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Neighborhood rallies to rebuild Westover VFW Submit 9916

WESTOVER — “It was one hell of a multitude.” 

Wilbur England provides the road with the understated supply of a person who’s been to struggle. 

He’s standing close to the bar on the bottom ground of the Westover VFW Submit 9916 constructing sharing photos on his telephone — photos of the identical room 15 months previously.  

It was Dec. 26, 2022, when Desert Storm Veteran and membership member Jason Morgan discovered the entrance of the 15,725 square-foot, two-story constructing encased in ice. 

He was on patrol as a deputy with the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Division. 

“I couldn’t get the door open. It was frozen stable. There was a foot of ice on the entrance of this door. We truly ended up having to get a ground jack and jack the steel again up so the door would open. So, we needed to get in again right here,” Morgan mentioned, gesturing to a secondary entrance.    

“Me and one other deputy needed to drive that door open. I assumed anyone had stacked chairs in entrance of it. No. It was water. There was six inches of standing water. As quickly as we acquired that door cracked open, the water simply poured out.”  

The pipes within the 52-year-old constructing had suffered the identical destiny as many pipes throughout the area through the Christmas 2022 deep freeze. 

The constructing had been empty over Christmas. Water bumped into its floor ground for days, freezing the place it met the surface air. 

The load of the ice ripped off a lot of the constructing’s entrance facade. Previous ceiling tiles absorbed their fill and dropped, exploding on the bar, pool tables, electronics, paperwork, mementos and memorabilia under. 

“I assumed, nicely, now at the least we are able to get the insurance coverage and fully repair this place up and make it very nice once more,” Morgan mentioned. 

About that. 

“What had occurred, the earlier commander had canceled the insurance coverage we had down the road right here and was within the technique of getting different insurance coverage. So, it ended up there was a interval of six or seven days the place we have been with out insurance coverage. Nicely, guess what,” England defined. 

Like the person mentioned, a hell of a multitude. 

The membership’s accounts have been drained within the fast aftermath in an effort to stabilize the state of affairs. 

The commander urged closing the doorways and finally stepped away. 

“There have been occasions after we simply wished to surrender,” Morgan mentioned. 

“The insurance coverage problem killed us. It killed us,” England added. “I’d sit right here and surprise the place on the planet we’d even get the cash to pay the utilities.”  

Then phrase acquired out to the neighborhood. 

“I’ll inform you there have been checks that began coming in from all people and it stored us going,” England mentioned.  

By June 2022, England had been elected Submit 9916 Commander and the comeback was in progress. 

It wasn’t a struggle, however it was going to take a military. 

BJ Trickett, proprietor of Precision One Builders, was among the many first to enlist. 

The son of a Gulf Warfare veteran, Trickett began exhibiting up after hours and dealing nicely into the night for no cost. When he may, he introduced his crew, and the membership would scrape up sufficient cash to pay his guys for the day. 

It’s estimated that the quantity of donated time and materials, coupled with funds offered by membership members, exceeds $100,000. 

“The folks. They’re good folks,” Trickett mentioned when requested why he took on the mission. “When it occurred, they’d no insurance coverage and no different place to show, so we started working.” 

To attempt to listing each enterprise and group that stepped ahead to assist the VFW could be a disservice. 

England says space banks and funeral properties have been among the many first to assist, together with a listing of legislation enforcement and veterans’ teams. 

Giant regional and nationwide chains donated supplies. 

Morgan mentioned Duane and Daybreak Tatar with WV Jewellery & Mortgage basically opened their store to the trouble.   

“Duane was down right here that night time and really acquired the water shut off within the constructing for us,” he mentioned, “In the event that they get one thing within the pawn store they assume we are able to use, they are saying ‘simply take it.’” 

Town of Westover and the city of Granville each contributed to the trouble financially.

Progress on the constructing superior slowly by way of 2023. All of the whereas, the VFW stored exhibiting as much as present companies at veteran funerals and act as an honor guard for native occasions. 

The membership by no means closed its second-floor house for the native organizations that depend on the constructing as a spot to fulfill and maintain particular occasions. 

“It’s actually a neat story to me that the neighborhood got here in to assist,” 30-year Air Pressure Veteran Tom Yanni mentioned. “I believe the reason being folks understand the issues we do for the neighborhood. The funeral protection, as an illustration, these are issues that imply so much to folks.” 

Between the help of the neighborhood and the care, time and experience offered by veteran members like Yanni, Morgan, Wilbur and John England and others, the constructing’s first ground reopened on Feb. 9. 

A toast was so as. 

“It’s been an extended street, let’s put it that approach,” England mentioned. “There’s nonetheless some work to do, however to see the place now, you’d by no means know the state it was in. And I’ll inform you what, most of it’s due to the folks of this neighborhood. It’s been a complete staff effort.”