Home Depot to help VFW help others

Donation to include materials, labor to repair rundown post home
By Sarah E. Reynolds | Oct 31, 2019
Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds VFW Post 3108 Operations Manager Jim Roberts applied for a grant from Home Depot to get the building and grounds repaired and spruced up.

Belfast — Randall-Collins VFW Post 3108 at 34 Field St. will welcome a crew and foreman from Home Depot for a renovation project planned for Nov. 7. Volunteers are needed to help with the project as well.

VFW Operations Manager Jim Roberts said, "We're not looking for any specific skill; we just need volunteers." He added that the foreman would direct all workers in completing the needed repairs.

Roberts said the post applied for help from the Home Depot Foundation, which aids veterans organizations. He learned about it when he happened to meet Ashton Gourley, assistant manager at the Bangor store, who helped him with the grant application. The store will provide all materials and tools, as well as labor.

The VFW Hall has become seriously dilapidated in some areas, with code violations among the problems to be fixed, he said. Problems include a fire escape on the back of the building, two handicapped entrances with unsafe railings and/or ramps, a porch that needs protection from snow falling off the roof and a stairway that is listing noticeably to one side and is poorly lit. Roberts joked that "these stairs start to look straight after you've had a couple of beers."

In addition, hedges will be trimmed and other light landscaping done, as well as some interior painting, he said. Also, the lights shining on the American flag outside the post will be upgraded to make it more visible.

Gourley said the value of the grant, which covers materials, is $1,000. The crew of 15 coming from the Bangor and Rockland stores are all volunteering their labor, he said. He added that Home Depot chose to establish a foundation to aid veterans organizations and causes because it has 35,000 associates who have served or are currently serving in the military. "We believe in giving back and doing the right thing," he said.

The post is one of the most active in the state, Roberts said, with a food pantry that serves both veterans and non-veterans — sometimes up to 112 families in less than three hours. It is open from 9:30 a.m. to noon each Sunday, and on an emergency basis. Roberts said those with a food emergency may call No Greater Love Food Pantry director Tanya Bormet at 299-2093.

In addition, the post houses a pet food pantry run by Heidi Blood, who is the animal control officer for several area towns and can be reached through her Facebook page, Waldo County Pet Food Pantry. Both pantries are run by volunteers, he said.

Belfast VFW also runs a number of school-related programs, including the Patriot's Pen and and Voice of Democracy essay contests for middle and high school students, respectively. Entries for both contests closed Oct. 31, Roberts said, and awards will be presented at area schools in coming weeks.

Representatives of the post will attend a pizza party in their honor and speak to students at Ames Elementary School in Searsmont Nov. 8. At the same time, they will pick up Halloween candy donated by students to be given to returning military personnel by troop greeters at Bangor International Airport, with any extra being sent to service members overseas.

And of course the post organizes the Veterans Day parade in Belfast, which steps off from the post at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, and concludes at the waterfront with a brief ceremony, a 21-gun salute and the playing of "Taps." Veterans are encouraged to participate.

Roberts said the work being done by Home Depot "will help us help our community," as well as making the building safer.

The fire escape on the back of Post 3108's building at 34 Field St. in Belfast is among the problems to be repaired by Home Depot Nov. 6 and 7. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Stairs going up from the parking lot entrance lean to one side and are in poor condition. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
The railing at the handicapped entrance to the food pantry is rickety and will be repaired. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
The indoor ramp into the food pantry will be fixed so that the ramp blends into the floor without a sudden drop. (Photo by: Sarah E. Reynolds)
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.