Velis looks on bright side, asks people to be ‘patient’ during pandemic

Hello Westfield, 

This week has been so busy, it’s zoomed by, and I mean that literally! I have plenty of students to thank for that as this past Thursday and Friday I got on some zoom calls with them about my job as a Representative, how it’s evolving under current circumstances, what this could mean for the future, and even participated in an interview with a good friend of mine – Caeleb – on the Opioid Crisis for one of his school projects. 

I want to thank Sherry Elander for bringing me on a Zoom call with her students this past Friday. I was more than happy to talk to them about what I do as a Representative and they had some great questions about the importance of voting, how I’m able to help them in my role, and how they can help their communities in their day-to-day lives. 

Speaking of community, I can’t stress enough how fantastic the Westfield and Western Mass community as a whole has been throughout this pandemic. Last weekend, I helped distribute masks with the Mask Makers for Westfield and the Westfield Food Pantry launched a new program in partnership with the North Elm Butcher Block to help support local businesses and provide groceries for Westfield residents in need. 

While this time has hit our community and many of us individually in ways we could’ve never imagined, it has given us a clear wake-up call of how it’s our ability to come together and support each other that makes our community and our nation great. Banding together to power through difficult times in unity is a staple of our nation, from the 13 colonies to now, and the work we’ve done as a group in this crisis shows this staple is still as present as ever in our Westfield and American mindset. 

We must carry this mindset on when we begin to recover from this, especially when we begin to restart the economy and small businesses open back-up. Local small businesses have been hit incredibly hard by this pandemic, and they will need support from all of us to persevere and carry through this time and into the future so they can continue to help support our communities and be there for us later on.

I rounded out this week with a visit alongside my dear friend and colleague, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi. The Sheriff gave me a tour of the First Responder Recovery Home at their pre-release center in Ludlow. The First Responder Recovery Home is a fantastic facility for our front line heroes of this pandemic – our doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, EMT’s, corrections professionals, U.S. Military Members and more – who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but cannot safely go home to recover. 

This is a fantastic free of charge service that helps make sure our heroes on the front lines can quarantine and recover following a diagnosis, and not put their loved one’s such as elderly parents, immunocompromised children and spouses, or newborn infants at risk. These heroes on the front lines deserve a peaceful place to recover without fear of infecting vulnerable loved ones and this facility provides exactly that.

I know April was a difficult month for all of us, and many are beginning to wonder when normalcy will return. But it’s important to remember that the more patience we exercise in continuing to social distance, wear face masks, and be proactively cautious in all areas that could help mitigate the spread; the quicker that normalcy will come back. 

Let’s continue to get through this together, and then together – we will recover. 

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, ideas or need assistance in any way please don’t hesitate to reach out. My office can be reached at [email protected] or (413) 572-3920. 

Stay healthy and stay safe! 

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