Dean Martin made a point to cut new keys before the event.
When the semi-grand opening of the Veteran’s Lodge was held on March 24, 2016, Martin went around and gave all the veterans a key of their own. “Here’s the key to the building,” he said to them. “This is our building.”
Martin is the On-site Housing Construction Coordinator for the LMG, and has also served in the American Military. “They were happy,” he said later. “Like ecstatic, relieved.”
Over the years, veterans in the community have had to find other places to meet. The locations weren’t always ideal – especially for some of the older veterans. Now, they no longer have to wait for someone to unlock the doors, so they can sit down together. They can meet whenever they want, even just to hang out and share stories.
The building itself is finished, so now it’s on to the next step – making the place feel like home.
People are already planning the mementos they want to bring in. Some have likely been imagining the inside for years.
In 2013, the plan was made to create a space for the community’s veterans.
Through donations, volunteer time – namely Adrian Barnaby and Dale Vicaire – and labour from the LMG during down time, the Veteran’s Lodge was built with barely any money.
It may have taken a little longer to build than planned, but now it truly belongs to the community.
“There’s no mortgage on it,” Martin said. “It’s done, it’s paid for, it’s ours.”