• warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.
  • warning: Parameter 2 to ed_classified_link_alter() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/soloneconomist/www/www/includes/common.inc on line 2968.

New look for Solon Legion

New windows, flooring caps year of big improvements
Solon American Legion Finance Officer Curt Phillips and Matt Austin, store manager at The Home Depot in Cedar Rapids, stand outside the Legion in front of the new windows, donated by the The Home Depot and installed by Mike Croy of Solon. The Home Depot also contributed new flooring for much of the building, and Cedar Rapids store associates helped with the installation. (photos by Doug Lindner)

SOLON– Ask and ye shall receive.
It was time for some updates at the Solon American Legion, and thanks to an outpouring of support from a variety of sources, Stinocher Post 460 underwent a facelift in 2015.
“If you haven’t been in this Legion in the last two or three months, you’re in for a big surprise,” said Legion Finance Officer Curt Phillips. “There’ve been an awful lot of improvements done here within the last year.”
It started in 2014, when the Legion applied for funding to replace the building’s existing awning and its opaque, glass block windows through a facade program administered by the Solon Economic Development Group.
“The front of the Legion needed a facelift really, really bad,” Phillips said. “The lights didn’t work and the bulbs that were in it aren’t even made any more,” he said of the previous lighted sign.
The Legion was awarded up to $26,000 to make the improvements, and was granted an extension on the project to allow time for fundraising because the facade program is operated on a reimbursement basis.
But it wasn’t just the exterior of the building that needed help, according to Phillips.
The floor on the east side of the building, originally Kessler’s Tavern, was in really poor shape.
“We literally had holes in the floor that were covered up with duct tape,” he said. “It just looked terrible. It didn’t represent the Legion well.”
Fundraising was conducted, and while there were hopes to replace all flooring, the Legion was only able to replace the east side.
Brad and Scott Storck, co-owners of Bachmeier Carpet One Floor & Home, provided the flooring and a store employee to help with the labor.
The three joined Phillips, Patrick Dolphin-Leahy and Cliff Bohling to lay the flooring in late summer.
By that time, the new awning and lighting had been installed.
That left the replacement of the thick, block windows at the front of the building.
That’s when the Legion learned of a grant program aimed at veteran services offered through The Home Depot, Phillips said.
Phillips contacted the Matt Austin, store manager at The Home Depot in Cedar Rapids, and the two set up a meeting. After a lengthy application was completed, Austin and a couple of employees came to Solon to eyeball the project.
“They measured up the windows, and Matt looks at me and says ‘Is there anything else you need done around here?’” Phillips recalled.
Phillips told him of the eventual plans to replace the rest of the flooring.
“He told the two guys with him to start measuring the floor,” Phillips said.
The Legion was awarded $10,000 through Team Depot, part of The Home Depot Foundation, for not only the windows, but also the materials and labor to finish the floor.
The Home Depot Foundation’s mission is to improve the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families, while Team Depot is The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer program.
“We get involved with veterans in the community to give back,” Austin said. “Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but it helps improve the quality of life for our veterans.”
The Home Depot works with or employs approximately 35,000 veterans, with 10 to 15 working at the Cedar Rapids store, he said.
“We appreciate all they do, all they have done, and it’s our way of giving back,” he said.
During Austin’s two-and-a-half years as manager, the Cedar Rapids location’s Team Depot volunteers have participated in three projects regionally.
As a company, The Home Depot has invested over $105 million with partners of the Home Depot Foundation to improve the lives of veterans nationwide, he said.
The Cedar Rapids store provided five volunteers (Kevin Schmitt, Adam Sibley, Rick Smith, Amber Froehman and Austin), the Legion provided its roster of volunteers (Denny Hansen, Bohling, Phillips, Lynn Worrell, Scott Storck, Brandon Bohling and Wayne Anderson) and on Tuesday, Nov. 10, they began a long day of work.
“We started laying the floor at 8 a.m.,” Phillips said, “and we finished a little after 11 p.m.”
The Team Depot members couldn’t install the windows, so the Legion hired Mike Croy to do the work, and he began the next day. For each window, Phillips said, it took about a day to remove the glass block, prepare the surface, frame it in and rough install the new window, he said.
“It looks beautiful,” Phillips said, noting that still to come are window treatments featuring the logos of the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary, the Sons of the American Legion, the Legion Riders and the POW/MIA symbol.
In addition, new lights were donated by the local electricians’ union and installed by Bill Meyer and Jason Smith, Phillips said. The Legion added some new kitchen equipment and is in the process of replacing all of its bar stools.
“I think it looks absolutely amazing,” said Austin. “It’s a difference-maker.”