers-home-and-high-speed” t “_blank” signed legislation authorizing funding needed to advance the project.
The Administration has also received funding authorization from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the project. The federal funding was awarded through the VA’s State Home Construction Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to 65 percent of construction costs for approved projects. The Administration, with strong support from the Legislature, plans to spend approximately $70 million net of federal reimbursement on the project.
The Home has long suffered from having open wards at the Quigley, and it was a point of contention for federal authorities – as health care payments are not allowed to go to facilities with old, open wards. With funding on the line, the Home was able to secure the project funding. This will allow the Home to now have private rooms and modern facilities for the residents there.
“This facility truly is a fitting tribute to our veterans who have served our nation,” said Supt. Cheryl Poppe. “With this building construction, we honor their sacrifice…The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea is honored to serve Massachusetts veterans, and this groundbreaking reaffirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to veterans of yesterday, today, and for generations to come.”
HYPERLINK “https://www.mass.gov/orgs/soldiers-home-in-chelsea” t “_blank” The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home. Chelsea Soldiers’ Home currently has capacity for 136 beds for long-term care.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced last Friday that the state has secured approximately $70 million in federal funding for the new 154-bed Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home – federal funding that pretty much gives the green light to proceed on the project.
State leaders have made a priority of designing and funding the $199 million project, but getting the federal funding was always a crucial piece of the puzzle that had to come through.
On Friday, the Veteran’s Administration State Home Construction Grant Program announced it would provide a 65 percent reimbursement of approved construction projects, including the Soldiers’ Home.
“Our veterans have sacrificed greatly to protect our freedoms and we are proud to see this project move forward as we continue to provide them with great care and dignity,” said Baker. “We are grateful to the VA for their support of Massachusetts’ veterans and this funding allows us to construct a state of the art facility that will be a model for future veteran homes across the country.”
The Community Living Center at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will provide 154 “home-like” rooms for veterans in accordance with VA standards of design, which promotes greater accessibility, mobility, and enhanced quality of life. Services will include physical and occupational therapy, recreational activities and greater access to the outdoors. The current facility, the Quigley Memorial Long Term Care Center, will continue to be fully operational during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2021.
“We appreciate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ approval to replace the existing long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Campus,” said Secretary of Veterans’ Services Francisco A. Ureña. “In addition to approving our replacement project, the VA granted the Commonwealth $129 million in matching funds.”
In May 2017, the Baker-Polito Administration announced state funding for the new long-term care facility as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget plan, and in November, Governor Baker signed legislation to fund the project.
“I am thrilled that the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will be receiving federal funding for its new Community Living Center,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “The House has been a longtime supporter of this project and, as a neighbor of the Soldiers’ Home, I have been proud to support the residents and their needs throughout my tenure in the House. This financing will allow the Soldiers’ Home to further improve and enhance the vital care that they provide our veterans.”
Governor Baker was joined at his 2018 State of the Commonwealth Address by U.S. Navy Veteran Tom Miller, who lives at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, Director of Nursing Debbie Antonelli and Superintendent Cheryl Poppe to celebrate the Administration’s commitment to this necessary funding.
“This funding will allow us to provide our veterans with a long-awaited updated home that will enhance their quality of life with increased privacy and greater access to services,” said Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Superintendent Cheryl Lussier Poppe. “Our veterans deserve the very best, and this home will complement the quality care our veterans receive here at the Soldiers’ Home. We are grateful for the support of the Baker-Polito Administration for this opportunity.”
The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses.” Today, Chelsea carries on Massachusetts’ proud tradition of helping all veterans in need of both long term care and domiciliary / supportive services. Chelsea is surveyed annually by the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). It is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”). Chelsea has a Board of Trustees appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The trustees and DVS share responsibility for the management of the home.
Boston Bruins’ famous National Anthem singer, Rene Rancourt, has spent 41 years singing before Bruins contests, and last Thursday, Jan. 11, he spent an afternoon at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home singing and entertaining residents and staff. The time was put together by the Chelsea District Court staff.
Gov. Charlie Baker signed a capital bond bill on Tuesday that increases bond authorization by $244 million to support initiatives across the Commonwealth, including construction of a new long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.
“This bill funds critical projects across the Commonwealth, including the Last Mile broadband project and money for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home renovation project,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We thank the Legislature for bringing us one step closer to updating the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home for our veterans.”
The bond legislation signed Tuesday includes $199 million to replace the long-term care facility at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, which is expected to be partially reimbursed by the federal government pending final approval from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill also directs the administration to study the long-term needs of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke.
“The Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea provides comprehensive, quality health care and residential services with honor, dignity and respect to the Commonwealth’s veterans,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “The upgrades to the Soldiers’ Home ensure that the physical plant meets modern health care requirements commensurate with the needs of our veterans.”
On May 31, Gov. Baker filed egislation to address immediate capital needs statewide, including $950 million for higher education projects, $880 million for construction, renovations, and accessibility improvements at state office buildings, $700 million for health and human services facilities, $550 million for public safety facilities and $375 million for court facilities. While the legislation signed Tuesday includes authorization for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, several items from this bill remain pending.
