SOUTH PARIS — Every homeowner knows a home needs continual maintenance to keep it safe and livable. The same applies to any building, whether it is a business, storage shed, or home for a non-profit organization. The Floyd A Harlow Jr. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9787 located at 58 E Main St in South Paris, Maine knows that very well.

The Post home was originally a 1900s schoolhouse, later a moccasin factory, and then the Odd Fellows Hall. VFW Post 9787 acquired the hall from the Odd Fellows roughly 30 years ago and has worked to keep it active ever since. Since 2012, the post has been repainted, and new doors installed, the porch and handicapped-accessible ramp were renovated, the pantry floor was replaced, storage shelves in the basement rebuilt. A new furnace installed recently has significantly reduced costs, and drainage has been installed under the basement floor to help keep the building dry during the springtime. The monthly suppers, which help pay the day-to-day expenses, have recently restarted again.

Five years ago, plans were drawn up to replace and upgrade the fire escape (including extending a roof to protect it) and to install a roof over the handicapped-accessible ramp in the front. Snow and ice sliding off the roof from all sides threatens anyone close to the building. Rain and snow have deteriorated the wooden fire escape over the past 25 years, and it must be replaced. In 2020, COVID-19 shut down significantly restricted fundraising activities. 2021 is here and we must get started, but material costs have jumped 40-50% higher than the cost estimates from 2019.

The organization has applied for grants over the years, and recently received a $2,000 grant from W.J. Wheeler Insurance Agency of South Paris, and a $2,500 grant from the VFW Foundation. Another $8,000 is needed just to replace the fire escape, but that is more than what building funds we have saved up. The Veterans are asking the community to help fund one or both of these projects.

To donate, a check can be mailed to VFW Post 9787, PO Box 444, South Paris, ME 04281, or using the Zelle banking app, money can be sent directly to the Post’s Norway Saving Bank account by sending it to VFW_9787

For more information, email [email protected].