LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) – Last November, we did a story about Veterans’ Outreach on Belgrade Avenue in Liberty needing a new building because it simply outgrew its current one. A couple of realtors saw the story and contacted them a few days later about an auction on three buildings happening the next day. John and Teri Ely were the only ones who showed up, so they got the buildings. They took us for a tour of the new place and explained their plans for the new complex.
“It was a call center and just a big, open space. Great building, big, open space. To function with our programs, we have to build some walls,” said Teri Ely, executive director of Veterans’ Outreach.
The building they’re currently renovating is on Colonial Drive and has two floors with a basement. Teri says the first floor will house the food pantry, direct aid services and the Heroes Closet, which will also be changing.
“It’s going to become a little thrift store,” Teri said.
Upstairs will be used for administrative offices, fundraising and there will also be an open space for events. All of the space is something President John Ely hopes to utilize to further help veterans.
“We’ve increased by 700% so I’m hoping to get other non-profits that are veteran friendly into our other buildings so we can have a one-stop shop,” John said.
For now, one of those buildings will be used for storage and the other has tenants in it right now, which will help support the overall project.
“I love the entryway. I love the space. The huge amount of space. It’s kind of overwhelming but we know that we’ll be able to make it work. But the entryway with the open to the ceiling and the granite steps, it’s fantastic,” Teri said.
Veterans’ Outreach is run completely on donations and fundraising. They would like to fix up the facade of this building, add a large flagpole and seal the parking lot. Anyone who thinks they can help in some way with the renovation can give them a call at 330-755-5792.
“The heartwarming feeling that you have about helping your veterans is what inspires us, and people that come in to help also. This Valley has been spectacularly patriotic,” John said.
These buildings fulfill the Elys’ dreams of having a complex and the goal is to have a grand opening sometime this spring.