RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Richmond organization that helps homeless and disabled veterans says it is in need of thousands of more dollars to fix their only elevator.
89-year-old Lee Conner, a volunteer for Liberation Veteran Services, raised nearly $10,000 to fix the long-broken elevator, but city inspectors said the repairs were not sufficient enough. Now, the group is facing another huge price tag.
Conner is a Korean War veteran and spends four days out of the week volunteering at LVS off Hull Street.
“(Liberation Veteran Services) does a fantastic program. They don’t just feed (homeless veterans) and give them a place to sleep. They train them and get them straightened out,” said Conner. “For what the veterans have done for us, we owe them so much.”
LVS has helped hundreds of veterans in crisis, get back on their feet. It runs out of the old Thalhimers store building, which is more than 100 years old.
So far, Conner has organized a complete renovation of the basement, creating a recreation room, and raised the thousands of dollars needed to fix the elevator, which has been out of commission for more than two decades.
A working elevator would help veterans like 14-year Marine Tyrone Saunders, 58, who needs a knee replacement.
"It would mean everything,” said Saunders.
Conner says he paid a local repair company $6,000 for work and signed a contract that said the elevator would be “returned to service.” Additional money was also needed for paint and a new floor for the elevator, totaling nearly $10,000.
Once the work was done, city inspectors surveyed the elevator and said new hoist cables were needed since the elevator had been sitting for so long.
The repair company wanted $9,200 more for the additional work.
"I wasn't very happy,” said Conner. “I immediately started trying to make phone calls."
Conner says the whole project is at a stalemate, while he tries to raise even more money and work things out with the repair company.
In the meantime, Conner says he’s not giving up and will continue to raise money.
NBC12 reached out to the elevator repair company about the matter and has not yet heard back.
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