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WATERLOO — Reading is a way to bring people together, even veterans.

The American Legion Becker-Chapman Post 138 created a social area for veterans to come and read or play board games from noon to 3:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays.

The reading room was set up two months ago by Dennis Sommer. Two weeks ago the library area was opened so veterans can have a cup of coffee, a basket of popcorn, read or play a game or two.

“What we’re trying to do is get the younger veterans to come on down to see what we’ve got,” Sommer said.

Fewer people are joining organizations like churches, veterans and social clubs, Sommer said. Sommer hopes to attract younger veterans to the post, and hopefully in the future they’ll get involved.

“I feel if they’re exposed to what they can join and what benefits they can get, they’ll join,” Sommer said. “I don’t think younger people are joiners, and I don’t blame them.”

To set up the space Sommer went to the ReStore in Waterloo and got discounted shelves and books, which he put together in the corner of Becker-Chapman’s back banquet room.

The cost was only $110. Many of the books were donated, several by Sommer himself.

He’s still accepting books from anyone who wants to donate.

“If I’ve got run another row of book cases right here, I’ll do it,” he said.

The post’s library has books ranging from historical texts to Stephen King novels.

Any veterans can drop in on a Monday or Thursday to visit the reading room without having a membership to the Legion. Sommer said if the reading room becomes popular it will be opened more days.

“If you’re a veteran, come,” Sommer said. “We want to make a pleasant place in the winter time when its cold to come where it’s warm, and in the summer time where it’s cool.”

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Staff Writer

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