UPDATE: Hamilton police arrested 22-year-old Matthew Martin Tuesday morning in connection with the vandalism.
Martin is charged with criminal damaging or endangering, a 4th-degree misdemeanor, according to police documents.
The original article is below.
HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A nonprofit that is partially shut down and struggling during the coronavirus pandemic is now dealing with vandalism.
Amvets is a national organization that has posts across the country. It’s designed to give veterans and their family members a place to come together and unite. They typically have events and serve food and alcohol.
Amvets Post 1983 in Hamilton is currently closed to customers, other than carryout orders, because of COVID-19.
Commander Mike Farmer says they are serving to-go meals twice per week and are doing what they can to keep going.
“We’re also connected to charities, so we’re connected to the Hamilton High School Junior ROTC program, so none of the funds are being channeled to the charities either because of our closure," Farmer said.
Now Farmer says they’re facing another obstacle - vandalism.
“There was some curse words, some four-letter words, as well as some other, I don’t know if they’re gang signs or graffiti signs, but it’s not something we want within our community, so it was kind of startling to see the bright red paint on our property,” Farmer said. “It upset us.”
Farmer says the vandalism showed up on the exterior of their building early Sunday morning. Security cameras captured video at that time, showing three people on the property.
Volunteers have since cleaned it up, Farmer says, but repairing the damage comes at a cost.
“Initially, I was kind of disheartened that we would have this, first, within our community, second, during a pandemic," Farmer said. "Then, that kind of disheartening turned more of an anger or frustration that somebody would take this out, and now, we’re already struggling for funds, and now we’re paying funds to clean up graffiti to keep our property looking nice.”
For Farmer, the worst part is knowing that the vandals targeted veterans.
“Those guys have served the country, or they’ve had loved ones that have served the country," Farmer said. "Some of them have died for our freedoms, so it’s very frustrating that of all places you would choose a veterans club.”