For the past month, VFW Post 9128 in Bettendorf has been closed due to a damaged roof. The Post plans to reopen on Friday, but will need the community's help to keep its doors open for good.
On October 30, 2013, rains caused the Post's ceiling to collapse. Memorial ceiling tiles were ruined, and the carpet, walls, and roof suffered heavy water damage.
"It was a nightmare, a nightmare. I just froze, I didn't know what to do," said Barbara Voigt, a member of the Post's Ladies Auxiliary.
Quartermaster Chris Popp said insurance is unlikely to cover the damage.
"It's not going to be covered, it doesn't look like. So, we had to use an emergency fund that we had set up to pay for the quick patch on the roof and the cleanup," said Popp.
Post 9128 is now scraping by financially, after paying more than $2,000 for the temporary roof repairs that will only last until Spring. Popp says the hardest part, though, is not being able to answer calls for help.
"You know, 'Can you provide us some money for this homeless veteran or his family?' And I have to say, 'I'm sorry, I just don't have the cash.' It hits you right in the heart, unfortunately... we need to be open," said Popp.
Popp is a retired Marine, and knows that the local VFW Post is much more than a bar.
"It means a lot to me. This is my home," said Popp.
It's why volunteers like Voigt can't stop cleaning the building, and the pair are determined to reopen the Post on Friday, December 6.
"It's been a slow, long process. But we're going to get it done," said Voigt.
Post 9128's Grand Reopening is planned for Friday at 2 p.m. The Ladies Auxiliary will have a dinner at the Post from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and there will also be karaoke and drink specials. Money goes back into local programs for veterans.
Donations are still needed to help with those programs and further restoration of the building. They can be sent to VFW Post 9128 at 2814 State Street, Bettendorf, Iowa.