Middletown Legion repairs nearly done

By Geoff Samuels
Walk into the American Legion Post 216 Hall in Margaretville right now and what you’ll see are concrete walls and bare studs. Don’t let that fool you. Don Kearney, the Legion’s finance director, says he hopes to start the Legion’s popular fund-raising Bingo game night back up at the hall sometime this May. He certainly has his work cut out.

Like many other buildings on Main Street in the village, the first floor of the Legion Hall had to be completely gutted after Hurricane Irene and the ensuing flood of 2011. Contractor Brad Finch, who Kearney says has been “bending over backwards” to help them restore the building, said a good portion of the center of the building sunk down from the rushing floodwaters. That was the first thing to be repaired, and now the next issue is the spray-foam insulation that needs to go in before new sheetrock can go up.

Several other contractors are also volunteering some of their time to help with the restoration.
Kearney said that last year the Legion received an initial grant of $10,000 from the Empire State Development Corporation, and now he’s “waiting on tenterhooks” for the second round of an additional $10,000, pending the state’s review of a detailed report of the work that’s been done so far. The main problem he’s encountered is that funding for not-for-profit organizations, such as the Legion, is hard come by.

Funding assistance
Kearney says other funding sources include $15,000 from Legion members and the general public, $1,500 from the Interfaith Council, $5,000 from the American Legion National Emergency Fund, $5,000 from the Home Depot Foundation, and $1,000 from the Phoenicia American Legion.

According to a flyer and a statement released by the Legion, their members will also be selling American, military and POW MIA flags to help supplement the cost of new furniture for the hall. The flags are purchased from the American Legion, and, according to Kearney’s wife, Peggy, are resold at a “very reasonable rate”; not only to help pay for the furniture, but also to encourage communities to present a patriotic display.

Anyone wishing to purchase a flag can call Kearney at 254-5311.