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VFW Post 4174 to hold fundraiser to help cover repair costs from Irma
October 11, 2017

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VFW Post 4174 in Lehigh Acres was critically damaged during Hurricane Irma, and officials are asking for the community's support to help rebuild the post.

A fundraiser will be held Oct. 14 from 2 p.m. to midnight at the post, at 25 Homestead Road S. Organizers are hoping to raise as much money as possible to repair what the storm damaged.

"We lost our kitchen ceiling completely," Linda Wilson, a spokeswoman for VFW Post 4174, said. "We lost a bunch of shelving. We lost about $10,000 worth of food. By the electric being off, we lost all our meat and condiments."

"We lost our office floor," she added. "In the men's room, we lost part of our wall."

Officials did not have an estimate yet on the repair costs as of press time.

"We're waiting for the insurance company to give us an estimate," Wilson said. "Our goal is (to raise) $20,000."

After Irma passed through, the members of the post were devastated at the sight of their building.

"When we came back, they opened the doors and it was between 4 (inches) to 6 inches of water on the floor," Wilson said. "When the water kicked back on, one of the urinals stuck open and ran for three days - just pouring water out in here. This whole building was covered in water."

The members used shop vacuums and brooms to remove the water.

"It was bad. It was very bad," she said. "This is a great post - very friendly post, very family-oriented post. We are all shocked."

As of today, the post is open and running. According to Wilson, members have pitched in and fixed urgent damages that could be handled. The post reopened the kitchen Oct. 4 to the community.

"There is still a lot of damage, but we don't know exactly what it's going to be yet because we don't know how much mold is in the walls that we are going to have to cut out," she said.

The repair costs could be detrimental to the organization.

"We're a poor post to start with. We don't have a lot of members," Wilson said. "It was an expense we did not need."

Prior to the storm hitting, the members secured the building as much as they could.

"We had shutters and wood. We did everything we could do," Wilson said. "We turned the electric off. Nobody thought about the water because the electric was off. We didn't know."

Officials were not expecting the full impact of Irma.

"It was not even supposed to hit Lehigh," Wilson said.

The fundraiser will feature music from local deejays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 4:30 to 7 p.m. Karaoke will be held at 7 p.m. There will be door prizes and raffles, with an ACER computer as one prize.

Tickets are $10 and include a dinner of pulled pork, chicken quarters, corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs and deserts.

For more information, contact VFW Post 4174 at 239-369-5100.

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