“We are pleased to see authorization for the replacement of the Quigley Hospital at Chelsea Soldiers’ Home passed, which was proposed in our capital budget plan,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “By leveraging the use of significant federal resources to build the new facility, we optimize the value of the Commonwealth’s capital investment in this project.”
State officials made their first presentation of the proposed Community Living Center at the Soldiers’ Home, a project that will replace the Quigley Hospital and require the removal of the iconic Soldiers’ Home water tower.
The $199 million project, some 66 percent of which could be federally funded, has the makings of improving the living conditions of those in the long-term care portion of the Home – taking them from open wards that are no longer permissible to private rooms with social areas arranged in “houses.” However, to date, and through a large part of the meeting Thursday night, Aug. 3, the overall project has been overshadowed by the potential loss of the water tower.
Some residents have voiced approval for the project, but want those building it to see if they can save the tower or come up with a similar iconic structure. Other residents have started a very popular online petition to ‘Save the Chelsea Water Tower,’ and it has caught on.
On Thursday night, many of the voices of the veterans, who have yet to be heard, resonated.
“I guarantee you a few years after it’s gone…we’ll barely remember it,” said Daniel Heagan. “You’ll say, ‘I know there was a water tower there, but I don’t even remember what color it is.’ Please accept this change. It’s for the best of the veterans. Please go along with it. This is a positive change for the men and women who represented you in combat. You won’t know it’s gone in a few years.”
Tom Miller, who has lived at the Home for 11 years and is a member of the Honor Guard, said the priority is now the veterans.
“The water tower provided some great memories,” he said. “Right now the priority is to build a new Quigley Hospital. That needs to be the focus. We can always have those memories. The Historical Society will have wonderful photographs. We can have a party when it comes down to celebrate what it meant. But it has to come down.”
However, many long-time Chelsea residents said they hoped there could be a compromise.
“When I come over the Tobin Bridge and have people in the car I point to the tower and tell people that is where I live,” said School Committeeman Rich Maronski. “You can see the tower from East Boston. That’s where I live. The residents really wish if you could preserve it or move it, that would be great. The veterans health care comes first, but we wonder if there is a chance to do something.”
Councillor Matt Frank said he loves the Soldiers’ Home and all that it represents. He said he believes its time to support the veterans to get the new home, but he also said he hopes there can be some accommodation for the tower.
“Sometimes emotions do matter and I think it’s for the best of the veterans community to be visible to everyone around like they are with the tower,” he said. “You see it every day. If you lose something that’s such a visual reminder, people would drive by without knowing what this place is…My biggest fear is the Solders’ Home could be lost in the shuffle. I think we need to take (resident) emotions into account.”
Some in the audience suggested replacing it with a “ginormous” flag that could be seen from downtown Boston, as the tower is.
Francisco Urena, secretary of Veterans Affairs, led the meeting and said that they are listening to the public and the residents. Both he and Supt. Cheryl Poppe said the status quo with open wards must be replaced, as they get marked deficient frequently and could lose crucial funding.
To weigh in, the state has established an e-mail to submit comments. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 600 supporters have signed an online petition at Change.org in less than a week that is aimed at saving the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower.
The petition was started last Saturday by Chelsea resident Stephanie McCusker after she read the story in the Chelsea Record about the state planning to demolish the Soldiers’ Home water tower as part of its plan to build a new Living Center to better serve the veterans in the current Quigley Memorial Hospital.
“I started the petition to save the tower because just like the Citgo sign, Dorchester tank, the Orange Dinosaur (on Rt. 1), it has meaning,” she told the Record. “The meaning is ‘home’ or ‘almost home’ because I can see the Soldiers’ Home tower… We build everything else up high, would it hurt to add another floor to the design of the new facility instead of taking down a landmark? Nothing is sacred in this city anymore. Chelsea Clock is gone. Box District is all lofts, flats and condos. All the old schools are condos and lofts. The tower makes our city what it is today. It’s a way for people to find us. I mean if people think its ugly then we can paint it.”
Apparently many from Chelsea, and those who once lived in Chelsea agree with her, enthusiastically signing the petition.
“The Chelsea water tower has been a landmark of Chelsea all my life and I think it should remain there despite all the changes in Chelsea,” said Kenneth Lewis of Chelsea on the petition. “It’s as Chelsea as Katz Bagels, City Hall and Highland Park.”
Added former Chelsea resident Juan DeJesus, now of Port Richey, FL, “The Chelsea water tower is more then just a water tower. Its a symbol to everybody that comes from that city, and I’m one of them.”
Many others chimed in as well, and by Wednesday evening, there were 640 signees to the petition. The goal for the petition is to get 1,000 signatures.
McCusker said she heard from a friend about the news of the tower coming down. The friend suggested that someone start a petition. Being a bit bummed out by the news, McCusker said she took it upon herself to start the petition.
