Civil War, WWII heroes honored in Chicopee

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A historic building in Chicopee has been dedicated in honor of a Civil War hero from the city.

The Department of Veterans Services is dedicating their building at 36 Center Street in honor of Charles H. Tracy. The Union soldier earned that nation’s highest military honor when he carried a wounded officer to safety.

Tracy’s great, great grandniece Paula Marquette of Westfield was in Chicopee Thursday morning for the unveiling of the plaque in his honor.

chicopee veterans ceremonyThe Charles H. Tracy Award, which is presented annually for dedication and service in veterans organizations, was also awarded Thursday morning. This year’s recipient is 90 year-old Harvey LaFleur, due to his volunteerism in support of local veterans.

LaFleur was an Army veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. The Bronze Star recipient has volunteered at the Chicopee Senior Center for more than 25 years, and has also recorded dozens of interviews for the Veterans Video History Project, a Library of Congress program available online.

LaFleur told 22News that he has been proud to give some western Massachusetts families a piece of their loved ones’ past.

“A lot of veterans never told their story before. We have several who have come back, especially their grandchilren, who say ‘we’d like a copy of grandpa’s tape.’ So i have to make new tapes!” LaFleur said. “So far, we’ve done 90 and we’re shooting for 100.”

The building dedicated to Tracy had long been a branch of Chicopee Savings Bank before being taken over by the Department of Veterans Services.

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