Letter: Turner House should remain open for veterans


To the Editor:

I'm grateful for The Eagle's report by Susan Bush ("Turner House shutting its doors." July 5) that spotlighted the threat of closing the Williamstown veterans shelter, the exceptionally beautiful Turner House.

I was sheltered there for two years in 2009 and 2010 after becoming suddenly destitute through state-imposed family property leave. It was a beautiful refuge from camping in a snowbank.

Unfortunately, beauty incites envy and avarice. VA funding may incite other farflung VA bureaucracies to snatch at the Turner House dollars now amidst confusing new national policies piled onto typical VA confusion.

The beauty of a restored historic house with over half a dozen bathrooms in a scenic college town location can incite fortune seekers eager to grab that ready-made, high income "bed and breakfast" gold mine.

So profiteers and bureaucrat schemers may see dollar signs. I see destruction.

Most former residents there, including myself, are elderly and impoverished. How can we stand up in court? I can at least testify, and I urge others to reach me at 413 652-9274, or 413 212-3834. Either a shutdown or an upscale switch to serving less-needy vet usages would violate the devout intentions of brave World War II volunteer Ferman Turner, who donated the house. I recall him as a diligent school janitor in my school days over 50 years ago. The quiet janitor had no way to leave a wealthy endowment as a legal defense fund.

This region painfully loses jobs, stores, schools, old landmark churches, the beautiful Spruces mobilpark, even the (Northern Berkshire) region's hospital.

Saving Truner House? Struggling against local trends, even against planet trends? Outcomes matter, and are possibly far reaching. An era of military suicides needs healing places preserved here.

Richard David Greene

North Adams


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