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Holyoke Revolver Club to ring in 100th anniversary

Date: 11/26/2013

By Lori Szepelak

HOLYOKE – Camaraderie is the best way to describe the folks you meet at the Holyoke Revolver Club.

During a recent monthly membership meeting night, Norm Desilets, president, reminded members that the club will soon be marking its 100th anniversary. Desilets is a certified rifle and pistol instructor and chief range safety officer.

“In 100 years, we have never had an accident,” Desilets said during an interview with Reminder Publications. “All of our members are very aware of the importance of safety whenever they are on the grounds.”

As the members-only club marks 100 years in 2014 on the 35 acres tucked away on a side street, Desilets noted the members – now 494 represented from communities across Western Massachusetts – have all passed a National Rifle Association of America (NRA) handgun safety course and received a state certificate.

A committee has been formed to plan events around the 100th anniversary, including a dinner Oct. 25, 2014, at the Castle of Knights in Chicopee. Committee members include Joe Knapik, who also serves as club vice president; Ann Robinson, a pistol and rifle instructor; Ralph Rechemberger, historian; Rich Asselin, secretary, and Paul Cadorette, treasurer.

“We hope to have 500 guests on Oct. 25 to celebrate our anniversary,” Desilets said.

During a tour of the grounds, Desilets points out a 50-foot indoor range, heated and ventilated, for all types of handgun shooting with any standard handgun ammunition. Outside, the club offers a 25-yard and a 50-yard range for pistol and small-bore rifle, as well as a 100-yard rifle range for all calibers and loads.

“From doctors and lawyers to nurses and janitors, our membership is diverse and everyone knows the importance of safety first,” Desilets said.

Committee members echoed Desilets’ sentiments.

“Everyone is willing to help you learn at the club,” Robinson said. “We want you to be successful in your sport.”

Asselin added, “We always have a full schedule of events and varied activities so you can become very knowledgeable about the sport.”

Perhaps what is best exhibited from the committee members is a deep friendship and trust they have for each other – and all club members.

“We have created lifelong friendships,” Rechemberger said. “We especially enjoy our teaching roles.”

Area residents interested in more information about the club can visit or call 539-9345.

A weathered plaque that graces the meeting room perhaps says it best about the club and its members – “A great American heritage to ‘keep and bear arms’ may it reign forever.”