WINDHAM — Veterans in Windham have a new home.
A former police station and preschool that stood vacant for many years was celebrated last Saturday as the new home of the Windham American Legion Wilbur E. Tarbell Post 109.
The building at 21 Haverhill Road was officially dedicated with a ribbon-cutting event and ceremony, honoring not only the veterans of past and present, but also the life and legacy of Tarbell. The soldier was lost at sea in 1944 while serving aboard a submarine, the U.S.S. Scorpion (SS-278). He is the only Windham casualty of World War II.
The Legion was officially named in Tarbell’s honor when it was incorporated in May 1956.
Saturday’s ceremony began after the flag was raised in the front of the new Legion building and included many guests, state Legion officials, and members of the Tarbell family.
Guest speaker Janet Stevens, the Executive Councilor representing the state’s District 3, thanked the veterans for doing their part to serve.
“You have protected my family, my state, my constituents and the nation,” Stevens said.
Stevens also called Tarbell a “great American,” adding the soldier stepped up at the age of 19 to enlist and serve his country.
The ceremony ended with an official ribbon-cutting to dedicate the Legion’s new space.
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, who is also the post commander.
Farmer, a Navy veteran, added being able to use this building is a godsend. For many years, Legion members met at Town Hall.
Farmer said the building sat empty for many years and needed a lot of work. He said the community and local businesses were very generous with support.
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.