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New Post Officers Installed

New Post Officers Installed
Led by Commander Rose Gilliland the new Post officers take the oath.

The newly elected officers for the VFW year 2019-20 were installed at the May Post meeting in ceremonies led by Past District and Post Commander Jim Traner, in preparation for the official beginning of their term at time of the Department Convention in June.

New Post Officers Installed
Commander Mike Denton hands the gavel off to installing officer, Past District Commander Jim Traner to begn the ceremony.

Elected officers are Rose Gilliland, Commander, Carl Kurfess, Sr. Vice Commander, Duane Bowman, Jr. Vice Commander, Dennis Peterson, Quartermaster, Dan Doyle, Chaplain. Also elected were three Post Trustees; Jim Murdock, Kerry Watkins and Don Stapleton. Appointed positions were announced by incoming Commander Gilliland to include Dick Simmons, Adjutant, Don Whedon and Paul Russo, Service Officers, Jim Traner, Judge Advocate, Charles Gaul, Surgeon, John Shelton, Guard and Jim Collin, Officer of the Day. 

We congratulate all of our new officers and offer our gratitude for their willingness to serve. 

In Memoriam

Longest Serving & Newest Members Lost

Benton Webb 

Benton Webb

Ben was born in Lafayette, TN and enlisted in the Navy in Nashville in 1943. He served in the Pacific Theatre, Solomon Islands. He was with the 152nd Landing Craft Repair Unit (LCRU) as a 1st Class Ships Cook 1943-45. He returned to Norfolk, VA Naval Base in July, 1945 and got married. He and Mary Elizabeth were in New York City Times Square for the VJ Day celebration. They were married for 65 years. Ben joined VFW in 1945 and at his death was the longest serving member of our post at 73 years. He was a member of VFW Post 3694 in Seattle after the war and served as the Post Athletic Director. Benton was a retired baker and served as a General Manager for Hansen Bakery and Best Pie. He was 97 years old.

Benton Webb

Ben was born in Lafayette, TN and enlisted in the Navy in Nashville in 1943. He served in the Pacific Theatre, Solomon Islands. He was with the 152nd Landing Craft Repair Unit (LCRU) as a 1st Class Ships Cook 1943-45. He returned to Norfolk, VA Naval Base in July, 1945 and got married. He and Mary Elizabeth were in New York City Times Square for the VJ Day celebration. They were married for 65 years. Ben joined VFW in 1945 and at his death was the longest serving member of our post at 73 years. He was a member of VFW Post 3694 in Seattle after the war and served as the Post Athletic Director. Benton was a retired baker and served as a General Manager for Hansen Bakery and Best Pie. He was 97 years old. 


Russ Jason Pitner

Russ Jason Pitner

At his death, the newest member of our Post, inducted at the May 2019 Post meeting, Russ was an army veteran of 12 years, a staff Sergent stationed in Germany for 10 years. He commanded teams of 35 men through the Bosnian-Serbian conflict serving with the 11th Armored (“Black Horse”) Cavalry. Raised in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, he grew up with three brothers. Russ was 54. He is survived by his wife, Laurie. 

Russ Jason Pitner

Russ suffered an aneurism on Saturday, June 1 and was declared brain dead by Edmonds Swedish Hospital shortly there after. Both of his kidneys have found homes in the bodies of people who have spent every day for years waiting for the gift of life. 

Post Member Brad Andrew Volunteers for Honor Flight

Post Member Brad Andrew Volunteers for Honor Flight

Brad Andrews, one of our newer members and a Vietnam Veteran, volunteered to accompany 93 year old WWII veteran Frank Muramatsu as his “Guardian” on the spring Honor flight. Brad paid his expenses out of his own pocket in order to perform this service. 

Muramatsu was one of those young Japanese American warriors who stepped up to serve their country despite the treatment their families received during that time. Frank served in the Pacific, unlike so many of his comrades of Japanese descent. 

In addition to his personal services, Brad also donated 4,000 Alaska air miles to Puget Sound Fisher House through the “Hero Miles” program. 

Another Successful Poppy Drive!

Another Successful Poppy Drive!
Above, Sr. Vice Commander Carl Kurfess offers a poppie to a QFC customer

Once again the Post turned out to staff the usual four locations for our “Buddy Poppy” distribution for Memorial Day, in remembrance of our fallen comrades. 

Over $ 15,000 was raised to recharge our relief fund. Many thanks to all who participated, which was nearly all of our active membership, turning out in less than ideal weather to ensure that the Post will be able to continue to fund all of the causes we support. The crew at the Speedway QFC led the way, but all locations produced well.  Special recognition goes out to our comrades who staffed the two doors at QFC West Lynnwood, who were out in the weather all day both days.

Another Successful Poppy Drive!
Staffing one of two doors at the Speedway QFC are, l to R, Linda Blossey, Bryan Rowe, Past Commander Jim Blossey and Jay Hansen.
Another Successful Poppy Drive!

“In Flanders Fields the poppies blow…”

Edmonds Veterans Plaza

Information Kiosk Dedicated 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Information Kiosk Dedicated
Mike Schindler explains the kiosk functions to Sylvana Rinehart.

