VFW gets makeover with aid of Home Depot workers, community
(Left to right) Joe Durr, Councilwoman Julia Fisher-Perrier, Bryce Steinlage, Ryan Fleischer, Bobby Lovergne, Parker Lombard, Thomas Hines, pastor of Hope Church, and Bobby Donaldson, St. Charles Parish chief operating officer.
The week-long project was initiated by a $10,000 grant from Home Depot and resulted in a face lift for the hall, including rehabbing bathrooms, kitchens and the bar area.
“We put a lot of work and effort into this and it really helps the parish,” Joe Durr, VFW junior vice-commander, said.
The renovations mark the second time Home Depot has partnered with VFW Post 3750. Three years ago the hardware giant provided them $1,500 worth of paint.
Bobby Lovergne, VFW commander, said the updates were sorely needed.
“The hall was built in 1970 and nothing has even been done since,” he said. “They redid both restrooms, they upgraded the kitchen area and they bought new appliances for both of the kitchens – the front and the back kitchen. They redid the bar area and updated it.”
The renovations were not just directed at upgrading existing amenities, but also aimed at bringing the facility into compliance with federal law concerning handicapped accessibility.
“I think it is a great program and they are here to help try to make things better. It’s bringing us up to standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act and everything else,” Lovergne said. “It’s not only just for the veterans, but for the public who uses the hall too.”
In addition to serving as the headquarters for the VFW, the hall doubles as a venue for events going on in the St. Charles Parish community.
Lovergne said the renovations will be felt throughout the parish.
“It is good for the whole community. We are the only VFW in the parish, so in benefits any veteran who comes to the hall and uses it,” he said. “Currently, we’ve got Hope Church who hold services here every week. The schools have graduation parties and other events. People throughout the parish use the hall because it gives them a better place to go to.”
Following the renovations, Lovergne said VFW members should be happy with the update and thankful for those who made it possible.
“They can feel proud of the place that they call the post’s home and know people are willing to help,” he said.
Assisting with the renovations were local Home Depot employees Bryce Steinlage, the pro desk supervisor at the Kenner Location, Parker Lombard, the LaPlace store manager, and Ryan Fleischer, a department supervisor at the Kenner location.
In particular, Lovergne said Fleischer has been a great help throughout the process.
“Ryan, who is a team captain, has headed this whole thing up. I have been working with him for about four or five months to get this done. He has put a lot of time in it, between coming out here and looking at the hall, putting the price list and everything together and submitting all of the paperwork. He’s got a lot of time invested in this,” he said. “I would just like to thank the Home Depot team helping us and doing this.”
The partnership is part of a nationwide $60 million effort by Home Depot to give back to local communities.
Steinlage, Lombard and Fleischer, along with other Home Depot employees, have been busy in the past year helping rehab other VFW halls. They also helped makeover a veteran’s home in Algiers and assisted homeowners in LaPlace in rebuilding following massive flooding from Hurricane Isaac in 2012.
In addition, the grant program dedicates funds to assist in the construction of new playgrounds in needy areas.
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