Approaching a weekend full of Veteran’s Day events, the VFW in Kennewick has had to deal with multiple instances of graffiti on the organization’s hall.
KENNEWICK, Wash. — The VFW on 10th Avenue in Kennewick is one of the latest organizations dealing with vandalism to its building. Bob Failor said it’s not the first time, but due to the rise in gang violence, he believes it’s the worst it’s been.
“This time, they hit it hard; very, very hard,” said Bob Failor, the Kennewick VFW Quartermaster. “And it was new gangs, new people in town.”
The VFW hall has been tagged with graffiti. The property vandalism came from gangs, according to Bob Failor.
“We’ve certainly seen an increase of gang graffiti in the recent past,” said Deputy Brad Klippert with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.
The VFW building has been dealing with this kind of vandalism more recently in the past 10 years, but Failor said it’s never been this bad.
“We don’t know why we were hit, but we were hit hard enough, this time we had to paint the building, and luckily, the graffiti department comes in and does that free of charge. It don’t cost us anything,” said Failor.
Benton-Franklin Abatement Team
Usually with tagging, a team would use chemicals to remove the paint. Due to how much graffiti was on the building, they only had one choice: painting over it.
The Benton-Franklin Juvenile Justice Center Abatement Team are the ones who are cleaning it up.
A member of the graffiti abatement team said if the tagging wasn’t handled immediately, it will keep adding up. That’s what happened to the VFW.
“If it happens, get it done, get it down right now, so that it doest increase because it’ll just be more and more and more,” said Dep. Klippert.
For Kennewick, it was just that.
“Started out with blue, then it went red and then went silver. And they’re all trying to outdo the other one. So, anyway…that’s the way it is,” said Failor.
Graffiti: not a victimless crime
Some call graffiti a victimless crime, but there are people affected by it. For one, the abatement team isn’t free for the county.
“It is very expensive for us to take it down. It does not increase the value of our community, the community you live in,” said Dep. Klippert.
For two, the veterans who are left to run their non-profit out of a tagged building.
“We just want to let them know that we’re veterans. We’re here to serve the country and the community,” said Failor.
“If you don’t respect anybody else in this country. You should respect veterans who fight for the freedom that every single person who lives within our borders enjoys,” said Dep. Klippert.
The building was painted Thursday, and is currently tag-free. They’re looking to keep it that way, as they’re busy with preparations for Veteran’s Day with three events happening Saturday. The first one is the annual Veteran’s Day Parade on Van Giesen St. in West Richland. It starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
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