Veterans’ Council gauges interest in Washington trip

NORTHAMPTON – The Northampton Veterans Council is assessing interest from the city’s veteran community for an all-expenses-paid, overnight bus trip to Washington, D.C., in November to visit memorials and other sites in the capital region.

The council, in partnership with Central Hampshire Veteran Services, is asking interested Vietnam veterans to contact them so planners can determine the level of interest and the cost of the trip.

Veterans could be accompanied by a spouse or caregiver. The trip would include a visit to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the 40th anniversary of its inauguration on November 13, 1982.

“This trip will honor their service and will also be a trip to remember for many of our city’s veterans who may never have visited the nation’s capital or seen the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” said Steven Connor, director of Central Hampshire Veterans, in a statement. “Even for those who have seen the memorial before, it will be a wonderful opportunity for them to revisit Washington and join other veterans in reflecting on their service and remembering those with whom they served, especially those whose names appear on the wall. .”

Eligible veterans are those “who served in the field in Vietnam during the Vietnam era” and have Northampton as their domicile of record on their DD214 form, and those “who qualify as ‘Blue Water Navy Veterans’ who served in the Vietnam conflict,” according to a statement from the Veterans Affairs Council.

Federal regulations define the Vietnam era as the period from February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975. Blue Water Navy veterans are those who served on ships on the high seas off Vietnam during the war.

Eligible veterans, their spouse, or a caregiver should contact the Veterans Council to express interest and be prepared to show a copy of the veteran’s DD214 form, certificate of release or discharge from active duty, and the veteran’s current address in Northampton.

Documents can be emailed to vetadmin@northamptonma.gov. Central Hampshire Veterans Services can be contacted at (413) 587-1299.

Local Businessman of the Year

Judy Herrell, owner of Herrell’s Ice Cream at 8 Old South St., has been voted Northampton’s 2022 Local Businessman of the Year in a poll by business benchmark website Alignable.com.

The website describes itself as the largest online referral network for small businesses, with over 7 million members across North America.

Alignable.com announced the award last week after a month-long competition aimed at uplifting small business owners who have helped other businesses and the community during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In our tight-knit community, you almost always get back what you give,” Herrell said in a statement. “And the challenges we’ve all faced have compelled many of us to offer advice and other forms of support to peers struggling to keep their businesses afloat.”

Herrell’s has been in business for 42 years. The company donates to a wide variety of local charities and nonprofits, including Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton Public Schools, Girl Scouts of America, and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA).

“While I am thrilled to receive this award, it is truly a testament to our entire community,” Herrell said. “And it reinforces my resolve to push towards a full recovery for everyone here in Northampton by the end of 2022, if not sooner.”

Herrell also won the Local Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2021 and the Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2018.

The Senior Center is slowly reopening

The Department of Senior Services has announced that the senior center will reopen to the public with limited offerings on Monday, February 28, with other services expected to be restored over the next few months.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster if eligible, is required to enter the building at 67 Conz St. The center has been closed for all but essential services since last month due to an increase regional COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant.

“Activities that cannot be done six feet away will likely be able to begin in April if all continues to go well with transmission rates,” the department said in a statement. “The Bistro and Coffee Shop will not reopen yet. Once the mask mandate is lifted, we will announce a date when food and drink will once again be served on site (it looks like this could happen soon, definitely this spring).

All returning members and those wishing to become members must have a 15-minute orientation appointment with the staff before using the center and participating in the programs. Appointments are available daily and can be arranged by calling (413) 587-1228 or emailing seniorservices@northamptonma.gov.

The building will be open to small groups only between February 28 and March 4. The fitness center and game room will be open with restrictions, and films will be shown and some classes will take place with social distancing requirements in place. Food distribution and lunch pickup programs will remain curbside.

Reiki will resume on March 14 and foot clinics will resume on March 15. Most classes and services require pre-registration or an appointment, and some classes may remain virtual for the time being.

Brian Steele can be contacted at bsteele@gazettenet.com.