At last, Milford's American Legion Post #139 is being upgraded for handicap bathrooms.
Walking through the front doors, you'll see long brown curtains where the men’s restroom is being installed. A wall was taken down to make room for a larger, more comfortable area.
The new commander, Connie Harvey, explained the years-long delay in getting the job done.
"At the time it was not due to lack of funds but from other inside issues," she said. "We overcame these issues, but then the money was unfortunately no longer available due to the previous administration paying off a large loan before they left office. This hurt the new administration but did not stop them from reaching out to the community and asking for help."
After Harvey met with Milford Mayor Sean Strub, donations started rolling in.
"Our mayor of Milford really has been pulling for the veterans," Harvey said. "His partnership with the Legion has been a Christmas miracle. Then a longtime Auxiliary member, Dawn Fuger, started to reach out to her colleagues, and they in turn came through with donations to support the Legion. There is no doubt that the community followed in their footsteps and pulled for our local Legion.
She said the first project was to move a well tank, build a wall, and make repairs needed before water lines could be properly moved and installed.
"This was finally started on Dec. 4," she said.
She said that as the money was raised for this first project, "we ran into a snag. A new well tank was needed, another costly part of the project. The first project was supposed to cost $3,550. It ended up costing $5,500."
Construction and piping, at $23,000, are the costliest parts of the project. The Legion is asking for the community's donations to complete the project.
"Many on the outside see the American Legion as a bar," said Harvey. "This is far from the truth. The Legion's hall is the area's largest and hosts many events from veterans' meetings to birthday parties."
She said the hall hosts many special occasions throughout the year, including Halloween and Valentine's Day parties, a Thanksgiving lunch, bingo games, and an Easter egg hunt and breakfast with Santa for local children.
"Most important it is a home," Harvey said. "It is a place where veterans get together with other veterans and feel a sense of family. Many just come in to laugh, talk, make fun of each other. These same people might not have family around or any family left. This is their family. This is where they come to say 'hi' and smile for a bit. Imagine being one in a wheelchair that fought for our country, our freedom, and you just want to come to a place that you can relate to others."
She sees expanded possibilities with the new renovation.
"We want our doors open to everyone," she said. "We are a part of the community. We want our veterans to come in and feel welcome along with their family members knowing they are taken care of by their local American Legion. We have been fundraising and going out to our local businesses to put up donation buckets for support."
To support the construction of the handicapped restrooms, send donations of any amount to The American Legion, P.O. Box 144 Milford PA 18337. The hall is located at 103 County Road 2001, Milford.
"The American Legion is now open to all service members that served even one day in the military since Dec. 7, 1941," Harvey said. "Please come join us."
"Most important it is a home. It is a place where veterans get together with other veterans and feel a sense of family. Many just come in to laugh, talk, make fun of each other. These same people might not have family around or any family left. This is their family. This is where they come to say 'hi' and smile for a bit. Imagine being one in a wheelchair that fought for our country, our freedom, and you just want to come to a place that you can relate to others." --Commander Connie Harvey