Author Archive: Editor

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.

Your 2019-20 Post officers

Your 2019-20 Post officers

We will be installing post officers for the 2019-20 VFW year at the May Post meeting, reflecting the results of elections held in April. 

Our new leadership roster: 

Commander: Rose Gilliland
Sr. Vice Commander: Carl Kurfess
Jr. Vice Commander: Duane Bowman
Quartermaster: Dennis Peterson
Chaplain: Dan Doyle
1st Year Trustee: Jim Murdock
2nd Year Trustee: Kerry Watkins
3rd Year Trustee: Don Stapleton 

Incoming Commander Gilliland reports the following in appointed positions:

Adjutant: Richard Simmons
Service Officer: Don Whedon
Judge Advocate: Jim Traner
Surgeon: Charles Gaul
Guard: John Shelton
Officer of the Day: Jim Collins 

We all are grateful to these our comrades for their willingness to accept a leadership role and the accompanying responsibility. Rose Gilliland, Duane Bowman and Jim Murdock & Jim Traner are stepping into new positions, while the rest of the group are continuing in positions held, in some cases, for a number of years. As the public likes to say these days to us vets: “Thank you for your service”. 

Edmonds Post 8870 — All-State Post for 2018-19

Edmonds Post 8870 - All State Post for 2018-19

We have received word from our District & Department leadership that Edmonds Post 8870 has met the requirements for All-State Post for the current VFW year.

While Quartermaster Dennis Peterson and Commander Mike Denton will wear the “White Hat”, it is worn in recognition of all that has been accomplished by our entire membership in the past year. 

Ours is a busy post, with many members participating in community service and keeping an eye out for new members on a regular basis. 

Particular thanks go out to Past Post and District Commander Jim Traner for his guidance, District 1 staff, especially Commander Doug White, for special help and leadership and our stalwart Quartermaster, Dennis Peterson. 

The Commander’s Corner

The Commander’s Corner

As we approach the installation of our new Commander at the May meeting, I want to thank all of you for the honor and privilege of serving as your Commander for these past two years. It has been a busy time, has passed swiftly and I have learned much. 

At the District meeting of commanders recently, District 1 Commander Doug White told me that if he were not already a VFW member and free to join any post he liked, he would probably choose 8870. He said he very much enjoys visiting our post and finds our meetings among the most enjoyable of the district. High praise indeed and it is you, our members who deserve those accolades. Commander White has agreed to be our installing officer at the May meeting. My most visible role going forward, will be to continue to act as your newsletter editor. 

Memorial Day Poppy Distribution

Memorial Day Poppy Distribution

As has been our longstanding practice, the Post will be distributing poppies on Friday and Saturday, May 24 & 25 of Memorial Day weekend. We will be at four locations: The QFC stores at Mukilteo Speedway, Edmonds Westgate & West Lynnwood (196th & 76th) and at the Fred Meyer at 164th and Alderwood Mall Blvd.(All of these locations are Kroger Co. stores and we are grateful for their support. Other notable grocery chains have turned us down in the past) 

You can sign up any time on the Post website. Sign up sheets will also be available once again at the May Post meeting. This really needs to be an “All Hands Evolution” as we say in the USN, so please step up and take a couple of shifts. We very much need more help at the West Lynnwood QFC. If you have willing friends and family, we can use all the help we can get. 

Poppy distribution is the sole source of funds for our Relief Fund and we need lots of people handing out poppies and taking money. 

It is a fun and rewarding experience to honor our fallen as we raise funds, with the added opportunity to hear donors’ stories of their own or family members’ service and share our own. 

In Flanders Fields the Poppies blow, among the crosses, row on row… 

Introducing Rose Gilliland, our New Commander

 Introducing Rose Gilliland, our New Commander

Our incoming Commander, Rose Gilliland seems to be a bit camera shy, despite being one of the more active members of our post for quite some time, but we were able to dredge up this pic of her from the presentation of a donation to one of our veterans homes in 2016. 

For the past several years, she has been a valued member of our Relief Committee, our Jr. Vice Commander and a faithful distributor of poppies as well as just about everything else we do. 

An Army Veteran of Desert Storm, she joined the Army in 1986 was stationed with B Co. 3/9th Aviation Regiment, Ft. Lewis, Wa. In 1989 she was sent to Korea to join 2nd Battalion 501st Avn Regiment at. Camp Humphreys. Having left active service in 1990 Rose was recalled for Desert Storm in 1991, again with B Co. 3/9th Aviation Regiment at Ft. Lewis. Rose lives and works in Mukilteo. 

She will be installed as Commander in ceremonies at the May Post meeting. 

April Speaker Casey Davis of Edmonds Food Bank

April Speaker Casey Davis of Edmonds Food Bank

At the April Post meeting, Casey Davis, Executive Director of Edmonds Food Bank spoke to us about the Food Bank’s operations and it’s potential impact on veterans in need. 

The mission of the food bank, operating out of the Edmonds United Methodist Church, is to provide, free of charge, fresh and nutritious food to families needing help who are located in Edmonds and in the surrounding communities of South Snohomish County. 

Hunger affects many of us. One life transition – job loss or change, health issue, family crisis, cuts in benefits – can make it so we must choose between healthy food and other necessities. Often, we just need a little assistance. The Carol Rowe Memorial Edmonds Food Bank operates to provide that help. Open on Mondays & Tuesdays, 50 weeks a year. 

Davis points out that Edmonds has the largest percentage of veterans (11%) in its population of any city in Snohomish County, with far more of them in need of some level of help than we might think. 

Davis discussed with post members some ideas of the kind of assistance VFW might offer to reach those veterans in need, such as having cover wearing members as volunteers on food distribution days, holding regular food donation drives, among others. We agreed that discussion among our staff and membership is in order toward reaching out to veterans who might be in need of food assistance.

From the Bookshelf

by Carl Kurfess

War Animals — The Unsung Heroes of World War II

By Robin L. Hutton 

War Animals -The Unsung Heroes of World War II. By Robin L. Hutton

“Today, war is a high-tech affair. The modern soldier relies on advanced weapons and communications technology as his essential support. But in World War II, soldiers relied on an entirely different kind of support–a kind of support soldiers have used since ancient times. Animals. Dogs, horses, and pigeons became World War II soldiers’ best friends in battle, serving to carry weapons, wounded men, and messages through artillery fire. In War Animals, bestselling author Robin Hutton brings the animal heroes of World War II to vivid life with the heroic true tales of: Famed pigeon G.I. Joe, who saved an Italian village and British troops by flying 20 miles in 20 minutes to carry a message to Allied forces; Chips, a German Shepherd trained as a sentry who attacked an Italian machine gun team, sustaining powder burns and saving his handler’s life; Bing, a paradog who jumped out of a plane on D-Day, landed in a tree, and once on the ground helped his handlers locate the enemy. A heartwarming and sometimes even hilarious history of bonafide heroes of feather and fur, War Animals is a World War II story you’ve never read before.”– Provided by publisher. 

I found this book quite interesting, especially the War Dog part. The US Army used dogs as sentry, scout dogs, sled and pack, mine detection, and messenger dogs. The US Coast Guard used them mainly for sentry duties, and the US Marines used them as scout dogs. Pigeons were used as message carriers, horses and mules were used it the Italian theater, carrying supplies up hills and mountains that vehicles could not traverse. 

The book also covers the British use of animals, especially rescue dogs who located trapped civilians in bombed out buildings from German bombing attacks. This book introduced me to the British People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) Dicken Medal which was awarded to some of these outstanding animals.