With longtime pal facing eviction, fellow Greenfield veteran steps up

  • Bill Phelps, at left, purchased a two-story house on Silver Street in Greenfield so his friend and fellow veteran, Bill Dwyer, wouldn’t be forced to move when the building was put up for sale. STAFF PHOTO/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 11/10/2021 5:14:34 PM

GREENFIELD — After nearly 16 years at his Silver Street home, Denny Dwyer, a 74-year-old Vietnam War veteran, faced eviction. That is, until a friend stepped in to help.

“It was surprising,” Dwyer, a nearly lifelong Greenfield resident, said from his front porch. “They wanted me out right away.”

Following the death of Dwyer’s landlord, the two-story house on Silver Street was to be put up for sale by the landlord’s daughter. Dwyer was told he would need to move out.

“I didn’t want to move. I’ve never liked moving,” Dwyer said, adding that he would likely have moved in, at least temporarily, with his daughter in Erving while searching for a new place to call home.

It was a situation that, to his longtime friend and fellow veteran, Bill Phelps, “didn’t feel right.”

“I thought I would do what I could,” said Phelps, 74.

With the help of his daughter-in-law, a real estate agent, Phelps entered the bidding process with the agent selling the building where Dwyer had been living. Eventually, the two parties settled on a “fair price” and in September, Phelps took over ownership of the house so Dwyer wouldn’t have to move.

Both Dwyer and Phelps grew up in Greenfield, and have memories of pitching together on Little League. With the exception of their years in service, and the few years Phelps lived on the eastern part of the state, they’ve always called Greenfield home.

“We’ve known each other our whole lives,” said Phelps.

Both men were drafted to serve in the U.S. Army at age 19, and on one of Phelps’ two tours of Vietnam, he and Dwyer once again crossed paths. Each served for two years before moving back to Greenfield in 1968, where their friendship continued through decades of playing golf and softball together.

“Our friendship has gotten better — and the golf game has gotten worse,” Phelps said, laughing.

They are also members of the local American Legion and Disabled American Veterans organizations.

Phelps said he is in the process of renovating the first-floor apartment and getting it ready for his friend, who is currently living upstairs, to eventually relocate there. Then, when the upstairs space is ready, he said, he’ll be in search of another tenant.

“I’m grateful,” Dwyer said. “I’m happy to still be here.”

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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