MEMPHIS, TN— Slowly but surely they're getting there. Progress is being made remodeling a crumbling VFW building in south Memphis. Three months after ABC24’s initial story aired, detailing the VFW’s problems construction is finally coming along.
The dedication and motivation of these veterans is unbelievable. Many if not all are disabled and despite that they're 100 percent involved in rebuilding their VFW building. They don't ask for money but say everything is appreciated.
Saturday September 8, 2012 was the first time these Veterans of Foreign Wars were able to gather in their brand new meeting room.
"We spent $2,000 on the meeting room,” said VFW 11333 Post Commander Kelly McDuffie. “The guys did one heck of a bang up job fixing it."
They sure did. Their labors included freshly painted walls, a new ceiling, and brand new fans and lights.
"Next week we plan on starting on the floor,” said the VFW building committee chair Harry Duncan Jr. “ We start around 10:30am and stay between 4:30 or 5pm, we call it a day, go home, get a little rest, and come back the following day start all over again."
Talk about dedication. They may have a few gray hairs but they haven't lost their will to work.
"I'm very committed, I basically did the same thing in the military,” said Duncan who served 20 years in the U.S. Army.
Members chipped in from their disability checks to pay for repairs. It took months to save $3,500 but they couldn't do it alone anymore. The building was on the verge of collapse. Once their story aired on ABC24 news in early June some concerned Memphians organized fundraisers and some companies donated building supplies.
"We're grateful to everyone who's given us a nickel or a dime,” Duffie stated.
There is still a lot more work to do: fixing the roof, holes on the siding, and replacing a warped beam. The beam alone is $10,000 but those obstacles haven’t slowed these veterans in giving back to the community.
"We found out one thing, no matter how little you got there's always someone with less and you can help them out that way and that's what we're doing,” said Duffie.
Among their projects the veterans will assist Lincoln Elementary School in south Memphis by providing school supplies, uniforms, as well as mentoring services. As for the VFW building new steel doors will be installed on Tuesday. Work on the roof may start as early as two weeks.