WINTHROP — The mobile lunch wagon that usually is parked across from American Legion Post 40 and next to the town beach was vandalized late Wednesday night, say volunteers who run the small canteen and spend its proceeds on efforts supporting local veterans.

When Tina Bowden, one the facility’s managers, arrived at the wagon Thursday morning, she found that vandals had been there at some point during the previous night and used human feces to write a crude message on the wagon, she said.

The words “Serving all veterans of all wars” are already painted on the front of the lunch wagon, but Bowden said the vandals used feces to write an expletive before “veterans” and the words “you die” after it.

The vandals also left trash lying around the wagon, tampered with a picnic table that stands next to it and unplugged the extension cord that provides the wagon’s electricity, leaving more than $100 worth of frozen and refrigerated food to spoil over the next few hours, Bowden added.

On Friday morning, Bowden and John Brennan, a Gulf War veteran who also oversees the lunch wagon, both still were appalled by the scene they had encountered a day earlier.

“It’s taking from the veterans that angers me,” Bowden said. “They wrote with feces on there. That’s very disrespectful.”

“I would assume punk kids did it, but I don’t know,” Brennan added.

The wagon is owned by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars unit, which is housed across the road at 117 Bowdoin St., in the same building as American Lodge Post 40. Bowden is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, an organization composed of women who support the efforts of local veterans. All profits from the wagon support the group’s year-round initiatives, including the preparation of turkey dinners for veterans around Thanksgiving and the donation of supplies to benefit local kids.

On Thursday, Bowden said she cleaned the site and reported the incident to police, while Brennan arrived later in the day and spent $25 to secure the electrical outlet that sends power to the wagon. He noted that while the wholesale value of food losses was about $150, sales of the prepared food would have generated three or four times that amount in revenue. The nuts and bolts on the picnic table there also seemed loose and out of alignment Thursday, Brennan said, so it was replaced by another belonging to the American Legion post.

But while police did take a report about the recent vandalism on Thursday, Sgt. John Hall said there is little for the department to investigate, because the mess was cleaned up by the time they arrived.

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

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