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VFW projects seek to honor local veterans

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | April 16, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The Sandpoint Veterans of Foreign Wars post is getting a new look and VFW officials are hoping the community can help make it happen.

A project to re-side the VFW Post 2453 building is slated to start Friday, April 21, and last through the weekend, post commander Ken Hunt said.

“We will get as much done as we can over those three days but realize it will take more work days,” Hunt told the Daily Bee.

Work will start at 8 a.m. each day, following an initial work briefing at 7 a.m. The post will provide snacks and lunch each day for volunteers.

The post’s goal is to complete prep work prior to April 21, and to begin wrapping the building on that day. Once the wrapping is complete, crews will begin putting up the metal siding, Hunt said.

That, the post commander said, is where the community comes in. The post is hoping volunteers will turn out to help cut and place the sheet metal siding — especially those with experience and expertise in doing so.

Volunteers are welcome to bring any tools or ladders they feel would help the project, Hunt said.

The project was funded in large part by a grant from the Community Assistance League. The “generous grant” purchased a majority of the metal siding for the project, Hunt said.

The project isn’t the only cool event planned by the post. Hunt said the Sandpoint VFW post recently launched the “Your Hometown Veteran” program that invites local families to bring a framed picture of their veteran and a short story of their service. The program began as a way to honor those from the community who served and honor them at the post.

All photos, which should be in a frame that is 8x10 inches or smaller, will be posted on the walls. The goal is to collect photos of all veterans from the community who served in the war, and gather their stories to catalog them, Hunt said.

On Memorial Day, a short ceremony will be held at the VFW hall at 10 a.m. to pay tribute to the community’s hometown veterans. A brunch will follow the ceremony.

Those interested in participating in the program are asked to call the VFW post at 208-263-9613 before heading over to ensure someone is on hand to receive the photographs and stories.

Also on Memorial Day, two ceremonies are held in Sandpoint — one at Pinecrest Cemetery at 9 a.m. and a second service at Lakeview Cemetery at 11 a.m.

The events, and the Memorial Day services, are part of an ongoing effort by the local VFW post to honor the community’s veterans and meet veterans’ needs — or those of their families.

Among the post’s ongoing programs are a variety of community services, and the local VFW chapter gives scholarships to high school students throughout the county. In addition, the post recently launched “The Base Camp” — a hangout area complete with comfy couches, a pool table, and smart TVs where local veterans of all ages can go and hang out.

VFW is mainly a lobbyist group for veterans to ensure they are taken care of after their service, Hunt said previously. The big issue locally is how to get the younger generation of veterans involved and informed about the services the VFW provides.

The Sandpoint VFW worked on the project for several years as a way to provide more resources to local veterans and their families and to encourage the use of the VFW facility, leading to its opening in March 2022.

The demographics of local veterans are only growing in Bonner County. Projects like Your Hometown Veteran and The Base Camp programs are all part of an effort by the post to meet the needs of veterans, honor their service and help veterans of all ages connect with one another.

Base Camp has movies, books, magazines, a sitting area, four large-screen TVs and other entertainment equipment such as a large pool table and darts. With a small donation refreshments, ice cream, burritos, candy, coffee and other goodies will be provided.

There is even a playpen with toys if one of the veterans wants to bring their little one, Hunt said.

To sign up to volunteer at the re-siding event, or for more information about any of the post’s programs or activities, individuals may call the VFW post at 208-263-9613, or post commander Ken Hunt at 208-301-8152.

photo

(File photo/EMILY BONSANT)

Volunteers are being sought by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post to install new metal siding on the Sandpoint post, 1325 Pine St.

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