Additional renovations are sought for a 100-year-old house in Mount Airy where the Disabled America Veterans organization will again set up shop after its office there was closed due to illness.
The former C.W. Taylor home that occupies a stately location at Veterans Memorial Park on West Lebanon Street opened as a DAV claims-processing center in August 2009. An initial restoration project put at $30,000 allowed the long-vacant property to get a new lease on life, while also being used for a worthwhile connection: linking disabled ex-service personnel or widows to needed services.
However, both the house and DAV have been facing new challenges recently, including the departure of Dave Irby, longtime chapter adjutant and service officer for the Disabled American Veterans in Mount Airy.
“He’s been gone almost a year now due to illness,” explained Rawley King, a Korean War-era vet who has been associated with Veterans Memorial Park in various leadership and other capacities for 58 years.
It soon will be opening with new DAV personnel, King said. “They’ve got two men trained now,” he added. “They’re supposed to start…in the near future.”
In Irby’s absence, claims he initiated had to be finalized at the Disabled American Veterans branch in the federal building in Winston-Salem.
Meanwhile, the house itself also is in need of further repairs in addition to work undertaken several years ago. One major need involves a wraparound porch at the brick structure which is sagging dangerously in spots. The porch adjoins a handicapped ramp leading to the house and could be especially treacherous for someone in a wheelchair.
In addition, work is eyed for the upstairs portion of the 11-room house, with the earlier project mainly targeting its ground floor.
The paved driveway at the house also has fallen into disrepair, including potholes.
Veterans organizations that oversee the park have owned the house for 70 to 75 years and see it as a vital resource worth maintaining. “We’d love to have it available to veterans on down the road,” King said of the park leadership.
It also can fill an immediate role by providing services to disabled veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.
Public’s Help Sought
Just as the community played a big role in the original renovation effort, it again is being asked to aid with the repairs at hand, estimated at $5,000 to $6,000.
In recent years, the public gave $250 each for granite steps now adorning the front of the structure in exchange for having them named in memory or honor of veterans chosen by the donors. The steps replaced an unsightly metal stairway.
Stone masons donated their labor to lay the steps.
King pointed out that $10,000 for a new heating and air-conditioning system at the house was supplied from park sources. This included a portion of proceeds from bingo games held regularly at the park, along with contributions from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion groups headquartered there and the facility’s governing board.
Donations for the upcoming project can be sent to Disabled American Veterans, 767 W. Lebanon St., Mount Airy, NC 27030. Checks may be designated for the DAV Building Fund. Contributions are tax-deductible, King said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.