Local veterans bestowed another gift to the community by building and donating 40 new desks for Milton-area students.
Independence Veterans Club presented the desks to H.O. Brittingham Elementary Principal Kyle Bentley and Milton Elementary Principal Principal Beth Conaway Nov. 10, a day before Veterans Day.
Conaway said the desks will provide limited-income students with an in-home space dedicated to personal learning; Bentley agreed.
“A school is only as strong as the community that supports us,” Bentley said. “This is a reminder of how strong our community is.”
Former Cape Henlopen Education Foundation Director Jeff Gordon said all members of the United States Armed Forces are represented in the Independence Veterans Club.
“They all served their country, and now they’re serving their community,” Gordon said.
Club Secretary Bill Schrammel said he got the idea to build the desks after watching a national news story about a veteran’s group in Virginia that completed a similar project.
“Our veterans were looking for a meaningful way to give back to our community and help young people in need,” Schrammel said. “The desk-making project seemed like a perfect fit.”
Schrammel said 17 members stepped up to construct desks using materials donated from Schell Brothers, developer of the Independence 55+ community in Millsboro.
After tweaking desk plans he found online, Schrammel said the group built 28 desks on Friday and 12 more on Sunday before coating them with polyurethane and sanding the tops with steel wool to make them smooth.
Club Chairman Joe Biondi said 700 pieces of wood, including 14 sheets of plywood and 67 2x4s, were used to construct the desks at his house.
“We had 40 desks in our garage and sawdust everywhere. My wife is happy to get her garage back,” Biondi joked.
The club made certificates and stickers to present with the desk to each child, Biondi said. Club Treasurer Bob Alpaugh and Eliot Blatt, a non-veteran with experience in supervising construction, helped spearhead the project, Biondi added.
In addition to the desk project, the Independence Veterans Club sponsors food drives to support the Community Resource Center in Rehoboth and holiday drives for Home of the Brave Foundation and The Delaware Veterans Home.