November 27, 2022

American Legion completes new roof, still seeking funds for parking lot

Post commander thanks ARPA committee for $15K donation

From left: Mady McKim and Jerry Nelson hold the fundraiser thermometer at the American Legion Post 111 in Newton. McKim, the historian and social media manager, said a number of fundraisers will be held in the coming months to repair the post’s roof and parking lot. Nelson, the post commander, said the goal is to raise $60,000.

Jerry Nelson, post commander of American Legion Post 111 in Newton, formally thanked the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) committee on Aug. 23 for the $15,000 donation to the veterans facility’s structural improvements, and he then gave an update on the project to the board of supervisors.

“That meant a helluva lot to us,” Nelson said. “We had a lot things going on. We managed to get through COVID and get all these things going, we stayed alive. We started looking around the facility (and saw it was) in need of a lot of repairs. The parking lot and roof was in rough shape. We started fundraising this winter.”

Newton News previously reported on the fundraising efforts and the “worn out” building. Although the roof was not leaking yet, legion members did not want to see it get to that point. The last time the asphalt parking lot was treated was about 20 or 25 years ago, and it is now crumbling.

To pay for the infrastructure repairs, the post organized numerous fundraisers and solicited donations throughout the spring and summer. The ARPA committee requested the county allocate a small amount of its $7.2 million in federal stimulus money to the American Legion. The board voted in favor of doing so.

Nelson said right now the American Legion has raised a little more than $50,000. Altogether, the organization estimates it needs a total of $70,000 to $75,000.

However, the American Legion has not sat on its funds. While legion members were still fundraising, they were able to pay for the new roof. Nelson said the roof was completed in July. He anticipates the parking lot will begin its concrete work in September. It should be completed before the first snowfall.

“It’s tremendous to us,” Nelson said to the board of supervisors. “This donation from the ARPA committee was the trigger point for us to get started on the concrete. We didn’t want to jump in it before we had the funds to get it done. With that, that triggered us to get that thing started.”

American Legion Post 111 also received a grant from the Jasper Community Foundation, as well as generous donations from locals in the community.

“We’re here to support the community and we really appreciate every nickel we’ve got,” Nelson said. “Everything will but put towards the building as we’ve identified it. Again, thank you.”

Jasper County Supervisor Doug Cupples said, “We really appreciate all you do for our vets.”

“Always here to help,” Nelson said.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.