BEAUMONT, Texas — Much-needed renovations have begun on a building that many Southeast Texas veterans describe as a second home.
In 2023, the American Legion Post 33 in Beaumont, located at 1320 Pennsylvania Avenue, celebrates its 75th year. About 90 veterans belong to the post.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from a September 23, 2022 newscast.)
During the Post's early years, it was known as a place for Jefferson County judges and lawyers to meet and eat before court.
More recently, the building became a popular place in Beaumont for concerts, wedding receptions, parties and civic events.
In September 2022, post members started a campaign to renovate the hall with a fundraising effort they called "Strive For 75.” The goal was to raise enough money for a new roof for the building and to also install a new air conditioning system.
Monument Roofing Systems held a BBQ fundraiser that helped raise $13,000 towards repairs, but it was not enough to cover the costs of replacing the Post's roof.
Monument Roofing Systems continued their efforts to raise money by reaching out to roofing suppliers in February 2023 to see if they could help reduce the price on repairs.
Renovations begin on American Legion Post 33 in Beaumont thanks to community contributions
Elite Roofing Supply responded by offering to cover the cost of supplies by 100%.
Additional discounts from local equipment rental companies have also contributed to helping veterans get their new roof.
Another fundraising event at the Post is being held April 15, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There will be 38 vendors at the "Vendor Market Thank You Celebration".
Monument Roofing Systems will also be selling BBQ plates including sausage link, tortilla, chips and a drink for $5.
All proceeds from this event will help fund a new HVAC unit for the Post.
The American Legion Hall does not receive regular money from the federal government. Grant processes have been started by the Post in Beaumont, but they can take years to complete, with no guarantee for funds.
Seth Wells is the American Legion Post 33 commander.
Wells believes the Post provides a space for veterans to gather, get help and stay involved in the community.
"We're just a group of veterans here that are involved, and we love our community, and we want to see it get better, and we want veterans to be a part of that," Wells previously told 12News.
Bruce Hamilton is a Vietnam veteran and a member of post 33. He feels the post went through a period of disrepair and believes it’s a crucial time to renovate the facility in order to keep it functional for veterans.
Hamilton believes it has had a positive impact on him and other veterans.
"It's a great place to meet with other veterans, other people with like mind,” Hamilton previously told 12News. “We have a motto that, 'We're veterans helping veterans.'"
Wells hope is to improve the meeting space making all groups feel welcome.
Wells said the legion is trying to grow their membership at the post. He believes the renovations will help bring more veterans to the hall.
"We have a pretty significant roof leak in our banquet hall, and we're also lacking in A/C, so those are two of our big things that we're trying to rectify for the banquet hall side," Wells said.
The organization's goal is to make sure their, "Veteran brothers and sisters are taken care of and not forgotten," according to their Facebook page. They also strive to serve the community.
Due to several circumstances, including Harvey and Imelda, Post 33 began to lose memberships. Around 2019, it was nearly dormant.
Because of this, the Post temporarily lost their community and veteran outreach they previously provided.
Over the last three years, determined veterans helped increase memberships and restore outreach services, despite issues with the building.
Post 33 now houses multiple veteran-based organizations, a girl scout troop, the Pipkin Park Honor Guard and serves as a meeting place for a local neighborhood association.