NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s a big help for veterans just in time for Veterans Day as Cleveland County commissioners presented the American Legion Post 88 in Norman with a big check Thursday to help continue and expand their veterans services.

It was nothing but smiles for the American Legion post when they were presented with a $330,000 check.

American Legion receiving check. Image KFOR.

“Without this we’re taking money out of our own pockets to survive and do what we need to do,” said Carl Ellison, a member of the post.

“We are going to be able to upgrade our post which will be able to help more veterans,” said post Commander Ernest Martin. “Not just today, but for hopefully the next 50 years.”

The money comes from American Rescue Plan Act funding to support the posts mission of providing services to veterans and their families. It’s also for building upgrades that Martin said they desperately need, especially when it comes to electricity inside.

“That box has been outlawed for like 70 years,” Martin said pointing out a fuse box inside their building off E. Main Street in Norman. “They don’t even make this box anymore.”

Martin said he had someone look into the issue before and the professional told him there was a fire waiting to happen. The building they use was built in the late 1930’s. Martin said the building hasn’t had electrical upgrades since the 1950’s. Along with the wiring, Martin said they need upgrades to their plumbing, flooring, ceiling and roof.

“We’re here to help veterans. We’re here to help their families. We’re here to help the widows and widowers from when a veteran dies,” Martin said.

“It’s really exciting that they’re one of the first ones, the veterans service organizations, that we were able to give this money to,” said Cleveland County Commissioner of District 2 Darry Stacy.

Stacy’s son is in the military, so he said this hits close to home.

“This weekend is what it’s all about,” he said. “These are the guys that gave everything so that we could have these freedoms.”

Now, Martin said it’s just time to get started.

“It’s a big thing for this post,” Martin said. “It’s a big thing for the American Legion.”

Martin and several other members of the post are also veterans themselves. Martin said he’s hoping to get the renovations started by the end of this month or early next month.