(Memphis) A group of Memphis war veterans needs your help.
They’re hoping to rebuild their VFW Post on Elvis Presley Boulevard but they don’t have the money to make it happen.
Their ultimate goal for the building is to make Whitehaven a safer place to live.
The men know what it’s like to be in a war zone.
“I almost lost my left eye,” said Post Commander and Veteran Kelly McDuffie who fought in Vietnam and was injured by shrapnel.
They also know what it’s like to get a second chance, “They are giving us more than just a building, they are giving us life skills,” said Construction Student Anthony Eanes who goes to the Tennessee Technology Center.
Life skills and mentoring is what the combat veterans at VFW Post 11333 are hoping to provide.
“If we get this building done up the way it should be, it will be a community showplace and this will be a safe haven for children,” said McDuffie
McDuffie says they’re trying to fix up this old dilapidated building, donated by the Shelby County Commission, and make it their permanent meeting place and where veterans can mentor neighborhood children.
“I’m a retired teacher. We’ve got some mentoring programs for the kids. But we are going to specialize in Clementine Apartments because they are close-by and they are a trouble spot for the city,” said McDuffie. “We believe that with all of us being combat veterans, we can work in there and not be afraid.”
They need the post to make it happen and it needs a lot of work.
“This is roughly a million dollar project, easily,” said Eanes.
Fortunately, a group of construction students from the Tennessee Technology Center are doing the work for free.
The crew just needs supplies to get the job done.
“I am hoping to bring their vision to fruition,” said Eanes, who is leading the crew.
The building needs a roof, Air conditioning, and everything in between.
Eanes says the whole project will take a year and a half but he believes it’s an important one, “To me this is going to be something very positive.”
He’s going back to school at age 46.
“I had a street mentality. I had to come off the streets,” he said.
Eanes also knows what’s like to get a second chance.
If you want to help the veterans get a roof on their place in order to help the children of Whitehaven, call Post Commander Kelly McDuffie at 901-756-7382.