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American Legion Post 1 Hosts Open House, Kicks Off Fundraising Drive | News, Sports, Jobs

American Legion Post 1 Hosts Open House, Kicks Off Fundraising Drive | News, Sports, Jobs

John Powell, president of the American Post 1 Home Corporation, announces Post 1’s acquisition of the former Italian American Club in Elm Grove for use as its new home base. Post 1 on Wednesday kicked off a $400,000 fundraising drive to renovate the structure.

Veterans need a place to feel safe, relax and learn about the benefits their military service earned them, says John Powell, American Legion Post 1 Home Corporation President.

Post 1 on Wednesday hosted an open house at its new home, the former Italian American Club in Elm Grove.

The goal of the new facility is to move away from being a bar or “canteen,” and rebrand Post 1 as a place to attract new veterans and their families, Powell explained.

The hope is the new Post 1 will be able to attract members not currently affiliated with a veterans organization or enrolled in the Veterans Administration health system.

At Post 1, veterans will have access to counseling to help them secure the benefits they deserve, according to Powell.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

John Powell, at podium, president of the American Post 1 Home Corporation, announces Post 1’s acquisition of the former Italian American Club in Elm Grove for use as its new home base. Post 1 on Wednesday kicked off a $400,000 fundraising drive to renovate the structure. Alongside him are Bob Joseph, left, financial officer for Post 1; Greg McCroskey, 1st vice commander; and Lawrence Mack, a project estimator for Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration in Wheeling.

He said many of the veterans are experiencing things they consider to be “normal” and often don’t seek treatment.

“They think that is the way things are supposed to be but they are not,” Powell explained. “I can relate to you stories from veterans who thought ringing in their ears was normal. And another veteran thinks the nightmares he experiences are just a way of life.

“There’s the veteran who is afraid to apply for disability because he think it will hurt his current job, or that it would take away from a more deserving veteran.”

Post 1 has purchased the IAC Building and has plans to do $420,000 in renovations to it. On Wednesday, organizers kicked off a fundraising effort to pay for the work.

Post 1 paid an initial $20,000 for the building, and is contributing the first $50,000 toward the planned work.

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

Members of the public attend as American Legion Post 1 announce the organization’s acquisition of the former Italian American Club in Elm Grove for use as its new home base. Post 1 on Wednesday kicked off a $400,000 fundraising drive to renovate the structure.

Powell introduced Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration as the contractor chosen to do the renovations.

“They have helped us to design a future for the building that is energy efficient, and ADA (Americans With Disability Act) compliant,” he said.

Lawrence Mack, construction estimator with Panhandle, gave a run down on all the work that is needed.

He pointed to some ceiling tile that had already been removed, and how there was no insulation above it. The entire ceiling in the building will be removed and spray foam insulation installed, he said.

“Those who have been here for events know it can be very hot, or very cold in here,” Mack said. “It’s hard for the HVAC (heating and air conditioning) to keep up, even though it is functional.”

photo by: Photo by Joselyn King

American Legion Post 1 on Wednesday announced its acquisition of the former Italian American Club in Elm Grove for use as its new home base. Post 1 has kicked off a $400,000 fundraising drive to renovate the structure.

Electric wiring will need to be updated throughout the structure, he continued. In addition, restrooms will be made ADA compliant.

A veteran-owned company has been consulted about providing a custom poly-resin floor for the Post 1 property, and another veteran-owned company has agreed to do the painting for the cost of the paint.

Future rental income from the building will be put toward maintenance and upkeep of the building, as well as be a funding source for Post 1’s veterans programs, Powell said.

American Legion Post 1 on Wednesday announced its acquisition of the former Italian American Club in Elm Grove for use as its new home base. Post 1 has kicked off a $400,000 fundraising drive to renovate the structure.

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