Sometimes things occur in life that make you sit and contemplate why. Then there are the times when you’re in complete awe of the results of an event and the why’s become non-existent. This is the feeling one gets from the response by all of you who answered the call for help.
Because of the ongoing issues with the downstairs restoration and then the failing of a portion of the roof, the outlook was dim. Every time we tried to correct one problem downstairs, two more would appear. In the thirty years since the original interior remodel, time and shortcuts have paved the way to a more extensive restoration than we could ever have foreseen. Then came the realization of cost overruns that would exceed the $10,000.00 donation that was earmarked for the job. I will get into some of that later.
Right now, I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart, for your generosity and caring for the needs of the building we call our home. As of right now, you have donated a total of $19,650.00. It is times like these that renew the spirit that is the fife and drum community. Every chance I get I tell people of the truly unique and fascinating individuals that make up who we are. We are friends who have a common goal which is to protect the building and the artifacts within. Also to support The Company and those who are elected by you, to guide its direction of perpetuating the music we love through friendship and education.
With that said, let’s take a look at where some or all of that money will be spent. First of all, we received good news from the insurance company about the roof. There had been some question as to whether they would cover it at all. After their paid private consultants inspected the roof, it was decided that there was sufficient evidence of wind damage to the shingles that allowed water to seep through, therefore making it an insured payable event. In other words, minus our deductible of $2,500.00 the rest will be covered by the insurance company. Finally, a well-deserved break. Moving inside, the suspended ceiling tiles are to be replaced as nothing made today will match those that are up there now. So replacing just the damaged ones would create a noticeable difference. Also, since there is no insulation in the attic, the new tiles will be insulated to protect against heat loss. The cost for this is $1,300.00. It is particularly interesting to note that the non-insulated tiles are more expensive.
That’s it for the roof, now let’s move downstairs to the basement. I’m sure most of you have heard about all the problems that keep cropping up during the restoration. In the beginning, it was thought that replacing the barroom floor would take care of the problem. Boy were we ever wrong! Removing the floor which was layered on top of a concrete floor revealed the rotted base that the bar was perched on. The bottom course of bricks was not mortared to the concrete but set upon 2”x6” boards. These were all deteriorated and the bar was teetering. Upon removal of part of the bar top for further inspection, that section of the bar fell over. We also found that the mortar between the bricks was of a grout material and not mortar at all. The bar was completely removed with a promise from Mariner and K.G. member Chris Lussier, that he would build a new one. He fulfilled that promise and it’s a beauty. The cost of the materials was $1,500.00.
I could continue describing the problems we are facing, but please know that all of them are manageable. What we will have is a well reconstructed club room, office and more importantly Sturtze Room. There has been well founded criticism that the Sturtze Room is to exposed to the club room. The answer to this is to isolate it with no access to the bar. After all, it is part of the museum display and should not interact with the club room. A simple relocation of the entrance door into the foyer opposite the staircase will give it direct access. The old door will be walled up and add more display area in the Sturtze Room itself. The double doors from the foyer to the clubroom will also be changed so as to limit visual contact with the bar by visitors. This is a real positive change with an innovative solution to the problem.
As you can see there is still much to be done. Work days are scheduled every Sunday from 10 a.m. till whenever. There have been a few folks showing up but we need more. Pick a couple of Sundays and put them on your calendar and just show up. You will be welcomed with open arms. If you can help during the evenings, give Dan Riley a call at 860-304-9506 to see when they will be there. While you’re there, make sure you tell Dan how much all of his work and direction is appreciated. I pale at the thought of where would be without his efforts and knowledge.
I know that many of you earmarked your donation for the roof. The plea came before we knew that our insurance would cover it. The bulk of the donations will go to finishing the downstairs and then a well needed exterior paint job. Any funds leftover will be used for other needed repairs. If you feel that your donation for the roof replacement was for only that, we will return it upon your request. When all is said and done, a complete statement will be published to show where the money was spent.
In closing, thank you all again and give yourselves a pat on the back for your financial aid. When all the work has been completed, we can be sure that it was done correctly and in compliance with local codes. It will be set for many years to come and will give the building stability and weather protection. After the displays upstairs have been reacclimated, it will be on its way to be the museum we are all proud of. Remember, to get things done we all have to work together for the future of The Company and The Museum. Don’t hesitate to volunteer, as it is Your Company Hall. See you next time.
In the Spirit,
Kevin R. Brown, President
The Company of Fifers and Drummers, Inc.