Teen’s VFW Project Propels Community Effort

A year ago, “06880”‘s Veterans Day story highlighted Dylan Mace.

The Staples High School junior was raising funds for Westport’s VFW Post 399.  The Riverside Avenue building lacked a handicap-accessible bathroom. Dylan was appalled — “brave men and women who serve could lose limbs!” he said — and vowed to help.

Dylan Mace

Dylan — whose grandfather was a Korean War vet — went to work. Singlehandedly, he raised almost $8,000.

And then he got more help from the community.

Early in his fundraising, architect Lou Lefort and electrician Barry O’Reilly offered their services.

General contractor Scott Rochlin contacted Dylan too. Scott’s son Charley was a decorated Marine.

After Charley died in an automobile accident, Scott’s family set up a foundation to help veterans and their families. Scott volunteered to oversee the project — and said his organization would cover any extra costs.

Scott also brought in Dino Meloni, from Nicolia Marble and Tile. He installed the bathroom tile, gratis.

Bender donated a handicap sink and toilet. Lowe’s and The Tile Shop in Norwalk gave Dylan contractor discounts on supplies. Westport Glass chipped in too.

One of the specially created VFW tiles.

But Dylan wanted this to be extra-special for veterans. He found Custom-Tiles.com online, and asked if they could make special tiles with the emblems of the 5 US military branches. The owner worked with Dylan, creating amazing ones for the walls.

Dylan was so moved by the project, and the people he met through it, that when it came time to plan his service project for the National Honor Society, he asked to paint the inside of the VFW — and spruce up the outside.

Congratulations, Dylan, for all you do.

I’m sorry I couldn’t post this a few days ago, on Veterans Day.

But thanks to you — and all who helped — every great day at the VFW will now be even better.

8 responses to “Teen’s VFW Project Propels Community Effort

  1. The world is all connectes! Thank you Dylan. Because of your efforts, the 3 double amputees, all in wheelchairs, and part of the Catch A Lift Fund Westport for Warriors Weekend, were all able to be at ease with that incredible handicapped bathroom. Bob and Bernie were so proud to have that availabls, and 3 incredible Iraq/Afghanistan Vets that spent the weekend with us and had our annual dinner this past weekend at the VFW just thought it was amazing. So know that your hard work was very much needed and hugely appreciated!

  2. And also the Rochlin family does so much to honor their son by paying it forward and helping so many organizations, whether helping Veterans, town kids and sports, they are always helping as a family, very amazing. Dan thanks for pointing out these great stories!

  3. Phenomenal. Thank you so much for sharing

  4. Congratulations to Dylan Mace and his heads-up thinking….and doing some thing
    about it. His stepping forward and course of action is outstanding. So often we see the need for
    Action for our VFW but do nothing but talk about it.
    His young mind and determination have done wonders for them.
    Dylan much thanks from your silent admirers.

  5. What an amazing kid!!

  6. A terrific story.

  7. THANK YOU, Dylan! You are an exceptional young man.

  8. Thank you for this wonderful story!! It renews my faith.