Ambitious plans for a revival of the patriotic spirit took a step towards reality on a balmy afternoon, March 19.
Members of the Lee Marts Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3571 and Ladies Auxiliary turned out for the first work day on their future new home and military museum.
Post and auxiliary members hope that the public will catch their vision of a special place to honor patriotic service and sacrifice, and will join in helping them make a big dream become reality.
That afternoon two weeks ago was the first of many work days to come. The VFW Post and Auxiliary have begun an ambitious project of restoring the former North Delta Community Center to a military museum, and they plan eventually to build a new meeting hall for their community functions on the site as well.
It was last November that members of the post and auxiliary met at the front door of the North Delta Community Center to accept the keys from Bonsil Huffington and others representing the North Delta Community Association. The Association had donated the building to the post and auxiliary for their use.
The Post and Auxiliary have been sharing assembly quarters with the American Legion in the Legion's building on Howard Street. But members of the post and auxiliary have longed fortheir own meeting place since their former hall burned some years ago.
At that presentation ceremony last November, thinking was that the little red community building would get some repairs and a face-lift then become the VFW's new headquarters. Over the cold winter months since then, the dreams, hopes, and now plans for the building and site have grown considerably.
Restoration of the building and listing it on the historic places register is still the key element. VFW members now also see it being converted to a military museum for display of memorabilia and artifacts from the brave servicemen and women who have fought, risked their lives, and given their lives to protect Americans' freedoms.
Eventually, a new meeting hall for the post and auxiliary would be built next to the historic museum structure, adjoined by a breezeway, explained post commander Paul Carter.
The new hall would have all the facilities needed including kitchen facilities.
There are also plans for the ample, acre-plus lot that the present building sits on.Some of it will be converted to parking use; but the VFW's plans don't stop at the building's walls. They include development of a long-hoped-for veterans' memorial park associated with the site.
The City of Delta's proposed Alternate Truck Route project is going to take a small patch of gravel and dirt at Confluence Park that the VFW has hoped for years would be the site of their veterans' memorial park. With that site apparently out of the picture now, the VFW is eying a new potential site.
Linda Stahly, president of the post auxiliary, said a small triangle of land along Highway 50 that years ago was a roadside rest stop and that borders the VFW's new home would make an ideal spot for their veterans' memorial. The owner of the property, CDOT, hasn't given any permission to use the plot of land, Stahly said. Still, hopes are that one day, with some political and financial help from the public, dreams for the museum, new hall, and veterans' memorial park will happen.
The building, said to be in use since the 1920s, sits at the intersection of Highway 50 and H38 Road next to the North Delta Market. The local landmark was for many years the center of community activities for North Delta in the years prior to its annexation by the City of Delta. City councilman Ed Sisson, a North Delta native, remembers the big going-away party that was held for him there in 1969 as he prepared to leave home and serve his country in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
The building was the site of countless events including receptions, meetings, graduation celebrations, reunions, performances, and many of the other community events that knit together the lives of people in a small, rural American town. In recent years the building has fallen into disuse.
Now, the VFW wants to inject new life into the structure and transform it into a useful point of community pride once again, only this time a source of pride that will serve a much largercommunity than ever before – the community of patriotic Americans everywhere.
Post member Jim Baker explained that the plans will take time coming about, adding that the public can help. All kinds of assistance and support is welcome as the post and auxiliary move forward, step by step and workday by workday to make it all happen. Help with in-kind services and cash donations, memorials, and bequests will all help the project move forward. The post is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. And, adds Baker and Carter, prayers are most welcome also.
All of the time, planning, effort and hard work the project requires will become a new part of the post and auxiliary's ongoing work of youth education, community service, and patriotic revival.blog comments powered by Disqus