Warren Ard of the Garry Owen House had much to smile about Tuesday, May 15.

Judy Brossmer, President of the Midcoast Board of Realtors presented Ard with a check for $9,000 for the continued support and operation of the transitional home for homeless veterans.

"Along with matching funds from Maine Association of Realtors, we were able to raise this money," Brossmer said.

Esther Darres of the Mid-Coast Board of Realtors said, "Thank you to all who gave. Without your support this could not be possible.

"I am very pleased," she said. "To present this $9,000 for housing needs to the Garry Owen House."

Back in December of 2016, Garry Owen Motorcycle Club members transformed the former "Apple Squeeze" on Route 3 in Searsmont, into a residence for homeless veterans.

The shelter opened on Christmas Eve 2016, after 12 days of intense work, with all labor and materials donated by area contractors, according to Gene Kelly, treasurer for the Garry Owen Motorcycle Club.

Since its inception, "the shelter has been home to 17 people, which translates to 9 percent of the homeless veterans in the state of Maine," Alex Allmayer-Beck, CSW, and executive director of admissions, said.

The veterans have stayed anywhere between 15 days to up to four months, according to Allmayer-Beck.

The John F. Kennedy Chapter 16 of Disabled American Veterans of Bangor donated $500, as well as the Greater Bangor Area Marine Corp. League, which also presented a $500 check to the Garry Owen House.

"It has been a group effort for this year's fundraising," Allmayer-Beck said. "This is going to help a lot."

The group plans to eventually open a larger facility on Route 220 in Montville but when it comes to fruition depends on fundraising.

The group would need around $1.5 million to start building, Allmayer-Beck said.

"We would be spinning our wheels to get it going," he said "For the present time, we can adapt this house. We can expand on this and work with what we have."

With an established facility and group in place, "it is easier to raise money," Allmayer-Beck said.

Inside the house after the check passing, guests were treated to sandwiches, deviled eggs and pie.

"This spread has been donated by the Maine Warden Service and community members, and has been prepared by the folks here at the Garry Owen House," Ard noted.

A current resident of the house, Roger Flick, said, "I'm happy for what Alex and all the people are doing. I was freezing last winter.

"I became homeless a year ago," he said. "I had to camp out and when it got cold, I found this place and came here."

Flick, 62, is eligible for low-income subsidized housing. He is currently on a waiting list but the "turnover is not too fast," he said.

Garry Owen Motorcycle Club will be having a fundraising ride on June 2 starting at 9 a.m. at the group's clubhouse at 21 South Mountain Valley Highway (Route 220) in Montville.

There is a $25 per bike suggested donation. For more information email garryowenknox@gmail.com or call 837-3749.