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Post 8870 Student Winner Receives VFW State Recognition By Fred M. Apgar

Post 8870 Student Winner Receives VFW State Recognition

Olivia Olsen is congratulated by her parents, Vivian and Greg

At its mid-winter convention, the Washington State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) recognized an Edmonds- Woodway High School junior for her entry in the VFW Voice of Democracy Audio Essay contest. Olivia Olson’s essay was awarded third place honors. The audio essay contest is open to all high school students, and Olivia’s essay addressed this year’s theme, “My Responsibility to America”. The convention was held in Vancouver, WA on January 21, 2017, and at the awards banquet that evening, Olivia was recognized for her essay. In addition to a plaque, she also received a scholarship.

For the third consecutive year, Olivia had won first place honors in the Voice of Democracy Essay contest for VFW Post #8870, Edmonds. After being named winner at the Post level, Olivia won District 1 honors, which qualified her for consideration at the state level. As a middle school student, Olivia was a three-time winner of the Patriot Pen Essay for the Edmonds Post. Olivia is a junior at Edmonds-Woodway High School and has earned an outstanding GPA while pursuing a rigorous academic school. Olivia is a member of her school’s Varsity tennis and cross country teams and is a member of the Debate Club. Her passion is public speaking. Olivia lives in Edmonds with her parents, Greg and Vivian, who are both graduates of the United States Air Force Academy.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Underway

Opportunities remain to honor individual veterans 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza

The Edmonds Veterans Plaza to honor and remember all who serve

How to be a part of the Plaza 

Now that basic funding for the Edmonds Veterans Plaza has been assured, the focus of public participation has switched to personal pavers and other naming opportunities. “We want to make sure that every Edmonds resident who wants to honor a veteran has that opportunity,” said Ron Clyborne, co-chair of the Plaza committee.

The Edmonds Veterans Plaza is a community-wide project designed to honor all U.S. veterans—past, present and future. The project is spearheaded by the local chapters of the VFW and American Legion, as well as volunteer committee members from all sectors of the Edmonds community, both public and private.

Pavers are 12-inch square tiles that will comprise the walkway in the memorial garden area of the plaza. Many —if not all—will be engraved with the name and military information of individuals who have served, whether living or deceased. Donors of $500 or more to the Plaza are entitled to have a paver engraved honoring a veteran of their choice. For those to whom the $500 requirement would present a financial hardship, there are a limited number of grants available.

The City of Edmonds has made a site available for the Plaza directly adjoining the City Council chambers at 5th Avenue North and Bell Street. The City Park Department has agreed to the ongoing care the facility. The triangular area is presently concrete paved and planted with trees and ornamentals, but the new Veterans Plaza layout will change the character of the plot dramatically.

The focal point of the design will be a long stone wall, approximately four feet high, divided into 10- to 12- foot sections. Between the sections there will be gently flowing waterfalls. The walls will be decorated with symbols of the five military services on one and the plaza theme and appropriate quotes on others.

A separate wall will remember those local warriors who sacrificed their lives in service to our country. Another will thank major donors that made the Edmonds Veterans Plaza possible.

Benches and stone seating cubes will be distributed throughout the site. A small memorial garden will provide contemplative seating and other silent tributes, all designed to contribute to a spirit of remembrance and healing for families and troubled veterans

NL0217_Veterans_Plaza2The second fund raising goal of $572,000 was met in mid-January. Financial contributions are still being accepted however, with a digital informational kiosk, drinking fountain and other enhancements now being targeted. Donations can be made at edmondsveteransplaza.com.

Construction of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza is underway, with the public opening, ribbon cutting and dedication planned for Memorial Day, May 29.

February’s Speaker Program is a stunner!

February’s Speaker Program is a stunner!Retired Navy Captain Mike Montgomery was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “heroism in aerial flight on Dec 5th, 1971.” But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of his historic ditching of a P-3 Orion sub-hunter in Subic Bay. It was the first successful ditching of that aircraft, and it’s still talked about today.

Capt. Montgomery’s dramatic and electrifying tale puts you in that airplane with his crew as they struggle to overcome a cascading series of engine failures and systems malfunctions, leading – very quickly – to …. well, you’re just going to have to be there and hear it for yourself.

Come, hear and see what it’s like to make Navy history, with photos of actual damage


Captain Montgomery is a long time resident of Edmonds, where he has operated a disaster planning consulting firm for many years. He is also a frequent contractor for FEMA, in disaster recovery operations all over the country. 

Welcome our newest Member, William Fox

William FoxBill Fox is from Oak Park, Illinois. He enlisted in the Army in 1966 and served until 1972. He was a rotary aviator. He served in Vietnam May 1968 – May 1969 in C/3/17 Cav. He Jlew armed LOH’s in search & destroy missions in support of the 25QR ID Tay Ninh area. Bill later Jlew VIP Huey’s in Germany with 5QR Corps Aviation. Awards include the Air Medal and Bronze Star. He is now an accountant and resides in Edmonds with wife Dana. They have twin daughters and 2 granddaughters.

Millions More Vets to Be Able to Shop Exchanges Online

Millions More Vets to Be Able to Shop Exchanges OnlineEffective Date of Change: Veterans Day 11/11/17 

After two years of study and debate, the Department of Defense has made a policy change, effective next November, to allow 16 million honorably discharged veterans to shop online for discounted military exchange products.

