American Legion undergoing improvements thanks to community grant

American Legion undergoing improvements thanks to community grant

Post members and Home Depot employees gathered at American Legion Post 85 in Fairmount last Friday to lay new flooring purchased through a Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grant. From left are, Tyler Burns, Mariusz Rodzik, Debbie Wingert, David Petersen, contractor Ron GrandPre, Post member Rich Allain, Post Commander Robert Lefort, Post Financial Officer Bob Verrier. (Breeze photo by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – The Woonsocket American Legion Post 85 is getting a new floor and other improvements at its Fairmount location thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Home Depot Foundation’s Community Impact Grant program.

Post member Rich Allain applied for the grant through the chain’s Bellingham location in early February after learning about the program. Within a month, he received word the post had been approved and began coordinating with Home Depot representatives to secure a discounted price on the flooring.

“The price of the flooring originally came out to $4,900 and after they knocked a little bit more off, we only ended up paying $3,800, which gave us $1,200 dollars to do a little bit more around here,” Allain said.

In addition to the vinyl plank flooring, which replaced tile flooring throughout the building’s main hall, the post was able to purchase mulch to do landscaping around the building’s main entrance and plans to repave part of the parking lot and repair a garage attached to the pavilion on the property. According to Allain, the building has undergone several improvements in the past few years, with members taking out a loan to repaint the pavilion and repair pipes that broke during winter.

“We ended up having to get some of the much needed repairs done,” he said. “We ended up having to go out and borrow some money from the bank.”

With the new grant, the post plans to continue its improvements while spending less of its own funds and hopes to apply for additional Home Depot grants in the future. According to the company’s website, the program gives preference to veteran’s groups who are volunteer-driven and impact their local communities.

In addition to the funds, the company provided several employees of its Bellingham store to serve as volunteers and assist with installing the flooring. Last Friday, four Home Depot employees worked alongside members of the American Legion to lay out the new floor in the post’s main hall.

“It’s just a good thing all the way around. They helped us veterans in the community,” said Allain.

Because the American Legion rents out both the hall and the pavilion to the public, the space serves as an important source of income for the post. The building is also the meeting place for Woonsocket VFW Post 1159 and hosts bands in the summer, making it a community gathering space for the Fairmount neighborhood.

“So us being able to renovate and make it look good, that’s a big thing,” said Allain.