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VFW scrambles to keep doors open after sudden $4K water bill

(KIRO 7)

A Seattle-area VFW is scrambling to pay more than $4,200 for a water bill that came unexpectedly. Thankfully, good Samaritans are pitching in.

“We had a really good turnout at our fundraiser last night,” said Chad Hasselbroek with Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9430 in the Skyway-West-Hill area. “We had members from five different VFWs … and there was a large showing from our community that was really humbling to see … the community really stepped up.”

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The $4,247 water bill was a surprise when the VFW received it — it’s about seven times the facility’s normal bill. The high cost is the result of two toilets which broke during February’s snow storm — they ran constantly for 12 days. The VFW has tried working out a payment plan with the Skyway Water and Sewer District. But if they are unable to pay the bill, the water will be shut off, which would close the doors at the facility, further threatening its closure.

So the VFW opted to host a fundraiser, dishing up pasta for donations last Saturday. After seeing a news report about the water bill and the fundraiser, Hasselbroek said that people were showing up before they could open the doors. They served fire fighters, local teachers, and others. The veterans were surprised when the met the 75-80 people (estimated) who showed up for the pasta.

“One gentleman came in, made a donation … he said ‘I used to play on the little league baseball team you guys sponsors 30 years ago and I saw you guys needed help and wanted to give back,'” Hasselbroek said. “It’s people like that who remember what this organization does. It just makes your heart happy.”

“A couple came in, they were from Redmond, they saw us on the news, wanted to help out …” he said. “That just shocked me, that people were traveling from outside Skyway, from Redmond, Seattle and other areas and they just came up and said ‘How can we help? Here’s a donation.’ They didn’t even stick around for the pasta. They just showed up and said ‘here’s some help’ … it was awesome the way some people stepped up.”

It is unclear if the weekend’s fundraiser will add up to keeping the VFW’s doors open, but Hasselbroek is being optimistic as the tally up the donations.

“If we do go over the $4,200 water bill, the money would be used to fix the two toilets that caused this problem that are shut off right now,” he said. “Priority one — fix the water bill. Priority two — fix the two broken toilets. And hopefully we can get back to what our mission is, and that is taking care of our veterans.”

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