“I just felt the need to let everyone know that I wasn’t the only one saddened by this,” she said. “I was shocked as to how many people signed the petition just the first day alone. People left comments about how they used to live here and would hate to see it go – that they still have that ‘home feeling’ when seeing it on visits. Why not try and keep some of Chelsea preserved? Chelsea is an up and coming city, but why not keep a little ‘Old Chelsea’ as we do it?”
McCusker said her personal opinion is that it would be too expensive to preserve the old tower and move it to another location on the site. She said she would prefer to see it left as it, perhaps refurbished, and become part of the new plan.
Last week, the state’s Department of Capital Assets, Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) confirmed that as part of the major Community Living Center project – which demolishes the Quigley Memorial Hospital and constructs a brand new, modern veterans living facility – the old water tower would have to come down.
The news has been viewed as a tough decision, as no one wants the tower to come down, and no one wants the veterans project to be delayed or stymied.
DCAMM officials have said, as have City officials, that they are looking at alternatives to keep some part of the tower alive.
Approximately 150 sailors sang out “Anchors Away” as they marched to the Soldier’s Home in formation on Navy Day last Tuesday, Aug. 30. Navy Day occurs every August when sailors around the country find ways to serve the communities where they are stationed. At the Soldiers’ Home, sailors cleaned stairwells, mopped floors and painted walls.
Attorney Vincent J. Zullo Of Bradford formerly of East Boston on June 13th. Beloved husband of Jo-Anne (Coar) Zullo. Loving and dedicated father of Zachary V. and Joelle C. Zullo. Loving son of Loretta (Caruana) Zullo and the late Jerry and beloved son-in-law of Marie L. Coar. He is survived by his devoted sister Donna Marquardo and her husband Richard and brother Jerry Zullo Jr. and his husband Wayne Michalski as well as the late Michael Zullo. Loving brother-in-law of Marie-Elena Buttitta and her husband Claudio and many loving nieces and nephews. Funeral from the Salvatore Rocco & Sons Funeral Home, 331 Main St., EVERETT, on Friday, June 17th at 10 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Revere at 11:30 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Visiting hours are Thursday only 4 to 8 p.m. Complimentary valet parking Thursday at Main Street entrance. In lieu of flowers, donations in Vincent’s memory may be made to a charity of your choice . Interment will be private.
Retired Revere Police Officer, highly decorated veteran of both World War II and the Korean Conflict
Frank A. Taraburelli of the Chelsea Soldiers Home, formerly of Revere, died on June 15.
A retired Revere Police officer, he was a highly decorated World War II Army Veteran. His Theaters of Operation include: Northern France, Ardennes, Alsace, Rhineland, and Central Europe. He was the recipient of several combat medals: Silver Star, Bronze Star w/”V”, Battle Patrol Patch, Presidential Unit Citation, just to mention a few. He was part of the 69th Infantry Division. During The Battle of the Bulge Frank was part of Battle Patrol, a special Combat Patrol Duty, in the movies referred to as “The Dirty Dozen.“ Undaunted he served again five years later in the Korean Conflict.
He was the beloved son of the late Joseph and Josephine (Crivello); dear brother of Mary Penzo and her husband, Vincent of Dover, NH and the late Domenic Taraburelli; cherished uncle of Christine Moffa of Danvers, Loren Flansbury of Newburyport and Robert DeAngelis of Dalton, NH and is also survived by five great nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, June 17 in St Michael of the Arch Angel Chapel, Chelsea (Chelsea Soldiers Home) at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. Interment with military honors will be at Puritan Lawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Chelsea Soldiers Home Resident Activity Fund, 91 Crest Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150 For guest book please visit www.Buonfiglio.com
French Club retiree
Judith E. (Glover) Ames passed away in her Chelsea home on May 31.
Born in Boston, she was raised in Brockton, attended local schools and was a graduate of Brockton High School. At the age of 21, Judith relocated to Chelsea and has been a long time resident ever since. She worked for over 30 years at the French Club in Chelsea until her retirement in 2014.
The beloved wife of John T. Ames of Chelsea, she was the dear sister of Janet Hutchensen of Wareham, Mary Shea of Las Vegas, Dianne Beek of Brockton, Shannon Grabowsky of Wareham, William Glover of Braintree, Nancy Skippar of E. Bridgewater, Sandra Roukas of Brockton and the late Patricia Ahrend. She was the daughter of the late William O. and Mary (Lussier) Glover and the dear aunt of numerous nieces and nephews.
A Prayer Service was conducted in the Carafa Family Funeral Home, 389 Washington Ave., Chelsea on Thursday, June 2 with visiting hours prior to the service.
Gerard Millerick, a parishioner at St. Michael’s Chapel at the Soldiers’ Home, drove this beautiful 1953 Packard to the Home’s Veterans Day ceremonies last Thursday, Nov. 5. The old car had been mothballed for decades before Millerick got ahold of it in 1994. He said he drove it over in honor of Father Patrick Healy, who was honored at the ceremony last Thursday.