The following is an editorial from the April 29, 2015 edition of the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, reprinted here with permission.
Sometimes, mergers just make a lot of sense. Whether that is in the business world, government services, school districts - or any number of entities - you weigh the pros and cons and move forward.
Last Week, a groundbreaking ceremony served as a symbol of determination of those who have worked and supported the concept of a new Waverly Area Veterans Post — a collaborative effort among members of various Waverly veterans' posts and the community at large.
"I want to say hello to you as a neighbor, but never have I been more proud as neighbor as I am today," said retired U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Evan "Curly" Hultman of Waterloo at the groundbreaking for the new post. "We serve together, all of us here today, and especially you guys and gals who have served our country, not just in the military but in so many capacities of life."
Hultman served as an honorary fundraising chairman for the $3.6 million project. It's about $350,000 short of that goal, but enough has been raised to proceed with construction while still fundraising.
Since 2009, a WAVP board has worked on the creation of a facility to serve area veterans — no matter where, when or which branch of the military they served in. It will encompass all the major veteran groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, American Legion, etc.
At the beginning, the proposal was met with resistance from national organizations wishing to preserve their separate identities. The concept also was discussed three decades ago in Waterloo but never materialized.
"We paid a big price in the process," Hultman said earlier this year. Post memberships dwindled as veterans passed away. Buildings deteriorated. Some, like the Waterloo AMVETS Post 19, eventually sold their buildings.
The inclusiveness of each organization could go a long way in addressing those types of problems for the WAVP. IT's an excellent example of what can be done with a combined effort. Vets, in particular, know the value of that.
As we have previously stated, we are particularly pleased families of current military members are being considered.
The center is expected to be equipped with Internet and video Skype for active service members' families to communicate with them. It also will be a one-stop shop where veterans can apply for benefits, jobs, educational opportunities and other services.
Another thanks to the WAVP board and the various supporters, who began this mission with hope and a willingness to assist area vets. We look froward to seeing the finished product.