The Rockford post of the American Legion is asking for the community's help to pay off $50,000 of debt and keep its building.

Carolyn Steimel, Post 102's adjutant said money from just members is not enough to pay off the mortgage.

"We have approximately 1,000 members, but only a small fraction come on a regular basis," Steimel said. "That's what we're trying to help change."

The problem is that there is a divide between older and younger veterans, but they need to bridge that gap between themselves.

"I've been in Afghanistan, and I've had the same situation in my life as Vietnam veterans,” Steimel said. "And here we can discuss them, and we have camaraderie. We can't get that at a civilian watering hole."

Post 102 started a GoFundMe page and is hosting events to pay off the debts. It already raised $10,000 to avoid defaulting on its mortgage, but owes another $40,000 line of credit.

"We're at a very vital point because if we don't maintain the momentum of the fundraising that we've had, we could be in danger of losing the post," Steimel said.

Revitalizing the post is essential for the veterans' communication, said Keitha Sanders, manager of the building.

"I think they need that," Sanders said. "The outside world doesn't really know what they've been through. So another person to talk to that's been through the same thing is a whole lot easier."

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