Kearns: Fundraiser for veteran post upgrades a "confidence builder" so far

Jul 9, 2018

A project launched on Flag Day to raise funds for various capital projects has resulted in the sale of more than 5,000 cards. While it's only a fraction of the revenue needed to address the needs of participating halls, the Erie County Clerk calls the project a "confidence builder" three weeks after its start.

County Clerk Michael Kearns sponsored the production of postcards bearing a US flag and message, to be sold at Erie County Auto Bureaus for one dollar per piece. Similar to other fundraisers, those buying the card may write their names on the cards, which are then displayed in the office where it was purchased. Local veterans, according to Kearns, are volunteering their time to run sales at each bureau.

Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns holding one of the cards that went on sale beginning June 14 to raise money for repairs at 20 local veteran posts and halls.
Credit WBFO file photo/Michael Mroziak

Kearns told WBFO that as of the Independence Day holiday, about 5,200 cards had been sold.

"They're starting small. But to raise over five thousand dollars in three weeks, I think, is pretty impressive," he said. "The vets deserve all the credit. They're the ones at the auto bureaus, in their uniform, sacrificing and spending time away from their family."

While he was serving in office as a State Assemblymember, Kearns partnered with the American Institute of Architects to survey and inspect 20 local veteran halls and posts. Their mission was to gather information on capital improvements and determine which were most needed. Some of the halls, for example, had restrooms that were not compliant with with Americans with Disabilities Act. Others had roofs in need of repairs or parking lots in serious disrepair. 

"We know it's a small thing. Five thousand dollars is not going to redo all these buildings but it's symbolic and a confidence builder," Kearns said.

The project is also seeking private and corporate donations. The overall estimated price tag to fix the needs identified at the 20 sites is about $8 million.