The last 15 months haven’t been easy for members of the Howard Lathrop Post 2307 VFW in Lynbrook and the large number of community members who regularly use the building.
A fire spread through the post on Dec. 24, 2011 that destroyed nearly all of its patches, photos and plaques. Work got underway to rebuild the post shortly after the fire but there were a few setbacks during the construction process, including Hurricane Sandy. Now, VFW officials are hopeful to reopen the building in late April with a big community party.
“We’re very happy with all the work that the contractors have done in here,” said Ex-Commander Pat Cardone. “We’re happy with the end result, which is a brand new building that’s energy-efficient, insulated, safe and attractive for residents to rent.”
Cardone, who was commander at the time of the fire, said he and other members have been at the post and on the phone with contractors just about every day to make sure everything is going as planned.
The construction phase is currently in the home stretch as contractors are putting the finishing touches on the post’s new sprinkler system. Once it’s installed, the fire marshal will inspect the building, which could be as early as next week, Cardone said. If the post passes the fire marshal’s inspection, VFW officials will be given a Certificate of Occupancy, which means the building can reopen.
“I think the progress that has been made is excellent and it’s a testament to the veteran community in Lynbrook,” said Kevin Canty, the post’s commander. Canty was elected as the VFW’s leader five months after the fire which made his job more difficult because he didn’t see the other members as often as he would have under normal circumstances.
Cardone and Canty said that when plans for the post were being discussed, they kept younger veterans in mind. “The vision was to build a hall not for today, not for tomorrow but for veterans that are going to come settle in Lynbrook 15 to 20 years from now,” Canty said. The building now features several large flat screen televisions and a new bar for members. It’s also more energy efficient.