Cleveland VFW asks for historic military items to restock after fire
Bradley County veterans are working together to bring new life to the Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
Every couple of days, Ernie Griggs will still check the mail at the VFW post.
He says people often go by to remember what was there.
“They'll stop and say it's heartbreaking to see the building like that,” Griggs said. “When are you going to get the building torn down?”
Veterans are waiting on the go-ahead from the insurance company to rebuild the VFW.
They own the land. Insurance will cover the structure, but not the contents.
“All the memorabilia and the equipment, we're trying to raise funds for that,” Griggs explained.
Firefighters were only able to save one plaque from the VFW fire.
Griggs said inspectors listed the fire as undetermined because the structure was not stable enough to go inside.
Griggs said it likely came from a soldier from World War II or Korea.
“It's supposed to be brass, but it's black,” Griggs said. “It brings back some not so good memories.”
Griggs is hoping other soldiers will donate historic items to restock their collection.
He said like many other vets, he has a personal connection to this VFW.
“I was born in September 1945. So, I'm one month older than the post,” Griggs added.
VFW members want to replace this building with another 10,000 square foot building, so the community can continue to use it too.
“On a Memorial Day, Veterans Day and any national holiday,” Griggs said. “If they had something planned at the courthouse, in the event of inclement weather, they would meet down here.”
Veterans will meet this Tuesday at 7:00 pm at the American Legion building to discuss final plans for the future of the VFW building.