Veterans of wars recent and long past honored in Holyoke

Iraq, Afghanistan veteran honored as city's veteran of the year

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – In a room full of veterans, their families, and their friends, the city of Holyoke honored its veterans.

During the ceremony at the Holyoke War Memorial, Peter McMahon, an Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, was honored as the city’s Veteran of the Year.

“It’s just kind of one of those things you do, not for recognition, so to be recognized for it leaves you speechless. It’s great that we all get to come together and honor everybody who served or is serving,” McMahon said.

The ceremony, put on by the United Veterans of Holyoke, brought veterans young and old together for one celebration.

Vietnam War veteran Ralph Webb told 22News about how this this ceremony reminded him how things are different now from when he came back from war.

“If you had a military haircut, you were kind of shunned. I lost a lot of good friends during the war, drugs and alcohol; all kinds of things. It was a tough time, it really was, but it’s much better now. You have to look at the bright side, it is much better now than it was in the late 1960’s and early ‘70s,” Webb said.

Webb was honored as Holyoke’s Citizen of the Year, for the work he has done helping citizens in need find work.