Repairs are underway at Bradley American Legion Post 766.
Located at 835 W. Broadway St. in the village, the post dates back to 1941. After years of wear and tear, it needs major repairs and renovation if it is to serve another generation of veterans.
Tuckpointing and masonry repair by Neal Masonry has started. Once that is completed, the next step will be roof work by Langlois Roofing. Like many of the firms on the project, Neal Masonry is discounting its work and Langlois Roofing will donate the roof. These are critical first steps in what is likely to be a long list of needed repairs.
Volunteer labor has been offered by Laborers Local 751, Sheet Metal Local 751 and the Kankakee Community College Construction Trades.
Plumbing might be the next critical item as the project moves forward. Other work to be done includes the main air conditioning by Precision Piping, painting of the eagle by Reynolds Painting, a new sign by Friendly Signs, an awning by Kankakee Tent and Awning, and window air conditioners by Bade Appliance.
Also planned are new beer coolers, ceiling repairs, electrical work, new doors, stair railings and concrete work.
In-kind donations and cash contributions continue to be needed if the work is to go forward. Piggush Simoneau, Kankakee, is the lead organizer of the repairs. Their estimate of needed repairs, gathered from various firms, has now reached more $117,400. Fundraisers already have gathered about $10,000 in cash and pledges.
Another fundraiser for the project will be Saturday as Kankakee’s Silhouettes will play a benefit “Reason for the Legion” concert at Quality Inn, 800 N. Kinzie, Bradley. Doors open at 7 p.m. with the concert at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 at King Music, WVLI and Quality Inn. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.
There will be a cash bar, split the pot and food available for purchase at Oliver’s at the Quality Inn.
The band’s lead singer, Jerry Downs, has two brothers who are veterans. The community, he said, needs to get behind this drive for the veterans.
Other fundraising activities in progress include:
• The organization is selling $100 raffle tickets. Only 300 tickets will be sold and a single grand prize of $15,000 will be awarded on Memorial Day 2020. Tickets are available at WVLI. Anyone buying a $100 ticket before the concert, also gets a ticket to the concert.
• A letter asking for donations has also been sent to area businesses. So far, Riverside Medical Center, the Village of Bradley, Elite Community Credit Union and Piggush Simoneau have signed on as top sponsors. Donations can be made to Reason for the Legion, c/o Milner Media, P.O. Box 758, Bourbonnais, IL 60914.
The American Legion in Bradley dates back to 1934, when it was founded by World War I chaplains R.F. Chapley and Harris Darche. Walter Heinze was the first post commander. A memorial plaque to Father Darche, one of the most decorated chaplains of that war, sits on a rock outside the post.
When the building was constructed in 1941, it was largely the product of a community effort then. Materials were donated and veterans did much of the work themselves. At its peak in 1987, it had 481 members.
The post now has 119 members, though it is open to all. No veteran, of any conflict, is turned away.