Months of preparation are needed to make e-shopping portals more robust and to allow the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) time to create software for verifying veterans’ status using Department of Veterans Affairs records. For details visit: https://www.shopmyexchange.com/veterans

From an article published on The Military Advantage Blog, 01/17/17. 

Post Recognizes Local Winners of National VFW Essay Contests

At the January Post meeting, we recognized several local students as winners in the annual National VFW Essay contest. One of those honored, Edmonds-Woodway High School student Olivia Olsen, won first place for the third year in a row.


Youth Essay ContestYouth Essay Contest

The theme for this year’s Youth Essay contest for grades 4 and 5 was “Why Are Men and Women Who Serve in the Military Special?” Winners were Finley Gonzales, a 4th grade student at Endeavour Elementary School and Margaret Moon, a 5th grade student at Mukilteo Elementary School. Runners up at this grade level who also attend Mukilteo Elementary School were Joel Brannon, Abbey Summerville, and Audrey Stewart. Two 5th graders, Trevor Coble and Ethan Jacobsen, who attend Brier Elementary School, were also selected as runners-up. Margaret was presented with a $100 scholarship from the Post, and each runner up received a $25 scholarship.


NL0217_Patriots_PenPatriot’s Pen Contest 

This contest is open for Middle school students in grades 6, 7, and 8, and the theme this year was “The America I Believe In.” The winning entry was submitted by Mohuwa Wahid, of Explorer Middle School. Mohuwa follows her sister, Lara, previously a two-time winner in this competition. She received a $100 scholarship. Sara Hatab of Olympic View Middle School was named runner-up. She received a $25 scholarship.


NL0217_Voice_of_DemocracyVoice of Democracy 

Edmonds-Woodway 11th grader Olivia Olsen garnered 1st 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 Responsibility to America.” Lara Wahid, a 9th grade student at Kamiak High School was awarded runner-up honors.


Each of the students who won their respective contests, read their essays to the nearly 80 parents, family members, and VFW members who were in attendance at the Jan. 10 meeting.

The post’s student essay competition is coordinated by Fred Apgar who also serves as post chaplain. The winning entries have been forwarded to Washington State VFW for consideration at the district and state levels.

Vietnam: The War That Killed Trust

Excerpted from an essay by Karl Marlantes published in the New York Times Jan.7, 2017 

The legacy of the war still shapes America, even if most of us are too young to remember it. Vietnam changed the way we looked at politics. We have switched from naïveté to cynicism. One could argue that they are opposites, but I think not. With naïveté you risk disillusionment, which is what happened to me and many of my generation. Cynicism, however, stops you before you start. It alienates us from “the government,” a phrase that today connotes bureaucratic quagmire. It threatens democracy, because it destroys the power of the people to even want to make change.

Vietnam: The War That Killed TrustI live near Seattle, hardly Donald J. Trump territory. Most of my friends cynically deride Mr. Trump’s slogan, Make America Great Again, citing all that was wrong in the olden days. Indeed, it wasn’t paradise, particularly for minorities. But there’s some truth to it. We were greater then.

It was the war — not liberalism, not immigration, not globalization — that changed us.

The Vietnam War ushered in the end of the draft, and the creation of what the Pentagon calls the “allvolunteer military.” But I don’t. I call it the all-recruited military. Volunteers are people who rush down to the post office to sign up after Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Center gets bombed. Recruits, well, it’s more complicated.

The Vietnam War continues to define us, even if we have forgotten how. But it’s not too late to remember, and to do something about it.


Karl Marlantes, the author of “What It Is Like to Go to War” and the novel “Matterhorn,” was a Marine in the Vietnam War. His essay is the first of in a series about the Vietnam War by veterans and historians, being published on Sundays by the New York Times. It can be read in its entirety online at : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/opinion/sunday/vietnam-the-war-that-killed-trust.html 

Veterans Day Poster Contest Open

Veterans Day Poster Contest Open

The 2017 Veterans Day Poster Contest is now open for submissions from all artists. The selected poster will be distributed to all VA facilities and military installations, as well as serve as the cover of the official Veterans Day program at Arlington National Cemetery. The submission deadline is April 15. From the following link, Get additional submission details and submit your entry today.

Introducing: Rotary 5030 Veterans Affairs Task Force Committee

Mission: Redeem Homeless Veterans from the streets of our communities, and assist Veterans for their Total Recovery, regardless of time.

RD=5030 Veterans Affairs Task Force Committee is a joint partnership with Rotarians, Veteran Service Organizations, Local Government, Health Experts and Citizen-Patriots who wish to improve the quality of life for US Veterans and their families. We will speak out on veterans’ issues and influence public policy to positively resolve an important community crises affecting all in our society.

We would like to invite interested Rotarians to participate in this new Partnership Task Force. Please, RSVP to reserve your seat as soon as possible.

Rotary District 5030 Veterans Affairs Task Force Committee

RD-5030 Veterans Affair Task Force Committee meeting:
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
7-9 pm
Shoreline Community College
Student Union Building (SUB) Small Dining Room
Address: 16101 Greenwood Ave N, Shoreline, WA 98133

For additional information, please, contact Committee Chair: Army Veteran Raymond W. Coffey, Shoreline Rotary Club via phone: 206-510-8428 and/or email: rwLJ3coffey@gmail.com

Note: Several of our comrades in Post 8870 are active Rotarians. Our Post expects to have a representative at the Feb 22 event.