WEST LAFAYETTE – A small chapel in the quiet east corner of the cemetery at the Indiana Veterans’ Home on the West Lafayette campus has been given a new life and purpose as the building was officially dedicated Thursday and opened once again for use.
In a ceremony, celebrating the 125th anniversary of the West Lafayette Indiana Veterans’ Home inhabiting the area, Veterans’ Home officials, veterans, local leaders and chapel restoration volunteers gathered to celebrate the end of its extensive repairs and renovation.
The idea to renovate came from Ron Halsema and his wife, Randa, who noticed the chapel when visiting the Indiana Veterans’ Home and took the project to the Exchange Club of Indiana, which they had recently joined.
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The American Legion Post 492 in West Lafayette posted and retired the colors during the ceremony, and Indiana Veterans’ Home Chaplain David Hess offered a benediction and blessing for the building.
The chapel was originally built in 1932. Work on restorations began in 2019 and were expected to last a few months, until delays came via the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, Kris DeHahn, president of the Exchange Club of Lafayette, said.
Renovations, which included roof repairs, window cleaning and repairs, water damage to the ceiling and pews, new paint, carpet and electrical work, were completed in November 2020.
The Exchange Club fundraised nearly $20,000 toward the renovations. In total, the chapel project cost just over $40,000, with most of the cost going toward roof repairs, DeHahn said.
They were also able to save costs through some companies donating their services, DeHahn said, including Houston Electric Lafayette, which donated the electrical work done inside the chapel.
Halsema, who owns Halsema Custom Crafts in Lafayette, also helped refurbish the pews.
“It’s a blessing, and it’s nice to have it done, to now let it be used and let our veterans know that they’re appreciated,” DeHahn said. “We’re just glad to have it back.”
Now that it is officially open and available for use, the chapel will serve as a space once again for private funerals, weddings, family gatherings, meetings or other events, which can be reserved through the Indiana Veterans’ Home website.
“We’re excited about this, because the potential use for this, being able to cautiously open up for public events will allow us to be able to use this building, show it off and showcase all the work they did and the money that was raised on behalf of the residents and their families,” Emily Larimer, the director of communication and technology for Indiana Veterans’ Home, said. “We couldn’t have done it without the help …….