By CRAIG FREILICH
POTSDAM – AmVets members who have been meeting at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Market Street will soon have their own hall on U.S. Hwy. 11.
“The VFW has been good enough to let us meet there since we started this post,” said Bob Grippo, first vice-president of Robert J. Freego AmVets Post 282.
He hopes the new AmVets building will be open in time for the winter holidays, and certainly in time for them to celebrate the post’s third anniversary next February. The facility, next to Grant’s Gas and Groceries between Canton and Potsdam, “is painted and looking good,” he said.
“It’s good-sized – 2,500 to 3,000 square feet,” Grippo said of the leased space.
Right now, members are working on the canteen for vets, getting it ready for photographs to be taken and sent to state liquor authorities with their application for a license.
“It will be a little different than a normal post, not just a bar, but a place for vets and their families,” Grippo said.
It will also be a place for representatives of Transitional Living Services of Northern New York to be able to interview veterans who are looking for housing. Right now, Grippo says, many of those interviews are taking place at a local fast-food restaurant.
The canteen will eventually be serving meals, once the banquet facility is set and the state health Department gives its okay.
Another improvement required by the Town of Potsdam code is replacement of the current fireproof doors, which contain glass panels.
He said members have been kicking in money on their own for the improvements, and have donated office furniture, but donations from the public will be welcome and useful.
Donations can be mailed to AMVETS Post 282, P.O. Box 282, Potsdam, NY, 13676, or dropped off at the post.