Downtown Rochester VFW set to relocate

In a special ceremony, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1215 in downtown Rochester lowers the American flag for the final time Sunday.

"It’s been a good building for us, but its aged, and it’s time to leave," said Dave Rude, Quartermaster. 

For many folks, Post 1215 isn’t just a building, it’s home.

"This is just how I grew up, this is where I went with mom and dad," said Teresa Thompson. "It’s pretty special to have my own little kiddie cocktail and be with all these grown up and hear all these amazing stores of their courage and their dedication."

VFW members have survived service in a war on foreign soil or seas. They come to Post 1215 — some every day, some once a week or so, to talk, to drink, and to eat some popcorn.

"We’ve had anniversaries here, anniversaries, deaths, weddings," said Thompson.

the VFW Whitlock-Sonnenberg Pos sold its site to the University of Minnesota for $2.6 million and will now move to the former Golden Corral location. They plan to demolish it and turn it into a green space. As for the VFW, it will move to 2775 43rd St. NW, taking over what used to be the Golden Corral restaurant.

After 51 years, the Post 1215 bought the new location for $820,000 with $1,000,000 for renovation and remodeling. The new location will almost double in size, with extra parking space, more seating, and a new kitchen. The grand opening is June 14. 

"It can be demolished, but you can’t take away the memories," said Thompson. 

"It was my husband’s first home, and it got to be mine for 30 years," said Rose Hanse-Welke. "It means so much for a lot of veterans who come home and they have nobody else to talk to."

Most VFW members are looking forward to the relocation. They say there’s always uncertainty when you leave "home" but will continue to serve veterans and the public at the new location.

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