Veterans and EMTs agreed on one thing as their new home at the Lorain County Fair was opened for business: It sure beats their previous headquarters.
“The building is beautiful,” said Gil Cole of Wellington VFW Post 6941. “I can tell you that all of us veterans are wearing smiles on our faces today. We’ve come a long way from the old barn we used to be in.”
A few years ago, it rained so hard veterans had to use push brooms to keep water out of their old building, Cole said.
That concern wasn’t going away — as he said, “If it’s fair week, you know it’s going to rain at least one day. The fair board did a good thing here.”
The building was completed in July after a four-month construction process. It was funded through proceeds from last November’s Night at the Races fairgrounds and donations from individuals and the Wellington VFW. It features large finished areas for veterans to hold events and a new EMT garage complete with individual treatment rooms.
John Emerich Jr., whose father John Emerich served on the Lorain County Fair board for 44 years before passing away in 2013, was on hand with his family to cut the ribbon Monday and welcome all inside as the fair opened.
“This building was kind of run down and my father helped kick start the process of getting this new one built,” said Emerich. “The roof was leaking and he thought the veterans deserved more than that. We’ve been fair people our whole lives. We continue to instill it in our kids because of him.”
Dave Knapp, executive director of the Southern Lorain County Ambulance District, is happy to have better options available for those seeking treatment — and to be out of the barn.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful facility,” he said. “We have a family restroom that’s handicap accessible too. The new rooms are great because we can back a truck in here in bad weather and get them to the treatment areas without getting wet. It’s a great building that had a lot of thought put into it before it was built.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise John Emerich Jr. took his family from Oberlin to cut the ribbon on the new veterans building at the Lorain County Fairgrounds. His father, John Emerich, served on the Lorain County fair board for 44 years before passing away in 2013. Emerich Jr. was joined by his wife, Judy, son, Reed, and daughter, Emily.