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DAV thankful for new garage at VFW in Massena

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MASSENA — For years, veterans hoping to catch a ride to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Syracuse would meet at 4:30 a.m. outside Town Hall for the long ride to Syracuse, having to arrive even earlier during the winter to scrape ice and snow off the vehicles belonging to Disabled American Veterans Post 171.

While Massena didn’t magically get any closer to Syracuse, area veterans can now sleep an extra hour during those winter months, as they’ll no longer have to clean ice and snow off the vans thanks to a new garage built at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1143.

“Last year with all those ice storms, we had veterans out there at 3 a.m. trying to chip away at the ice,” DAV Commander Edward Gebault said.

“We were having trouble keeping members. It was tough. They were out there when it was 20 below trying to get those vans going,” he said.

While the garage cost nearly $30,000 to build, Mr. Gebault said, the DAV is thankful to the VFW for giving it a place to build it.

“We decided to build a garage and were looking for property,” he said. “Then I came up with the idea of putting it here.”

Mr. Gebault said that the DAV holds its meetings at the VFW, which was kind enough to grant the group a lifetime easement on the property.

VFW Commander Verne K. Drew Jr. said that will ensure the DAV always has a home for its vehicles.

“It feels good to be able to help other veterans,” he said, adding that several VFW members use the DAV vans to attend medical appointments in Syracuse.

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