Committee supports park name change


WESTFIELD – The City Council’s City Properties and Facilities Committee voted Monday night to give a positive recommendation Thursday night to name a city park after a highly decorated World War I veteran and city resident.
That positive recommendation will be the second time a City Council committee has endorsed the renaming of Clay Hill Park in honor of Sergeant John Hussey Memorial Park. The park is a triangle of land at the intersection of Holyoke Road and North Elm Street.
City Properties Committee Chairwoman and At-large Councilor Ann Callahan said that the City Council approved the name change in 1929.
“The history of this goes back to 1929 when it was approved and 1931 when it apparently died because of some procedural reason,” Callahan said. “We have followed procedures properly this time. There shouldn’t be any barriers this time.”
At-large Councilor James R. Adams said he attended the Park & Recreation Commission June 18 meeting at which the board voted to approve the name change.
Ward 6 Councilor Christopher Crean, in whose ward the park is located, sponsored the motion at the council’s June 21 session to rename Clay Hill Park as the Sergeant John Hussey Memorial Park on the behalf of the city’s veteran groups.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Apremont Post 1847 unanimously approved the name change in May and requested the Westfield Veterans Council to endorse that change, which was also approved by an unanimous vote in May.
“John Hussey was killed in action during World War I,” Crean said. “He was the highest decorated individual from Westfield in WWI.”
Hussey was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously), the U.S. Army’s second highest medal issued for valor.
Hussey, who was born in Ireland and immigrated to Westfield where he served as a call firefighter, was with the 325th Infantry Regiment of the 82d Division, American Expeditionary Forces.
Hussey’s platoon leader became a casualty during combat on Oct. 16, 1918. Hussey took command of his platoon, leading it forward “with great bravery, under intense direct fire from a machine-gun nest.”
Hussey sustained mortal wounds during the assault. He was killed in action near St. Juvin, France.
Adams made the motion to present a positive recommendation from the committee to the City Council Thursday night. That motion was approved on a 2-0 vote.

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