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'Things are looking up' at Hopewell Moose Lodge after devastating fire

"They say we’ll be in by the end of the year."
Posted at 7:27 PM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 19:32:30-05

HOPEWELL, Va. — Nearly a year after it was destroyed in a fire, work has begun to rebuild the Hopewell Moose Lodge.

“As you can see now, construction on the site, things are looking up and they say we’ll be in by the end of the year,” said Lodge Governor Joey McCaffrey.

“It’s going to be an 18-thousand-square-foot state of the art Moose Lodge.”

McCaffrey spoke to CBS 6 about the new plans and how the Lodge has fared in the time since. He said among the challenges were finding a temporary site to serve their members and a loss of some of those members.

“A lot of the members have gone elsewhere. They go to other Moose Lodges or they go to other organizations,” said McCaffrey, who added that those who stayed worked hard to keep things going. “You know, most things would have folded and we could have let this go and not even worry.”

But McCaffrey said the Lodge has continued its work helping the community, including its law enforcement memorial breakfast.

"We’re still kicking and we’re still trying to let the community know that we’re involved in it,” said McCaffrey. He added that while they continued to support the community, the community has done the same in return donating money, taking part in fundraisers, or donating items to raffle off to help pay for the construction of the new building. “It’s hard. Now the shoe’s on the other foot and you’re asking for money to help build. Where you’re the ones that the community looked to get money to help them.”

McCaffrey said people have been “real generous” and recounted how the “Run for the Wall” riders still stopped at the Lodge in May 2019. The event is an annual nationwide motorcycle ride where, mostly, Vietnam Veterans ride from various parts of the country to Washington, D.C and one of the routes typically stops at the Lodge. “We told them what happened and they said, ‘You know what? We’re still coming.’,” said McCaffrey. “They donated over $8,000 to us. And we said, ‘Hey, this is wrong. It’s supposed to be the other way.’”

McCaffrey said while the new building will be “state-of-the-art”, there will be a section that pays homage to the original, which dates back to the 1940s, with a memorial wall. One item that will be featured on the wall will be thethe American flag that was rescued from the fire, along with the Virginia State flag.

But before the flag is put on display, McCaffrey said it will fly over the new lodge is official opened.

McCaffrey said after the initial groundwork is finished, the lodge will hold an official groundbreaking ceremony.