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January 19, 2021 | Around the NASRCC, In the Community

Union carpenters provide a safe home for terminally ill

Charlie Payne, Local 336 Business Representative, and the Pioneer Valley VOC are part of a crew of volunteers working on the expansion of a Chicopee hospice that provides care for terminally ill individuals within a comfortable, home-like environment.

The combined efforts of the Carpenters union, local contractors and elected officials will convert this neglected house into a six-bedroom home with a separate living room designed to care for the Harmony House residents during the final stages of their life. A medicine dispensary area and a staff office will also be included.

“When Chicopee Mayor, John Vieau contacted the Carpenters union to help with the renovation of Harmony House’s new and greatly expanded home, Carpenters Local 336 and employees of Professional Drywall Construction of Springfield, didn’t hesitate to answer the call,” said Payne.

The drywall was originally planned for last April but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, plans were pushed back. Local 336 members have been eager to get to work on this community project and lend a hand to “one of the most deserving and worthy causes I’ve seen” said Joe Raposa, VOC Chair and employee of Professional Drywall Construction.

Carpenters are expected to work on this project until the end of February – when all the drywall is hung – and be ready for signatory contractor, Ayotte and King to step in and do the flooring.

Payne says the response from members has been “tremendous” and he hopes that more members will get involved in the coming weeks.

“So far, we’ve had between 10 and 12 carpenters here every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon, with some carpenters putting in a solid eight-hour day,” he said. “The work that we are doing right now will provide much comfort to families going through difficult times, and we are honored to be a part of it.”

If you are available to volunteer your time and skills, please reach out to Charlie Payne at or call the Hall at (413) 736-2878.