By Sean Barron
By Wednesday afternoon, the external portion of a one-story building for veterans already had taken shape.
A few hours earlier, however, the structure was nothing more than a large concrete slab and foundation.
“They were more than happy to come out and donate their time today,” said Mike Rapovy, referring to his 13 employees who are helping to build a new American Legion Post 472 building at 323 E. Indianola Ave. on the South Side.
Rapovy, a representative with the Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters’ Boardman office, said his employees were handling the drywall, sheathing with plywood, framing and other aspects of the work, set to wrap up in early December.
The new 2,700-square-foot building will be accessible to people with disabilities. It is replacing the original two-story Post 472 house, which was built on the same site more than 100 years ago and was razed Oct. 2.
Rapovy said he and his team are grateful for veterans’ service to their country and added that he’s more than happy to give back to them.
The new building’s features will include a bedroom to provide short-term housing for homeless veterans, a large meeting room, a recreation area, a kitchen and doors that open automatically, noted Sam Pitzulo, owner of Canfield-based Sam Pitzulo Homes. Behind the building will be boccie courts, he said.
The building should be ready to be painted by mid-November, he said, adding that he’s also thankful for the sacrifices many veterans have made.
“They deserve it. What we’re doing is nothing compared with what they did,” said Pitzulo, whose father and six uncles served in World War II.
Also spearheading the American Legion effort is Core 6+, a group of eight people, most of whom are business owners, dedicated to community-service projects that bring the community together and help those in need. Pitzulo is a Core 6+ member.
Core 6+ members also helped build a wheelchair-accessible home for Joe Kaluza, the former KFC manager who was shot in 2008 and paralyzed.
Also lending a hand Wednesday was Marcus Sharp, owner of Marcus Sharp Construction Inc. of Uniontown, Ohio, and a longtime friend and supporter of Core 6+.
Sharp and his four builders oversaw mainly the framing and roof work and assisted with certain organization efforts, he noted.
“I’m proud to work side by side with these guys,” said Donny Murphy, general manager of Donnell Ford of Boardman and a Core 6+ member.
Murphy said donations of food, money and volunteers are needed.
To make a monetary donation, visit www.the-core-six.com or call Murphy at 330-717-3500. Checks should be made payable to St. Michael Parish, 300 N. Broad St., Canfield, OH 44406 and include “American Legion Post 472” on the memo line.
To donate food or to volunteer, call Andrea Murphy, project coordinator, at 330-559-3215.