The appeal for funds to renovate the American Legion post in Greenport has resonated with many, providing a good start on financial contributions, a resurgence in post membership and the offer of many volunteer hours from local tradesman.
The coffers now hold between $32,000 and $35,000 of the estimated $250,000 to $300,000 it will take to restore the Burton Potter American Legion Post 185 to its former glory, according to George Costello, who is leading the renovation effort. He said he’s pleased at the number of people who have stepped forward since the campaign was launched last fall.
A membership drive not only attracted some veterans who hadn’t been active in recent years, but included an outreach to the sons of veterans, Mr. Costello said. He was able to recruit about 15 vets in their 20s who are also tradesmen with expertise, talent and energy to lend to the project.
Until now, work inside the building has been limited to a basic cleanup and shoring up the walls, Mr. Costello said. In April, work will get under way on replacing the pitched roof and that’s expected to eat up most of what’s been raised so far. Two other roof sections are also beyond repair and Mr. Costello hopes money from direct donations and upcoming fundraisers will allow the Legion to complete all the roof work this spring.
It’s important to get the roof done to stop leaks that might otherwise threaten the integrity of the building, he said. Then work can begin on the floor and other interior renovations.
To help keep project money flowing, Marilyn Corwin has put together a variety show at 2 p.m. this Sunday. April 3, at the Greenport School auditorium.
Ms. Corwin was watching a recent TV program that featured old clips from “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which aired on CBS between 1948 and 1971, and thought that might just be the key to her program.
For those who remember it, Mr. Sullivan’s “really big show” offered everything from singers and comedians to jugglers and magic acts. And that’s just what you’ll find on Sunday, with performances from the East End Brass Band, gospel singers, bagpipers, an accordionist, banjo player Warren McKnight, guitarist and singer Ev Corwin, rap artist Mike Check and singer Erika Cabral. Ms. Corwin had a juggler slated for the program, but he slipped through her fingers when he got another Sunday booking he couldn’t pass up, she said.
Nonetheless, Ms. Corwin promises her own “really big show,” and said it’s a bargain at $10 for adults and $5 for children accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available at the door.
“I think it’s going to be a fun day,” she said.
While the show can’t net the thousands still needed for work on the building, which serves as much as a community center as it does a home for veterans, every dollar helps, Mr. Costello said.
Another fundraiser, an old-fashioned fish fry at Hanff’s Boat Yard on Sterling Street, is scheduled for June 19.
Those who have been working on the project are also planning something special for this year’s Greenport Maritime Festival in September, Mr. Costello said. Because the festival occurs in the same month as the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, he expects that legion organizers will memorialize that event in conjunction with their festival plans.
A drive to increase membership in the legion’s auxiliary will also get under way, Mr. Costello said.
He’s also looking for additional volunteers to get involved in the renovations.
“Anybody who can work with your hands, we’ve got a job for you,” Mr. Costello said.
GREENPORT VARIETY SHOW
To benefit renovation of Burton Potter American Legion Post 185
Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m.
Greenport School auditorium
Tickets at the door: $10 for adults, $5 for children accompanied by an adult