Home: Current Articles

Mike Reagan Honors Polish Soldiers

Mike Reagan Honors Polish Soldiers

In a recent ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, government officials unveiled the portraits of 66 Polish Special Forces soldiers who had been killed in the Global War on Terrorism. The soldiers were killed while working with American Special Forces. Twenty two soldiers were killed in Iraq, and the remaining number died in Afghanistan. The portraits were drawn by Post member Mike Reagan, which he donated to the Polish government. The portrait presentation was the highlight of a ceremony that established a National Remembrance Day of Fallen Veterans. The framed portraits will remain on permanent display in the newly established Polish Veterans Museum.

In 2003, Mike established the Fallen Heroes Project, and since then, he has drawn more than 4400 portraits for the families who have lost loved ones in our nations’ Global War on Terrorism. Thanks to Mike’s compassion, he has brought untold comfort to the members of our nation’s Gold Star families. Mike has also honored the memory of deceased members of our Post by presenting portraits of them to family members.

New Member: Nicholas Brower

NL0216_Nicholas-BrowerNick is originally from Boise, ID and joined the Marines there in 2001. He served until 2005. He completed two tours with the 1st Force Service Support Group during the initial invasion of Iraq and later was stationed at the MEK Compound in Fallujah. He received two Meritorious Promotions to Lance Corporal and Corporal. Awards include the Good Conduct Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (2). Nick works as a mechanic and plans to attend Seattle Maritime Academy, QMED program. He is an active hiker, climber, skier and part time yoga instructor. His dream is to own a yacht. Nick and fiancé Paula reside in Edmonds.

Military Bases No Longer Accepting IDs from Five States

from an article “Military Times”

State-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards from Illinois, New Mexico, Missouri, Washington and Minnesota can no longer be used to obtain a visitor’s pass because those cards don’t comply with federal standards, officials said. DoD is expected to Issue Guidance ‘Soon’ for Blocked State IDs, EDLs to Be Accepted.

The changes impact visitors who are attempting to secure a visitor’s pass to the bases using one of the non-compliant state ID cards. (including WA State DL) Visitors who are accompanied in the vehicle by a Defense Department card holder can continue to access the installations using any state’s driver’s license, officials said.

Ed. Note: There is a bill in the legislature ( a revival of a 2015 Senate bill) which is intended to bring Washington into compliance with the Fed. 2005 Real ID act. In the meantime, it is likely that our Enhanced DL will be accepted. It would probably be prudent to carry your passport when attempting to visit military installations until this is sorted out.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Raffle!

To Help build a lasting tribute to Veterans; past, present & future, We will be raffling off two original, signed Seahawk posters by our own Mike Reagan.

1,000 tickets will be sold @ $5.00 each to raise $5,000 toward the Post contribution to Veterans Plaza construction costs.

Stay tuned for details of timing and ticket distribution.

Other fund raising activities continue and recent reports put the total just north of $ 280,000.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Raffle 1st prize

1st Prize

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Raffle 2nd Prize

2nd Prize

An Interactive Workshop with AXIS Dance Company

Presented by: Edmonds Center for the Arts & Operation Military Family Cares

Friday, February 5, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Free Admission with Pre Registration


This workshop is open to veterans, their families & friends, and will be followed by a complimentary lunch. All ages, levels and abilities welcome!

The workshop is 90-minutes long and will be held at American Legion Post 66, 117 6th Ave S, Edmonds, WA. Space s limited to 30 participants. RSVP to Gillian Jones, ECA Director of Programming, at 425-275-9483 or gillian@ec4arts.org.


Vietnam: Remembering the 1968 Tet Offensive

Jim Traner VFW 8870 Past Commanderby Past Commander Jim Traner, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, USA

I know that the WWII veterans who were there have a vivid memory of the Battle of the Bulge.  The Tet Offensive left similar memories  for anyone who was “in country” on January 31, 1968.  For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Tet is Vietnam’s New Year and there was to be a cease fire during the week of Tet.  Instead, virtually the entire county was  attacked by a well-coordinated offensive by the Vietcong.  It’s been 48 years since the Tet Offensive but for those of us “in county” at that time, it doesn’t seem that long ago.  My unit, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, was south of the Michelin Rubber Plantation in the north end of Iron Triangle at the outbreak of Tet Offensive. We had been in contact with enemy units on a fairly consistent basis in the preceding week with A Troop bearing the brunt of the casualties.  You’d have thought that someone somewhere in the intelligence branch could have smelled a push coming since I doubt we were the only ones making contact with the enemy.  When Tet Offensive did hit, we were ordered to move down to protect Long Bien and Bien Hoa, a road trip that took 12 hours and covered about 80 miles.  Armored vehicles in a column have a tendency to kick up a bit of dust, particularly in “dry season” and I always seemed to be at the end of the column.   We were low on water and didn’t have time to resupply so it was a very hot, dusty, and thirsty trip.  As I recall, on the way south we went through a small village in the dark and saw what I thought was a low rock wall in the road ahead.  When I got along side of the ”wall” it was bodies of what I believe were civilians  assassinated by the VC earlier that day.  Without going into any details, we got to our destination at II Field Force HQ, the area we were sent to protect, and accomplished that mission. Later we moved to either Bien Hoa or Long Bien and some of the areas we went through looked like pictures of cities bombed in WWII.  Total devastation.  In the long run, the Tet Offensive resulted in a total defeat of the Vietcong but also costing a lot of American lives as well.

