Volunteer veterans work to restore American Legion

05/18/2013 5:34 PM |

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Richard Clark helped paint the exterior wall at the American Legion Hall in Greenport Saturday.

American Legion Halls across the country will hold Memorial Day celebrations next weekend to remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed services. Meanwhile, at the Greenport American Legion Hall, a faithful group of volunteer veterans and community members will be working to restore the ailing structure and its vintage roller rink.

The building’s revitalization began two years ago, but suffered a major setback in December when George Costello Sr., one of the project’s leaders, died unexpectedly at age 63.

In Mr. Costello’s memory, the Greenport Rotary Club hosted a fundraiser in April. The event raised hundreds for the reconstruction. The funding helped volunteers Saturday pay for the final coat of paint on the building’s recently rebuilt exterior south-facing wall.

“The rotary’s fundraiser helped a lot,” said Butch Corwin, vice commander of the legion hall. “Now with this done we can start working on the inside.”

The project is still in need of funding before it can open to public. The building will need new composite flooring, heating and air conditioning systems and a remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. Volunteers estimate the final cost of the reconstruction will be upwards of $600,000, but said they’re grateful for the community helping pave the way.

“We have help from so many people; it would take me pages to write them all down,” Mr. Corwin said.

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