Finances force VFW move

8 years ago

As its leaders try to continue in a new space, Presque Isle’s Hayward-Frazier Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2599 is facing a number of challenges, like other rural VFW organizations.

The Presque Isle VFW, on State Road, is set to close after its last event on Saturday, Sept. 24, following a combination of problems that led to the organization being unable to meet its mortgage and a foreclosure on the building, said Richard Norton, the post’s commander.

“Norstate Credit Union has been more than fair with us, we just were unable to bring our mortgage current in the time frame that we had,” Norton said.

While Norton said there were “many” issues that led to the financial trouble, a major factor is the changing demographics and aging of the VFW as a community recreation place.
“Our post is funded through the canteen, which is open to the public every Saturday evening with a different local band providing the entertainment,” he said.

“Due to the age of most of our veterans, our volunteers tend to be the same small handful of people week in and week out, that have kept this post running for several years. This precludes the post being open to the public more nights than just Saturday except for special occasions.”

And, he added, “people just don’t have the disposable income, and it has an effect on sales.”

Norton said that the post and its members are thankful for the support they have received and the regular music events they’ve been hosting for more than 20 years. The last night, Sept. 24, will host the Reckless Country Rock Band.

Looking forward, Norton said he and others are aiming to reopen in a new space eventually and continue offering a gathering place for veterans, their families and the community.

“We have had a couple of interested parties inquire about buying the post, we are kind of in limbo at the moment waiting for a official offer,” he said. “If the post sells we are looking at a couple of options for a new location, however for us to have the capital to start over somewhere else will require the sale of the post prior to the foreclosure. If the post does not sell, we will continue as a post and we will look for a donated space to hold our meetings.”