On a side note, I was due to go on R&R when Tet broke out.  Three of us from my unit ended up flying to Hong Kong on the first flight leaving Vietnam following Tet.  When we arrived, an Army information officer came on board and warned us not to talk to the reporters on the tarmac.  We had no idea what he was talking about but when got off the airplane there was a gauntlet of reporters and television cameras waiting for us.  Apparently the military had shut down access to Vietnam and these guys were chomping to get a story.  We didn’t talk, but I think we should have.  Walter Cronkite, the CBS News Anchor,  was saying the war was lost, and we knew we had just kicked ass.  But orders were orders…..

Local Students Recognized in Patriot’s Pen & Voice of Democracy Competition

Commander Blossey Congratulates Student Winners

Commander Blossey Congratulates Student Winners

At the December 8, 2015 meeting we recognized area students who participated in the AnnualVFW Essay contest. The Post’s student essay competition is coordinated by Fred Apgar.

The theme for this year’s Youth Essay contest was “Why Is America My Favorite Country?” The winning essay for 5th grade was submitted by Chloe Lee of Mukilteo Elementary. Runners Up were Mohuwa Wahid, Ellie Choi, and Sabrina Windland, also from Mukilteo Elementary. Benjamin Hoang, of Terrace Park Elementary was also a runner-up. Chloe was presented with a $100 scholarship from the Post, and each Runner Up received a $25 scholarship.

Voice of Democracy Winner

Voice of Democracy Winner

For the second consecutive year, Olivia Olsen garnered first place honors and a $100 scholarship in the Voice of Democracy contest. This essay contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12. While the Youth Essay and Patriot’s Pen competition requires a written essay, the Voice of Democracy competition requires the submission of an audio essay. This year’s topic was, “My Vision for America”. Olivia is a 10th grade student at Edmonds-Woodway High School. Accompanying the Mukilteo Elementary School students were their teachers, Ms. Aina Green and Ms. Sue Idso. Supporting the students from Terrace Park School was their teacher, Ms. Lori Kutrich.

Prior to the presentation of awards and the reading of the winning entries, Olivia Olson led the Post members and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. The winning entries have been forwarded to Washington State VFW for consideration at the district and state levels.

Farewell to our Comrade Al Starkenburg

Al Starkenburg

A funeral service was held for Al on Saturday, December 12 at Holy Rosary Church in Edmonds.  An “Honor Guard” of Post 8870 members was front and center to bid our comrade farewell.

At the December Post meeting Mike Reagan presented a portrait of Al to his wife and family.

Al lived his entire life in Washington, in Ellensburg, Shoreline and Carnaton. Al was a Marine, having served in Korea in 1954-55. Following discharge he returned home, and attended Everett Community College where he played football. He worked in sales in the food and beverage industry until his retirement. Al is surviced by his wife, four children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Santa Claus Arrived Early for Veterans Relief Fund

The Nine Yards Brewing community in Kenmore, Wa contributed $217.25 from their military trivia night to support the work we do.

Nine Yards hosts a weekly game/trivia night at which they collect money from participants to play. 50% of those proceeds go to a charity of their choosing.

They wanted us to know that while usually, 50% stays with the winners, all winners this month gave their half back to increase the amount of their donation for veterans. In addition, a gift basket was donated and raffled off to bring in more cash.


Post member Don Stapleton presents gift cards to Ron Bergstrom, Director of Retsil Veterans Home.

Post member Don Stapleton presents gift cards to Ron Bergstrom, Director of Retsil Veterans Home.

In an effort to bring some Christmas spirit to local veterans residing in nursing homes and to active duty personnel in need, VFW Post #8870 recently delivered $3500 in gift cards to these deserving comrades. The Washington Veterans Home in Retsil and the Washington Soldier’s Home and Colony in Orting each received $1000 in gift cards for distribution to veterans and spouses.

