NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Veterans of Foreign Wars Crusader Post 1946 plans to sell its headquarters at 239 Rubber Ave.
In an email sent to members Sunday evening, Post Adjutant Mike DeVivo states the organization held a special meeting earlier in the day and voted to sell the building because the post no longer had money to keep it. Post members, however, plan to maintain the post’s charter, which was established in 1930, to continue operating as a VFW post.
“That is the most important thing for us at this point,” said Stanley Borusiewicz, the post’s quartermaster. “We have spent a lot of our time and money working on a building, which is just a symbol, and we think it would be better served on our veterans and their families.”
The organization started talking about selling the property in 2006. At the time, members told the Republican-American they barely had enough money to pay utility and insurance bills.
The post hall, which generated income from rentals, had suffered severe water damage and needed close to $100,000 worth of repairs, officials said at the time.
In 2009, with Borusiewicz as commander, the post raised several thousand dollars in donations and in-kind contributions to renovate the exterior of the building. The post started to see a spike in membership to about 375.
However, only a small fraction of those people remained active over the years and it took a toll on the post financially.
The post took a vote on selling the building last year, and the membership decided to give it one last chance. Post members held pancake breakfasts and fundraisers, but the money they needed didn’t come through.
The Rubber Avenue property has been the post’s headquarters for more than 80 years. It is made up of three sections: a two-story brick building that used to be part of Uniroyal Chemical Co., a main building with the community room and canteen, and the banquet hall.
Borusiewicz said the post offers help to veterans with problems they had from their. He also said it helps vets with their schooling and offers them people to talk to if they have a need.
The post has also been involved in poppy sale drives around Memorial Day, donating to boy and girl scout groups, collecting teddy bears for state police to hand out during Christmas time, volunteer work at the West Haven VA Hospital and other community programs.
That is the type of work Borusiewicz wants the post to continue.
“We can close the bar, but our charter is what matters most,” he said.