Around Town

Bill passes to make Purple Heart Trail official

SOUTHWICK – Earlier this week, Rep. Nick Boldyga worked with his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass the Purple Heart Trail Bill. Sen. Don Humason helped pass the bill in the state senate a couple of months ago.

The bill pertains to the Purple Heart Trail that has been implemented in Southwick. The trail runs the stretch of College Hwy, Route 10/202, from Westfield to the Connecticut line. Two Purple Heart Trail signs will be located at both ends of College Hwy. and there is expected to be four Purple Heart Community signs that will scatter throughout town.

After speaking with Gov. Charlie Baker’s office on Thursday, Boldyga expects the bill to be signed on Friday, April 13.

The bill was created since any state-owned roads or highways that have any official signage need to have a law passed in order to erect the signs. In most cases, the signage won’t cause a bill to be created unless for special circumstances and the topic of the Purple Heart was deemed an exception.

State Representative Nicholas Boldyga. (WNG file photo)

“That’s why we were able to get this done,” said Boldyga.

The Purple Heart Trail recognizes the country’s oldest military medal, existing since 1932, and those who have put themselves in harm’s way in support of our country.

Boldyga is pleased to have this bill come to reality and have Southwick become a part of honoring veterans.

“I think it’s a great honor to them, for those who have served our country,” said Boldyga.

On February 7, 2017, a request was made at a Select Board meeting to extend the Purple Heart Trail into Southwick. Gene Theroux, an Air Force Veteran and past commander of American Legion Post 124 in Westfield, made the presentation to the Select Board about his plan to bring the trail to the community. Southwick has been a Purple Heart Community since 2015.

Two weeks later on February 21, 2017, a ceremony was held at the Southwick Town Hall in order to make an official proclamation for having the trail in town.

Boldyga added that the idea moving forward is to hold a ceremony for the bill making the Purple Heart Trail official. The Select Board noted that they’d like to see a ceremony in honor of it for Memorial Day on May 28.

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