Our Post also gave $500 in gift cards to the Chaplains’ officers at Everett Naval Station, Joint Base Lewis McChord, and District 13 United States Coast Guard. At the Chaplains’ discretion, these gift cards will be distributed to those active duty personnel who are struggling to make ends meet. In an effort to support all branches of our military services, a $500 donation was also made to the Semper Fi Fund.

Funding for this most worthwhile project comes from the Post’s distribution of poppies during the Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day weekends.

Welcome New Members

Alden GilliandAlden Gilliand

Alden is originally from Galveston, TX. He joined the Army in 1986 and served for 7 years. He served in Korea 1988-90 in the 3rd MI Brigade maintaining Mohawk OV-1 observation aircraft. Awards include the Army Service Medal and Good Conduct Medal (2). Alden is a Senior Mechanical Designer with Esterline. He and wife Rose live in Mukilteo and have a daughter. Alden enjoys kayaking.


Gary WaldermanGary Walderman

Gary is originally from Centereach, NY. He joined the Air Force in 1979 and retired in 2000. Gary served in Turkey with HQ SOCEUR as part of Desert Shield/Storm in 1991. He was an Intelligence Officer. Awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation and Achievement Medals. Gary is a Job Coach in the Everett School District. He and wife Clare live in Edmonds and have 2 children.


Clare WaldermanClare Walderman

Clare served as an Army nurse 1984-91. She served in Saudi Arabia and Iraq 1990-91 as part of Desert Shield/Storm. In 1992 she joined the Air Force and retired in 2000. Awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (2) and Army Commendation Medal (2). She continues as a nurse in Everett. Originally from Villa Grove, IL, she and husband Gary live in Edmonds. They have 2 children.


Joan WyantJoan Wyant

Joan is originally from Cochranville, PA. She joined the Navy in 2005 and served for 10 years. She is a WESTPAC veteran serving aboard the USS Bunker Hill CG52 and USS Ingraham FFG61 during 2005-2008. She was a Surface Warfare Officer. Joan also served Kabul, Afghanistan 2009-10. Awards include the Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (2) and Army Achievement Medal (2). Joan resides in Edmonds.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Update

Over $ 270,000 Pledged!

Edmonds Veterans Plaza drawingWith some verbal commitments we have now surpassed $270,000 in contributions, more than halfway toward our $450,000 goal. We would like to reach this goal by March 31, 2016, which would allow us to dedicate the new plaza on Veterans Day 2016!! It is expected that we will take this drive to the general public late in January. Wilcox Construction of Edmonds has offered to build the plaza at their cost, which would be a significant donation in itself. The city is expected to include Wilcox on the bid request list.


Naming Opportunities

Edmonds Veterans Plaza drawingCommander Blossey will be putting together a promotional piece to describe naming opportunities, to honor individual veterans, which include:

  1. A pedestal at $10,000 for all four sides
  2. One side of a pedestal is $2,500
  3. Individual Pavers are $500 each.
  4. 6 park benches at $2000 each.

It should be emphasized that these naming opportunities are for recognizing veterans, not for recognizing donors. There will be a donor wall to recognize donors who contribute at least $1,000.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza sketchParticipation of Post Membership Key to Funding Plaza

Edmonds Veterans Plaza planCommittee Chair Ron Clyborne has questioned the level of participation by the Post membership in funding the Plaza to date. Less than 5% of our membership has contributed as of the December meeting of the committee. Clyborne wants us to know that we have post members on the committee that have put in hundreds of hours on this long overdue project  that is “ Honoring all veterans…past, present and future” and it is hoped that all of our membership will step up.

Certainly, all of us are not in a position to make a large donation, but every dollar contributed helps and equally important, helps demonstrate how important this project is to our veterans posterity. Your contribution, however small helps. $10, $20, $50, $100 donations do add up and if every VFW member who has not contributed to date donated just $20 that would raise a very meaningful $4000+. American Legion Post 66 as an organization has donated $6000, VFW Post 8870 has donated $1000 this year with an additional $1000 pledged for next year …a very few individual VFW members that have contributed or pledged a total of $12,500 to date, including a single pledge of $ 10,000.

The committee asks that we please forward this newsletter to friends and family and other veterans who are not VFW Post 8870  members so that they too may consider a donation.

Edmonds Community College Veterans Day Event


Several VFW members, including three of our own, will be featured participants in Edmonds Community College’s Veterans Day Celebration this year. The event will be held on Tuesday, November 10, at 10:30 AM in the college’s Black Box Theater.

