The Army, Navy, Air Force Veterans Unit 379, of Maple Ridge, unveiled their newly renovated clubhouse on Friday, Aug. 19.
Almost everything was torn out and replaced in the building that sits along North Road by 223 Street.
The main room has brand new carpeting and laminate flooring, the popcorn ceiling was torn out and asbestos removed.
The whole bar was rebuilt down to the installation of a new beer cooler.
Each bathroom has new stalls and urinals in the men’s room. And now there is a wheelchair accessible stall in the women’s bathroom, that will be shared between the sexes – a first for the membership.
“Just before COVID we had over 200, now we are up to 160,” said Bob Kruk, chapter president, of current membership numbers.
There is all new drywall in the main room and a new dartboard area. All new walls were installed in the main cooler room as well.
The renovations, explained Kruk, were made possible by a donation from Unit 314, a unit that is no longer in existence.
About 20 members filled the hall for the open house, in addition to special guests: Randy Williams, president of the B.C. Command, who came from Kamloops for the special occasion; past president of the B.C. Command Mike MacDonald; vice president of the B.C. Command Alfred Woo; City of Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden, and councillor Judy Dueck; and local MLA’s Lisa Beare and Bob D’Eith.
Mayor Morden thanked the organization for their selfless contributions to the community.
“Thank you for the work that you do and what you do for others around this community that’s probably the most important,” he said.
Williams told the crowd that he used to live in Maple Ridge and the last time he visited the branch was pre-COVID. He congratulated Kruk for all the hard work.
“The place looks awesome,” he said shaking Kruk’s hand.
Kruk said a few words himself, thanking the members of the chapter, saying they are the backbone of the unit.
“We are a non-profit, and we donate all the money that we make back to the community,” he said, including regular donations to the food bank, breakfast for children, the One Way Club Society, and dogs for veterans. Plus, he said, they adopt families at Christmas time so they can have presents food and a tree and all the other goodies.
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