WINDHAM — Veterans in Windham have a new home.
A former police station and preschool that stood vacant for many years will be celebrated as the new home of the Windham American Legion Wilbur E. Tarbell Post 109.
The building at 21 Haverhill Road will be honored during an open house and dedication ceremony May 1.
The veterans post is named for Tarbell, a Windham native lost at sea in early 1944. The organization was officially named in Tarbell's honor when incorporated in May 1956.
Currently with upwards of 70 members, the Windham American Legion remains important in the life of veterans of all ages, according to member Frank Farmer, also the post commander.
Farmer, a Navy veteran, added being able to now utilize this building is a godsend, as for many years, Legion members met at town hall.
Farmer said the building sat empty for many years and needed much work. He said the community and local businesses were very generous with support.
"We've had a whole lot of help," Farmer said.
Recently local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts came out to help rake and clean up around the building.
It's also important to let veterans of all ages and all wars know the organization is here for support.
"I think it's a great opportunity for veterans to know we are here for them," said Jim Gallotto, adding that includes their families.
Gallotto said the Legion is also embedded in the community, supporting efforts like youth sports and Scout troops.
The new space will also offer opportunities to gather and share. It's a "brotherhood," according to Dick Forde.
"Most vets deployed don't ever speak of what they've seen," Forde said. "But they can amongst other veterans and that's huge with people. We understand each other."
The upcoming open house and ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on May 1 with the official dedication set for 11 a.m. Members of Tarbell's family are expected to attend. For information email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those planning to attend are urged to follow all New Hampshire Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines.