VFW 1303 Moves Out To Make Way For Walmart - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

VFW 1303 Moves Out To Make Way For Walmart

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As a big development gets ready to open up in Rock Island, several other properties are on their way out to make room for it.  

Last fall, the city announced Walmart would be coming to the Watchtower Plaza along 11th Street. The big-box store is expected to bring 400 jobs to the area, and it's set to open by the end of this year. 

But the new store means a number of properties in Watchtower Plaza must go. The VFW post will be one of the first to close its doors. 

The building is set to come down this month and Saturday the organization will hold a final auction to sell off items inside. 

"The first day of operation was December 7th, 1993," Post Commander PJ Hymes says. 

Hymes has been a part of VFW Post 1303 since 1972. 

"I was here for the first day we broke ground, until the last day here," Hymes says. 

He's spent the last two months packing up 20 years worth of memories into boxes. 

"Everything you can think of, signs, pictures, posters," he says.

Over the years, the VFW has provided support for veterans and the community through kids programs and fund raisers. Hymes says a few stick out in his mind. 

"A fund raiser we had for a little five year old, Samantha McAdams, she had 7 transplants, and she was going to have more," Hymes says, "We provided the whole facility, and the parking lot; we had a heck of a crowd here to support the family." 

Even without this space, the organization plans to continue their mission. 

"It's more than a building, it's a lot of things that we stand for," Ladies' Auxiliary President Donna Hymes says. 

"These are the type of things we'll still keep doing, but we just won't have a place of our own to call home," PJ says. 

Letting go of the building, but taking the memories with them.  

"You have to think it's progress, and let's hope that it's a blessing in disguise, we can move on," Donna says. 

"In a lot of ways we look at it, it's time to turn the corner and go down a different street," PJ adds. 

VFW and Ladies' Auxiliary meetings will go on as scheduled at the Moose Lodge in Rock Island as they continue to look for a new building.  

Doors open for the auction Saturday morning at 8:30 AM, then the auction starts at 10 AM. Everyone is welcome to register and bid on items.

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