Harmony House Board of Directors President Gina Mazza celebrates the ribbon cutting and official opening at 66 View St.
Reminder Publishing photo by Tyler Garnet

CHICOPEE — On May 31, residents and local officials gathered for the official opening of Harmony House at 66 View St.

The Harmony House was founded by the late Ruth Willemain in 2007 with one room in donated home to make sure that people at end of life were not alone and had the care and support they need.

The original home closed in 2020 to move the operations to the newly purchased space, but those plans had to be halted when the coronavirus pandemic began.

The new house was purchased in 2017 but now after many years of waiting and obstacles to overcome, the Harmony House is officially open to be a home and provide shelter with compassionate end of life care for terminally ill individuals.

Board of Directors President Gina Mazza shared her excitement during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

She said, “We are so excited to be here today. This is a long time coming. Ruth Willemain dream is happening today. We are ready to serve Chicopee residents and the greater Chicopee area. People that need our care as they face end of life and we are here for them.”

Harmony House is for those on hospice care and need a place to stay. Harmony House will offer meals, laundry service, personal and spiritual care, along with companionship amongst the staff.

“We have this beautiful home, private rooms, remarkable volunteers, we have staff that will take care of folks 24/7 for as long as they need it. I think most importantly we provide lots of compassion and companionship,” Mazza said.

The renovation of the house has turned the facility in a five-bedroom home where each resident has a private space with their own private room, their own private bathroom, a common area and deck.

Mayor John Vieau talked about the transformation of the Harmony House and how proud he is of all the volunteers in the community who came together to build such a ‘state of the art’ product.

He said, “This is a loving home for those who are terminally ill and that’s their mission statement and something that I believe in. It has evolved from a shell into something special because of this community. Hours of community at times spent volunteering to get it to where it is today.”

Both Mazza and Vieau said that this project could not have been completed without the time and generosity of so many people.

“The board and I, we represent all those people,” Mazza said, “There’s no way this mission and vision could of every happened without so many people through the years. All of our invited guests here today are those who donated, time, labor, talent, teams, you name it to literally build the house, furnish it. We are so grateful for all these people.”

The organization exists on donations and some local grants. Mazza said the goal is over the next year, raise $100,000 to help pay for residents.

The Harmony House began its fundraising efforts on June 10 with a wine tasting and silent auction at 350 Grill Steakhouse, 350 Worthington St., Springfield.

Mazza said that any donation can go a long way to help the Harmony House continue providing care for those who need it.

She said, “We are always looking for donations and we are very grateful for them. It’s a significant amount of money and it’s not unrealistic but we need to work hard to do it. We don’t charge anyone to stay here and we have to maintain this beautiful home. We have staff and volunteers we have to take care of and we don’t want our residents to be worried about financial issues.”

Mazza added that the Harmony House is also looking volunteers to help in different areas.

Those readers looking to learn more, or help can visit www.harmonyhousewma.org.

Mazza said the best way to become a resident is work with your hospice agency.

tgarnet@thereminder.com | + posts