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Post renovations aimed to make veterans, servicemen feel at home

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's a dream that's been years in the making for Navy veteran Spencer Hardin and his comrades at AMVET Post 181.

"The actual kitchen will be up here with the window and it will go down to about the back door," Hardin said.

Right now, it's just an unfinished space, with donated materials covering the floor and tools where work sits unfinished.

"We've done pretty much all of this with donated materials, donated labor, volunteers; but we're at the point where it just takes so long to coordinate when you have volunteers with paying jobs," Hardin said.

But the vision for this space is big. A diner and bar serving anyone who walks by.

"The bar will be back here in the corner," explained Hardin as he walked around the unfinished space. "We want to make this everybody's home, not just you know, so that's why we call it the 'Welcome home post'," he said.

It's purpose -- to provide a home and help for all active duty service men and women and veterans.

"Our vision is to touch as many people as we can in KC but also worldwide," said Hardin.

And in order to do that, the vision includes a table constantly manned by volunteers to help guide veterans to the services and help they need.

"We want to help combat the problems that our veterans have," the Post's Vice-Commander Mark Miller said.

"Upstairs will be a serviceman's club," Hardin further explained as he described the upstairs as space for service members who need a place to crash, a computer to use, a space place to just get away or a friend who understands the weight they carry.

"We want to build a family; an extended family, you know, now is what we're really after so people take ownership of this. This is part of Kansas City and we want it to be an inseparable part," Hardin said.

The post says the outpouring of support from local businesses has been tremendous. But they need money to pay the utilities and to turn on the lights before their two-week deadline comes crashing down.

A "Turn on the Lights & Open our Doors" fundraiser is being held this Saturday, October 26th from 3-11 pm at 1519 Main St. in downtown Kansas City.

The event will feature live bands, food trucks, a BBQ Wagon, special guests, a silent auction. All profits will go toward the renovation of AMVETS Post 181 to help open the doors and fund veterans programs. Admission is $3.00 for adults and children 12 and under get in free.

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