This story has been updated, May 27

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7061, 516 Hopi Avenue, caught fire and burned the morning of Sunday, May 26. The structure is a total loss. Post Commander John Maye said they will rebuild, as there has been a VFW Post on that site since 1945.

Maye said the fire started around 3:30 to 4 a.m. in the kitchen area. It quickly spread to the spaces between the multiple ceilings in the building. Firefighters were not able to get the blaze out until 8 a.m.

Firefighters from the Parker, Colorado River Indian Tribes and Buckskin Fire Departments responded to the fire. Some firefighters stayed on the scene after the fire was out in case it flared up again.

VFW Post 7061 is known for being active in the community. Along with the Freeman H. Sharp American Legion Post 70, they co-host veterans events at the Parker Cemetery on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Maye said the post will rebuild. He added there’s been a VFW post in Parker for 74 years. He said they have a firm lined up to demolish the burned-out facility, and they’ve already been contacted by people who want to donate towards a new facility.

The incoming Post Commander, Josh Philipps, said the post will be temporarily meeting at the Parker Elks Lodge and the Parker Eagles Aerie. He was grateful for the donations, but added they have not yet set up an official channel for people to make donations.

“We’re waiting to hear from our insurance company,” he said.

The post was created in 1945. It was named the Eddy May Post after Eddy May, a 1937 Parker High School graduate who was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the early part of World War II. He was shot down and killed on Feb. 9, 1942 in the Philippines, becoming the first person from the Parker area to be killed in the war. His family purchased the property on which the post sits.

Maye said the post had a photo of May in his full dress uniform, and that was one of the items lost in the fire. He said he knew many people had taken photos of May’s portrait over the years, and he was asking if anyone who had a copy of the portrait could donate it to the post.

Maye expressed confidence the Post would soon have a new facility.

“We’ll survive,” he said. “We’ll rebuild.”

Maye’s wife, Judy Enrico-Maye said, “We’ll be like the phoenix that rises from the ashes.”

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