A fixture in the Phoenix community for more than 60 years is on the brink of foreclosure. Soon after CBS 5 News ran the story last week, a viewer stepped up to help.
For the veterans who make up the clientele at American Legion Post No. 75, an hour saves a life.
"It's just despicable that there are so many homeless vets, it's despicable that so many commit suicide every month, every year, it brings tears to my eyes and makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck that my brothers are killing themselves because they don't have a place to go and talk," said American Legion Post No. 75 Commander John De Pierro.
When De Pierro took over as commander of Post No. 75 last month, he inherited a financial disaster. Previous management, whether through incompetence or fraud, ran the place into the ground.
"They haven't made the mortgage payments since February 2013," De Pierro said. "The post goes for sale on the courthouse steps Aug. 20 at noon."
It will take more than $60,000 to get caught up with the bank. It's more than Rita Naughton has to give, but she thought $500 was a good way to start.
"It's a drop into the bucket, but it's something and that's what they need, they need some hope. They need to know that people are out there that care," Naughton said.
Earlier the same day, De Pierro received more good news. It may be possible to refinance, saving the post $2,500 a month, and an investor has come forward, interested in bailing them out even further.
Nothing is guaranteed but it's giving De Pierro some hope.
"There's a light at the end of the tunnel, and I don't believe it's a train," De Pierro said, laughing.
"We're not quitting, we're not giving up. We're not the kind of people who give up," De Pierro said.
The investigation into the previous owner starts with the State American Legion and, if need be, will end up on the attorney general's desk, but that process could take years, and post No. 75 doesn't have that kind of time.
If you'd like to help keep the doors open, you can do so at post75sunnyslope.com.
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