Hastings’ commitment to the community is demonstrated through the volunteering and fundraising activities that many of our employees participate in throughout the year as part of T.E.A.M., Hastings’ internal non-profit organization. Each year T.E.A.M. asks Hastings employees to nominate a charity or non-profit close to their hearts to be chosen to join the Hastings Family of Charities (National MS Society, Alzheimer’s Association, and Rays of Hope for Breast Cancer) for the year and receive a one quarter share of fundraising efforts. This year, Ed Molloy, a second generation, long-time employee of Hastings, nominated the Soldiers’ Home of Holyoke to honor his father and former Hastings vice president of sales, Edward “Pat” Molloy (1920-2014). Ed became well acquainted with the Soldiers’ Home when his father required its services:
Right from the beginning of our first meeting with the Admissions Coordinator John Beaton we could sense the Soldiers’ Home of Holyoke was a special place. With many pages of application form to be completed and documents to gather up, John stepped us through the process and helped us line by line complete Pop’s application. This was not like dealing with someone at the RMV in a “You need to fill out the form and come back!” situation. It was someone truly wanting to help my Pop and help us with the forms and the process. John was very honest about how long the waiting list was but said that they really want to help their World War II vets the best they can, since there are fewer and fewer of them still around. He assured me that he would do his best to advocate for my father where he could. And John did! As Pop became more ill and needed hospitalization, John stayed in touch with us. Suddenly there was a bed open and John was going to do his best to get it for Pop. John arranged to have Pop evaluated at the facility where he was hospitalized, qualified him and arranged his transition to the Soldiers’ Home, and made it so easy for Pop and our family.
Pop stayed in three different units while at the Soldiers’ Home. His first stop was the Secure Care Unit where there are extra staff to make certain that the veterans get the extra attention they need to be safe and be comfortable. The staff was excellent, wanting as much information as possible from our family about Pop. They wanted us to make sure his room was filled with personal items pictures and such, so he would feel more at home. They made sure we were aware that we could visit anytime and they were always informative about how Pop was doing and about anything he needed. They all wanted to know about his life and family and took time to listen to his stories and asked us to add and explain more about his stories. It really showed that they cared about the person and his true comfort.
Pop did very well and improved in the Secure Care Unit and after evaluation it was determined that he should be in the Long Term Care unit. The transition to the new unit went well and we discovered another new group of staff who cared for Pop. The staff all wanted to know him better and loved his stories and were patient when they were told them again and again. They kept our family in the loop on how Pop was doing and again told us if there was anything Pop needed or wanted. Pop always wanted a McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries and also loved to get boxes of donuts. As any one of our family who walked through the building, the staff always would joke and smile and wonder if we would bring them fries too. It was very warm and comforting to our family to see Pop in a safe, clean and caring environment. Pop was a always a bit of a night owl and sometimes we would hear stories from the night shift at shift change how Pop regaled them with songs or stories from years ago in the middle of night. They all took time to listen to him and give him attention.
After some time in the Long Term Care Unit Pop’s health declined and he was transferred to the Comfort Care Unit. The staff there again was excellent and cared for our family and Pop. They really do their best to make all the veterans in the unit comfortable, and make sure their families are as well. They arranged for our family to come and have Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with Pop, accommodating our large group, providing all the fixings and waiting on us with smiles. When Pop passed they were all very comforting to us and shared our grief even though they knew Pop for a relatively short time.
Perhaps one of the most amazing and poignant moments for our family was when Pop left the Soldiers’ Home for the Funeral Home. The Soldiers’ Home of Holyoke insists that every veteran comes in the main entrance and leaves through the main entrance! The staff invited us down to the hospital for a ceremony that they perform for every veteran who passes. We gathered in the lobby of the main entrance. They wheeled Pop’s body draped with an American Flag into the lobby. The staff who worked with Pop assembled down from their work stations and any veteran in the area came over and stood at attention. They got on the PA system for the entire hospital and announced they would like everyone’s attention. “We would like to recognize Edward “Pat” Molloy, a veteran who served us in World War II in the Army Transportation Corp. He traveled bravely many times across the Atlantic delivering supplies for the war effort to England including supply transfers during the D Day invasion. He and his wife of 67 years, Margaret, had 6 children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. They made their home in Hatfield where he was involved in public office. He was also a talented Artist who taught oil painting as well.” Then they played taps. It was very touching and very tearful.
The mission of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke is to provide, with honor and dignity, the highest quality of personal health care services to Massachusetts Veterans. In our hearts and minds and the Soldiers’ Home of Holyoke fulfilled its mission!
Hastings Project Manager