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Home Depot Provides Upgrades to American Legion Hall

Hall receives $9,000 grant from Home Depot Foundation for new windows, paint, among various other improvements.

Crews paint the main room of the American Legion Homer Wing 172 in Rochester on Friday. Photo credit: John McKay
Crews paint the main room of the American Legion Homer Wing 172 in Rochester on Friday. Photo credit: John McKay
The American Legion Hall Homer Wing 172 in downtown Rochester has been a staple downtown for decades, as evidenced by its deteriorating features and weathered exterior.

Post Commander Sheryl May, a Gulf War veteran, points out the windows along the side of the building at 234 Walnut that won't close, due to their warped frames. Paint and rotted wood flakes off of the large, single-pane window at the front of the building.

The building, May said, was definitely in need of some upgrades, but with its primary source of income coming from hall rentals, the estimates to bring the building up to shape were staggering and had been well outside of the hall's budget. Thankfully for the hall, its was targeted, and approved, for a $9,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation and on Friday, a team of Home Depot employees from the Rochester area, decked in the company's bright orange shirts, applied new coats of paint, siding and upgrades throughout the hall. 

The grant, May said, was about a year in the making. The hall found out in August it was approved for the grant, which the company provides for veteran-friendly upgrades and improvement projects throughout the community. 

Nic Webster, a plumbing department supervisor at Home Depot's Troy store, served as captain of "Team Depot," the team of employees from several area stores providing the upgrades.

"A lot of our passion is that we get to give back," Webster said. 

The team, he says, actively seeks out new projects for funding from the Home Depot Foundation. The $9,000 grant for the hall included new drywall inside the vestibule in the hall's entrance, new siding, a fresh coat of paint on the walls and ceiling inside the hall's spacious main room, new trim and new windows on the front and side of the building, which should help reduce the hall's energy costs, Webster said. Outdoors, crews raked leaves and cleaned the grounds along the exterior of the building. 

"We definitely had a need," May said. While the hall boasts about 120 total members, only about 10-15 members are active as its membership of veterans grows older. Getting younger veterans involved, she said, has proven difficult as the focus with younger prospective members tends to be on family and work.

May and Webster said a possible second grant could be in the works for the hall to complete some other, much-needed improvements throughout the kitchen area and the rest of the hall.

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