In a brief ceremony on the afternoon of Memorial Day, members of Post 8870 gathered with guests to dedicate the new Edmonds Veterans Plaza information Kiosk. 

Edmonds Mayor David Earling spoke briefly about the importance of the Plaza to Edmonds veterans and the city at large, followed by comments from Veterans Plaza Chair Ron Clyborne. 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Information Kiosk Dedicated
Edmonds Mayor David Earling

The information kiosk is designed to assist visiting veterans in sourcing a variety of benefits and assistance, by giving access from the plaza to the WAserves GreaterPuget Sound web site. Prominently displayed on the home page is the Veteran Crisis Line number  (1-800-273-8255) providing ready access to emergency assistance. The kiosk operates by touch screen, making it easy to use. Soon, it will contain a data base of the names and service information of all of the individual veterans honored in the plaza and a guide to locate the veteran’s individual pavers, benches, etc. Also in planning is a cover over the kiosk to offer protection from weather, both to the equipment and the user. Stop by and take it for a test drive soon. 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Information Kiosk Dedicated
Ron Clyborne, Veterans Plaza Chair.

Korean War Vets Honored with Medal

Korean War Vets Honored with Medal
Consul Lee presenting the medal

As we were planning for the dedication of the Veterans Plaza information kiosk, Heidi Audette, of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs called to ask if we might have a Memorial Day Ceremony planned at which the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal could be presented to eligible Korean War Vets. The result was to turn a relatively low key dedication to one much more widely attended and that allowed us to join the Republic of Korea General Consul’s office in honoring twenty some veterans with the medal. 

Said Audette; “I wanted to take a moment to thank you and the members of Post 8870 for your generosity and hospitality during Monday’s ceremony! The Consul General’s Office and WDVA are very grateful that you allowed the Ambassador for Peace Medals to be presented. You obviously have the support of your community and in turn you are providing great support to the veterans and families who call Edmonds home! 

Korean War Vets Honored with Medal

Thank you again, and I hope to have the opportunity to work with you again in the future!”

John Shelton and Daniel White Scholarships Awarded

At the May Post meeting, Three of our four 2019 scholarship recipients were present. All three read their essays to the assembled membership and were presented with certificates recognizing them as the winners by scholarship chair Don Stapleton. This year’s scholarships were presented in the names of and to honor Post members John Shelton and Dan White. A fourth awardee was unable to attend. 

The Awardees are shown in this photo, (left to right) Ella Dahl of Kamiak H.S. , Carson Tessier of Edmonds- Woodway H.S. and Natalie Whitlock, also of Edmonds Woodway. Not present was Ruth Berhane of Scriber Lake H.S. Also shown are Commander-Elect Rose Gilliland, Sr. Vice Commander Carl Kurfess, Guard and Honoree John Shelto and Scholarship Chair Don Stapleton 

John Shelton and Daniel White Scholarships Awarded

VFW Post 8870 Scholarship Honorees

Shelton at the Edmonds Woodway H.S. awards night with Carson Tessier
Shelton at the Edmonds Woodway H.S. awards night with Carson Tessier

John Shelton enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam in 1959 where he served as a sniper. He was severely wounded in Vietnam and has been confined to wheelchair ever since. He went to UCLA and four years later emerged with a baccalaureate degree in psychology going on to earn a masters degree and ultimately a PhD in behavioral psychology. Dr Shelton had a long and successful practice ministering to thousands of patients. 

VFW Post 8870 Scholarship Honorees
Dan White

Dan White is a Seattle (and Doe Bay, WA) native. He joined the Army in 1946 and was part of occupation forces in Korea. After he completed Field Artillery Officer Candidate School at Ft Sill, OK and Airborne School, he served again in Korea. He became part of the Army Reserve in 1953 and retired as a Colonel in 1989. Awards include a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service and the Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. Dan received degrees from Western Washington Univ and the UW. He was a teacher and college administrator. 

Memorial Day at Edmonds Cemetery

Memorial Day at Edmonds Cemetery
The VFW Post 8870 Color Guard led the way

Opening the event was the VFW and American Legion color guard joined by Edmonds Scout units. The flag was raised by Post 66 Commander Les Abel and Post 8870 Commander Mike Denton. 

Olivia Olson, an Edmonds- Woodway High School graduate, returned as a featured speaker, and once again recited her essay from memory to the appreciative crowd. Olson, who just finished her freshman year at the University of Southern California, has been speaking at the Memorial Day ceremonies since she was an 8th grader at Brier Terrace Middle School — the result of winning middle and high school student essay contests sponsored by VFW Post 8870. “You are not forgotten,” Olson began. “We remember your bravery. We honor your response to our nation’s call to arms.” 

Memorial Day at Edmonds Cemetery
Commander-Elect Rose Gilliland rings the bell as Commander Mike Denton reads the names of Snohomish Count POW/MIAs from all 20th Century wars.

Mayor David Earling also spoke on the topic of remembrance of Prisoners of War and those missing in action. The White table ceremony, focus of this year’s event honoring POW/MIAs was conducted by Post 8870 Chaplain Dan Doyle. 

Memorial Day at Edmonds Cemetery
Chris Edwards led the honor guard from the Washington National Guard.