The Frank P. Curry Jr. VFW Post 2718 in Franklin Square is getting a much-needed facelift, thanks to the generosity of the local nonprofit Rescuing Families Inc.
When Gina and Vincent Centauro launched their charity in 2016, they didn’t have many places to host their fundraising events. Post 2718 opened its doors to the couple from the very beginning, and Gina said now they want to pay that generosity forward.
“They were just so incredibly gracious to us,” Gina said. “Over the years, we’ve been doing all of our functions there, and we continue to do them there because we feel that it’s very important to support the VFW — in most areas all across the country, that’s like the heart of the community.”
Post 2718, at 68 Lincoln Road, was founded in 1932. It was named after a Franklin Square resident who served in World War I and died only a few days before the war’s end. Since its inception, the building has become a popular community gathering space for family parties, special ceremonies, Memorial Day parades, donation collections and more.
Most importantly, the VFW Post 2718 provides programs, resources and services for eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces, as well as their families.
The structure’s one drawback is its age. Gina said according to town records, the VFW Post 2718 hasn’t been updated since the 1960s. The place has great potential, Gina continued, but its current appearance is a little off-putting.
In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic hit the Franklin Square VFW “tremendously” hard and its funding fell by the wayside.
“We just saw such a tremendous need,” Gina said. “Because it’s older, it’s becoming harder to maintain and keep clean, which is important.”
Gina said Rescuing Families aims to kick off the improvement project next January. The plan is to start on the exterior first, which entails replacing all the building’s siding, the windows and the entire roof.
The couple also wants to build a new fence around the perimeter of the property, Gina said.
Inside the VFW, Rescuing Families is essentially gutting the space and replacing the flooring and the bathroom, removing the paneling, and installing new electric and plumbing. A new security system and bar will also be installed.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can to completely give this place what it deserves, which is a major, major upgrade,” Gina said. “And we’re trying to get it done for them as quickly as possible.”
Gina said she and Vincent want to make sure the construction won’t interfere with the VFW Post 2718’s revenue stream, which mainly comes from parties, events and even state testing. With this in mind, Rescuing Families will go about the renovations in stages.
Rescuing Families is asking the neighborhood to help out with this project, whether it be contractors or the general public. If interested in volunteering reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I feel proud that there are citizens in the community that step up and want to help veterans in this way,” said Christine Hillaris, the VFW auxiliary president. “We are so grateful for their help — it’s amazing what they’re doing.”