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Black Marines continue to raise funds for chapter hall repairs

Sharon Stokes-Parry (from left), Frank Thrasher, James Reynolds and Paul Knox

Sharon Stokes-Parry (far left), Frank Thrasher, James Reynolds and Paul Knox at the Montford Point Marines veteran center in Englewood. | Annie Costabile/Sun-Times

After taking back the keys to their chapter hall, the Montford Point Marines are still campaigning to raise funds for much-needed repairs to their Englewood home.

Friday was the initial deadline the group had been given to pay back outstanding taxes on their chapter hall: a total bill of $75,000 in property taxes was owed on the building in the 7000 block of South Vincennes Avenue in Englewood.

They’ve raised enough money to settle the bill, thanks in large part to a $141,550 check last month from mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza. But the Montford Point Marines still need another $25,000 to cover necessary improvements to their headquarters of 35 years, including repairing its heating and air conditioning systems, replacing warped ceiling panels and adding new roofing, the group’s president said.

Sharon Stokes-Parry, Montford Point Marines Association, No. 2’s chapter president told the Sun-Times that in addition to the $30,000 they’ve raised directly through their GoFundMe campaign, the group has received thousands of dollars via personal checks from donors who wanted to avoid the fundraising platform’s donation fees. But she said they haven’t yet gathered enough funds to restore their longtime home to its former glory, and will continue fundraising.

“We’re still at it,” Stokes-Parry said. “The fight is not over.”

The Montford Point Marines previously received an extension from the county that gave them until May 30 to pay their back taxes.

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