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Tahlequah VFW members are afraid it may have to close its doors due to extensive damage to building

Posted at 3:05 PM, Mar 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-15 20:27:47-04

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. - The VFW's members are worried the only support system some of its members have may have to shut down because building repairs are too expensive. 

“Before I came here I wouldn’t even talk to anybody about the military, and now I have other people I can talk to," said the Tahlequah VFW's Junior Vice Commander Ken Rystedt, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

Wednesday, Rystedt and other veterans enjoyed the doughnuts and coffee they do a few Wednesdays out of the month. Checking in with one another and planning. 

They sat under a roof with stains from holding water, buckets and mops scattered around for when it rains. 

VFW Quartermaster Bill Huber showed 2 Works for You where the damage is the worst. In a back room that's completely destroyed after the roof collapsed a few weeks back. 

“We’ll probably get the building condemned and lose the building. I’d have to find us another place to meet," he said. 

Predicting what could happen if they don't raise enough money for not only those repairs, but the other leaks and their need to make the building handicap-accessible. 

He said they only bring in enough money to pay the bills, and often times that will go to veterans who walk in needing food, or any kind of help. 

“We’re brothers. Ever since we’ve been in the service we veterans like to stick together," he said. 

Rystedt says if the building shuts down he doesn't think they'll ever get together or be able to help others, including themselves.

“I would just go back to not associating with anybody. Just go up in the country where I live and let it go without," he said. 

So far the group has been able to raise about $3,000, but need a lot more to make the building safe again. 

Their biggest concern that the roof will collapse while people are inside. 

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