Building manager David Langway said the center is “very appreciative” of the Home Depot Foundation’s work. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — Over a dozen volunteers came together this month to install a new floor in the Windham Veterans Center.

Building manager David Langway said that the wood grain vinyl floor is part of an effort “to upgrade the facility in general. We’re upgrading everything into this century. The building is 25 years old.”

The free upgrade came about thanks to the Home Depot Foundation, a national charity that works to improve the lives and homes of veterans. It was the first time the foundation has done work on the Veterans Center.

The new woodgrain vinyl floor is part of an ongoing upgrade project at the Veterans Center. Jane Vaughan / Lakes Region Weekly

Bruce Calmes, store manager of the Home Depot in North Windham, said that when veterans or veterans organizations approach a Home Depot location with a veteran in need or a facility that needs to be improved, the foundation does a site visit and prepares an estimate on the materials that will be required to complete the project. The organization then applies to the foundation for grant funding, which is given through gift cards, to pay for materials.

I work with stores producing the volunteer base, who are associates who volunteer their time. Then we schedule the date and schedule the volunteers to show up,” Calmes said. 

He said that since 2011, the foundation has been mostly veteran focused. It has donated $135 million since 2011 and pledged to donate another $500 million by 2025.

“We’re very appreciative of the Home Depot Foundation for supporting not only the Windham Veterans Center but also all veterans across the country,” Langway said. “It’s nice to see corporations like that that do want to step up and help veterans.” 

The Veterans Center is also working now to raise funds to put a new roof on the building, Langway said. He hopes it will be completed “before winter really hits.”

The Home Depot Foundation may provide materials for that project as well.

The center has raised over $9,000 of the $17,000 needed to complete the project, which will be done by a roofing company because volunteers aren’t allowed to leave the ground due to liability issues.

Volunteers hard at work Nov. 1. Photo courtesy of Bruce Calmes

“There are some things that we don’t do as volunteer bases,” Calmes said.

The Veterans Center, located at 35 Veterans Memorial Way, is home to the American Legion Post 148, Ladies Auxiliary Post 148, VFW Post 10643 and Boy Scouts Troop 805 and serves the Lions Club and Sebago Rotary. The space is also used for various community events and functions.

 Building repairs are especially important given how active these groups are. Langway said the VFW and American Legion alone have 350 members between them. 

Although attracting younger veterans remains a challenge, he said that “membership has been increasing. That’s something we’re very proud of.”

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