Among those speaking at the event will be our Commander, Jim Blossey, and Ron Clyborne, the chair of the community’s Veterans Plaza committee. Post 8870 member Carl Kurfess will lead the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Honor Guard from Lynnwood VFW Post 1040 will present the colors.

The celebration is for the entire community, not just students, and veterans are especially invited to attend. The college has particularly encouraged VFW members to be there. Please wear your cover.

The Black Box Theater is located near the south side of the campus; parking is available. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion.

Other Veterans Day Observances

NL1115_Veterans_DaySome local communities are observing Veterans Day with parades and other activities to honor veterans. Members may wish to attend one or more of these events and if you do, you are encouraged to wear your cover to “show the flag” for Post 8870. In south Snohomish County, the following are scheduled: (further details may be found on the websites of the respective cities involved). Other events are scheduled around the metro area. See your local paper or “G

Lynnwood – Veterans Day Ceremony

November 11, 2015 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Join VFW Post 1040, Mayor Nicola Smith, and the Northwest Junior Pipe Band in honoring the men and women who have served in our armed forces.

Veterans Park is located at 44th Ave W & Veterans Way (194th St SW)

Mill Creek Veterans Day Parade and Activities

The City of Mill Creek will begin the Veterans Day festivities with a gathering at the Veterans Monument at Library Park on Wednesday, November 11, 2015. The event will begin at 9:00 am and will consist of a flag raising ceremony, laying of a wreath at the monument, Chaplain’s prayer and closing with the singing of patriotic songs by the Mill Creek Chorale. (Of which your editor is a member)

I Corps to Salute Korea Vets

I Corps is hosting a Korean War Veterans Salute at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Nov. 13 at 10 am. The event will be open to the public and include interactive displays with service members along with the ceremony.

Bylaws Change Motion

It is moved that the Bylaws of Edmonds Post 8870, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, be amended as follows:

Article III, Meetings
Section 1 Place: The regular meeting place of this Post shall be at the Edmonds American Legion Hall Post 66, 117 6th Ave S, Edmonds WA 98020.
Section 2 Time: The stated meetings of the Post shall be on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, to be called to order at 6:00 PM.

Article VII, Control of Subsidiary Units
Section 4: For the purposes of this Article, the Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Cooties and its Auxiliary are governed by Article XI and XII respectively of the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedure of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and their respective By-Laws, Rules and Regulations.

These By-Laws will be adopted subject to the approval of the Commander-In-Chief and the Commander of the Department of Washington, Veterans of Foreign WArs of the United States on this 10th day of November, 2015, at ta regular meeting of this Post in the City of edmonds and County of Snohomish, State of Washington.

Edmonds 9/11 Memorial Park


Edmonds firefighters dedicated the Edmonds 9/11 Memorial Park on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015.

The centerpiece of the memorial is a one-ton steel I-beam recovered from the World Trade Center in New York City — Ground Zero for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Also included in the structure are new stainless steel and glass structures to honor the nearly 3,000 people killed during the terrorist attack, including 434 firefighters and 60 police officers. The memorial retains the existing Fallen Firefighter Sculpture, honoring local firefighters that have died in the line of duty as well as the Fallen Firefighter Flagpole which flies at half-staff for three days for each firefighter killed in the line of duty across America.

VFW Post 8870 Annual Christmas Party

NL1115_Christmas_PartyThe Post’s Christmas party will be held on Saturday, December 5 at 12:00 Noon, and lunch will be served at 1:00 PM. The annual pot-luck event will be held at the American Legion Hall in Edmonds. The American Legion and VFW Posts will supply turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, wine, beer, soft drinks, and coffee/tea. Families attending are asked to bring a dish that will be shared with others. We need side dishes, salads, rolls/bread, and desserts. Additionally, the “cost of admission” will be non-perishable food item(s) and/or unwrapped toys or new clothing items suitable for teenagers. Food donations will be given to the Edmonds Food Bank and the toys/clothes will be donated to Holly House. Members who plan on attending the party are asked to RSVP with Fred Apgar, providing him with your total number of guests and the pot-luck dish you will provide. You can contact Fred by e-mail (udorn7@gmail.com) or by phone (206-940-7502). Family members and friends are invited to attend the party. We all look forward to the fellowship.


The ever popular Christmas Party Raffle!

Once again, a feature of the Christmas party will be our big raffle, so bring plenty of cash for raffle tickets.

NL1115_Christmas_gift2This year Post 8870’s Auxiliary is supplying some special items for the raffle, (shown at right) including a Seahawks blanket, “A Tower of Goodies”, Tea Basket, and two posters donated bt Mike Reagan.

There will be much more for members and guests to try for. Always a fun part of the event!