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It’s been almost a year and a half since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US and just over one year since the devastating outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in Massachusetts where 77 men and women lost their lives to the Coronavirus.
One of the victims was gold card-carrying union carpenter, Francis Foley. Brother Foley was an Army veteran, a devoted husband and father of four. His daughter Keri Rutherford describes her dad as “strong, funny, engaging and feisty, who kept the nurses at the home laughing.” He loved music and a cup of coffee and something sweet from Dunkin’ Donuts. What we also know is that he loved his trade. Brother Foley was a member of Local 336 for over fifty years, and was very active in the union throughout his life.
Prior to being admitted to the Soldiers Home due to Alzheimer’s, he lived at home with his wife Dale in nearby Chicopee.
“Mrs. Foley continued to pay his dues because she knew how much the Carpenters union meant to Brother Foley. I had offered to visit and bring him to one of our union meetings but unfortunately he wasn’t up to it,” said Local 336 business representative Charlie Payne.
On Tuesday, March 30th Charlie Payne was one of many in the community and beyond that came together at a vigil held to honor and remember those who passed due to COVID-19 at the home last Spring. It was a night of reflection with a moment of silence lasting 77 seconds; each second representing and remembering each veteran lost to COVID-19.
“Fran was not shy and had a striking honesty that endeared him to his fellow Carpenters, and I wanted to honor his legacy by attending the vigil. Brother Foley was a great man who served our country, a devoted husband and father, and a very proud union carpenter,” said Payne.
Rest in peace, Brother Foley.
Pictured is an image of Francis Foley that was projected onto their home in Chicopee, Mass., with his wife, Dale Foley and their daughter, Keri Rutherford looking out a window. Photo credit: Associated Press AP/David Goldman.