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VFW gets a boost from volunteers

Members of VFW Post 2618 in Brookhaven are floored by the improvements some vinyl planks and a few cans of paint can do.

About 50 Home Depot employees from nine stores in two states rolled up their sleeves bright and early Wednesday morning and got to work laying new floor and painting the Post ceiling.

They also added mulch and plants around the building that is home to the Capt. Danny D. Entrican Post.

The military tank parked in front of the building escaped a paint job, but only because the paint is on backorder, said Post Commander Greg Marlow.

The work was financed through a $13,788 Community Impact Grant awarded by the Home Depot Foundation.

Marlow applied for the grant after learning in February about the grants that can be used to fund repairs or construction projects at posts. 

According to the company’s website, the program gives preference to veterans’ groups who are volunteer-driven and impact their local communities.

Marlow said the Post serves about 105 members and 25 to 30 of those are active at the Post.

By upgrading the facility, Home Depot employees are able to improve the quality of the experience the veterans and their families have at their Post home, said James Morgan, the assistant manager at the Brookhaven store.

This is the biggest grant awarded in the district in several years, he said. They’re usually able to do three or four smaller projects a year in the district, such as building and installing a ramp for a veteran.

“We wish we could do more,” Morgan said. “There’s no better group to give back to than the veterans.”

About five employees from Brookhaven were joined by team members from stores in Tupelo, Oxford, Madison, Northeast Jackson, Brandon, Vicksburg, Clinton and also Monroe, Louisiana. They all showed up at the Post by 6 a.m. ready to work.

“It shows how much they believe in our values of giving back,” Morgan said.

Marlow said the improvements to the building will go a long way to boost the morale of the veterans who meet there. It will also make the building more appealing as a rentable venue for receptions, parties and other events.

“It will help us rent out the facility to get money back in our coffers,” he said.

Marlow is looking forward to upcoming events that will allow them to show off the renovations.

The Post’s annual open house is planned for September or October. It will be a belated “welcome home” party for the local veterans who are part of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi Army National Guard.

They also plan to host the VFW’s district meeting there soon.

Veterans who are non-members are encouraged to visit a meeting. They’re held each second Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. The VFW is open to any veteran who honorably served overseas in an area of foreign conflict. Those who are not eligible to join, but are the parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, child or grandchild of a qualifying veteran, are encouraged to join the VFW Auxiliary.