By MATT LINDSEY
POTSDAM – The new Robert J. Freego Amvets Post 282, 6771 U.S. Hwy. 11, has a new home thanks to donations from several local businesses, members and $11,00 in renovations to upgrade the facility.
The work is not done, but the Amvets are glad to have their own building after members used to meet at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Market Street.
“The work would not have been possible without contributions from many businesses from around the area…not to mention our members kicking in money and labor,” said Bob Grippo, first vice-president of the post.
Grippo says the post received all their paint donated by Coakley’s Hardware store in Canton; as well as a “good price” on new carpet for the building.
“The VFW gave us a big screen television and bar stools, Ton’s gave us a real good deal on an ice machine and Walmart donated a $200 gift certificate,” Grippo said of area contributors.
The post currently houses a day room/lounge that seats about 35 people and a meeting room that can be rented for birthdays or other events.
“Things have been slow at first…we are open noon to 8 p.m. everyday and we will stay longer if people are there,” Grippo said.
New renovations included costly handicap access toilets that cost $900 each, which Grippo says they got a good deal on from Howland Pump in Ogdensburg.
New fire doors have been purchased and are the next planned construction project.
The Amvets will continue to help with Transitional Services of Northern New York in assisting homeless veterans and those returning from overseas in finding housing, work and any needed assistance.
In discussing the program Grippo says, “We are looking to expand it…we will help any way we can including providing transportation for people to the VA hospital.”
A grand opening is planned for April 5 and will feature vendors and food.
“We will host our annual classic car show in July on our own grounds this year and should include many booths, crafts, food and more,” Grippo said.
More renovations are planned, including a kitchen and banquet room.
Those plans are on hold for now as more funds are needed for that.
Donations can be mailed to AMVETS Post 282, P.O. Box 282, Potsdam, NY, 13676 or dropped off at the post.