VFW members anxious to move into new home

Larry Larson, commander of Marshalltown’s Harry Harter VFW Post 839, is busy man.

After graciously accepting a donation of $10,000 from John Hughes and Liz Zuercher, of Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, Wednesday morning, Larson said he would be trading in his cap, sport coat, dress shirt and tie for work clothes.

Larson, along with other post volunteers, has been working along side contractors to get the post’s new home at 107 E. Meadow Lane ready.

Two handicapped accessible bathrooms, a large kitchen, offices and other building-related amenities are being constructed in the property formerly occupied by Stuckey’s Vacuum.

Larson and team like working with their hands, but are equally motivated to contribute sweat equity to keep remodeling costs as low as possible.

Because the building will be used for public functions such as meetings and wedding receptions, certain city building and fire codes must be strictly followed.

That has increased the project remodeling expense – initially estimated at approximately $80,000.

The remodeling expense, in tandem with the building purchase price of $180,000, severely strained the organization’s resources.

The purchase price used much, but not all of the post’s savings, according to Doug Dirks, post quartermaster.

The nonprofit organization members did not want to incur debt on the project.

Consequently, they have been soliciting residents and businesses in the Marshalltown area to make up the difference.

Larson and Laurel Phipps, past state commander, among others, have personally called on many and have been pleased with the results.

“We’ve received a number of cash donations or material sold to us at wholesale,” Larson said. “The response has been humbling and heart-warming, especially like the one we received today from MMSC. But, we are anxious to get the remodeling finished so we can move in.”

The post’s history and extensive community service to adults and youth are significant.

Its honor guard, and those from the American Legion, regularly conduct military funeral services.

The first Marshalltown VFW post was chartered Sept. 20, 1921, by a group of veterans at the Iowa Soldiers Home (now Iowa Veterans Home) and named their chapter in honor of Harter, believed to be the second man to die in service to his country in World War I.

This group met at the ISH.

Due to deaths in the ranks, it became inactive, and the charter lapsed.

The post was revived and chartered on Jan. 18, 1930, and retained its original name.

Over the years, the post has called 20 W. State St., 209 N. 13th St. and 108 N. Center St. home.

A severe winter storm nearly three years ago caused extensive structural damage to 108 N. Center, making it unusable and required the post to move.

Donations may be mailed to VFW Post No. 839, Post Office Box 1204, Marshalltown, 50158, or contact Larson, 641-752-3880.

Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com