LICOVA's new Veterans Building dedicated

Angie Talken
Chillicothe News

There is a new place in Livingston County for all veterans to gather. On Saturday, the Livingston County Veterans Association's  (LICOVA) new building located at 905 Washington St., was dedicated and according to Edwin Allender, president of LICOVA, "Officially open for events and for all veterans."

Members of LICVOA, VFW and American Legion Auxiliary members and area veterans pose for a photo during the ribbon-cutting portion of the ceremony and open house on Saturday. Edwin Allender, LICOVA president is shown cutting the ribbon.

Over 100 people attended the ribbon-cutting, while others toured the building and visited with area veterans and board members throughout the rest of the afternoon.

"We are extremely fortunate to live in a community full of generous people and generous foundations," Larry Warren, fundraising chairman and treasurer for LICOVA said noting that 90% of people at the opening ceremony had a direct impact on the project. LICOVA has raised about $950,000, with more donations coming in, even on Saturday during the event. 

Warren stated $240,000 in pledges are still out and the group has borrowed $160,000 from Insetor's Community Bank bringing them to only $146,000 from their #1.35 million goal, which they have until the end of 2023 to raise. The vestibule, Warren said currently has and will have paper noting donations, once fundraising is completed a plaque with donor's names will be hung. 

Construction was overseen by George Laprade, secretary for LICVOA and Matt Hopper, board member. Construction was headed by Copeland Development from Chillicothe, many subcontractors were also from the local area. pat Jones, Copeland Construction, noted that many of the businesses who helped with construction have donated funds back to LICVOA for the building and others also offered supplies at cost and did not charge labor.

Pat Jones, Copeland Development said, "It was truly Copeland Development's honor to work on this building for these veterans." 

Several businesses involved in construction have pledged donations, on Saturday checks for more than $9,000 were presented to the board. 

State and area officials attended the event including Rep. Rusty Black, who said.

"I am very happy to see you all here in this new building and I really hope this will drive the next generation of veterans to become involved with the American Legion and VFW." 

"This is a place for veterans to meet and greet and share stories and what have you," Laprade said. "The VFW and American Legion work together and we take care of each other - this building is for all veterans." 

Chillicothe Elks Lodge 656 made and served a meal. 

Anyone wishing to donate to LICVOA or rent the building.  should contact a board member. Board members include: Allender, president; Joe Carter, vice president; Warren, treasurer; Laprade, secretary and members Matt Harper, Larry "Bud" Hinnen, Benny Simpson and Jim Summerville. 

Detailed brickwork on the side of the new building. Claire Ashbrook, a Chillicothe native, was the lead architect for the building. She said the brick work "conceptualizes the soldiers in parade formation with the bricks fanning out from the straight parade lines representing those soldiers who have been lost."