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MANDAN, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota group of Marines has nearly completed a clubhouse after two years of renovations and 5,000 volunteer hours.

The Dakota Leathernecks plan to host meetings and gatherings with families and the community at the new Marine House in Mandan.

The Dakota Leathernecks Detachment No. 1419, a local Marine Corps League organization, has refurbished the former VFW building, built in 1915. They lifted the floor, replaced windows and painted the walls in colors representing Marine uniforms, The Bismarck Tribune reported .

“We’ve been very blessed with support in the community,” said Commandant Ray Morrell.

Morrell said they’ll need another $20,000 to complete the space, including repairing the basement’s concrete floors, adding a handrail to the entry ramp and replacing appliances.

The clubhouse will feature a main hall with a kitchen and bar, which will be available for rent. The downstairs will be used as the group’s personal recreation space.

“It’s come a long way,” said Bismarck resident Jeff Olson, the Dakota Leathernecks’ newest member.

Ken Pilon, the group’s founding member, said having a place for Marines to meet and share stories can be therapeutic.

The group plans to hold events at least once a month, including a salute to Gulf War veterans on Feb. 24.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,