News

Post’s Teachers of the Year

Post’s Teachers of the Year
Our three teachers of the year are shown with Sr. Vice Commander Fred Apgar who was the individual in charge of the selection process.  As Commander of the Post, I will say that Fred did a marvelous job and our three teachers are truly extraordinary educators.  Pictured with Fred are Bridget Mahoney-Fernandes from Edmonds Woodway High School; Jami Samione, middle school teacher from Maplewood K-8 Parent Cooperative in Edmonds; and Robert Allen, a primary grade teacher in Mardrona K-8.  The Post has submitted these individuals for consideration for District One Teachers of the Year, and, if chosen, will be submitted to Department for further consideration.  If they are chosen at the Department level they will be honored at the Mid-Winter Conference being held in Yakima in January.  And it would not be a far reach given this group of individuals to see one of them emerge as a candidate for the National VFW Teacher of the Year.  Rock made a comment that patriotism is now beginning to thrive in the schools, and these folks are the reason why.

New Members Inducted into the Post

New Members Inducted into the Post Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

Upon his graduation from Shoreline High School in 1992, Chris enlisted in the Army.  After completing basic training, he enrolled in a 58 week training program at Lowry AFB to learn how to use electronic testing equipment.  He served in Kuwait in 1994 during Operation Vigilant Warrior after which he was assigned to Ft. Lewis.  In 1997, Chris joined the Army Reserves, and he trained as a landing craft operator.  Chris transferred to the National Guard three years later, becoming a reconnaissance scout in the 81st Brigade.  In 2004, Chris was deployed to Iraq and served as a squad leader in a scout/sniper platoon.  Upon his return to the States, Chris served as a scout sniper instructor in Yakima.  During his second deployment to Iraq in 2008, Chris was as a scout platoon Sergeant, serving primarily in the area around Al Asad.  Currently, Chris is the 1st Sergeant in the 81st Brigade, Special Troops Battalion.  He and his wife live in Shoreline.

 

New Members Inducted into the Post Jim Blossey

Jim Blossey

Jim grew up in Spokane and graduated from high school in 1952. Shortly after his graduation, Jim enlisted in the Navy and attended boot camp at the San Diego Naval Training Facility. A short time later, he was assigned to the USS Walton, a destroyer escort. His ship participated in operations off the coast of North Korea. After serving on active duty for two years, Jim served in a Naval Reserve unit while he attended Washington State University. He graduated from WSU with a degree in communications, and for the next 18 years, Jim worked as a disc jockey. His radio career began in Boise, Idaho, and after working in Idaho for five years, he assumed a similar role in two Seattle radio stations. Eventually, Jim started an advertising company in Seattle. His agency is now located in Edmonds, and more than half of the work that he does is pro bono for several charitable organizations. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Edmonds. They have one son and one grandchild.

 

New Members Inducted into the Post Lee Champagne

Lee Champagne

Lee was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school. After serving two years on the destroyer USS Rich, he was accepted into the NROTC program at Oregon State. After being commissioned in 1971, Lee served for the next 27 years in a variety of assignments. His shipboard assignments included that of Communication Officer and Navigator, Operations Officer, Executive Officer, and as Captain of the guided missile destroyer, USS Callaghan. Lee graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA and served in different staff positions in Hawaii and Saudi Arabia. His last shore assignment was as the Commander of the U.S. Naval Base in Sasebo, Japan. After retiring from the Navy in 1987, Lee worked as a civilian employee for the Department of Defense for five years. In 2003, Lee was named Federal Coordinating Officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a position which he still holds. Lee and his wife, Jonelle, reside in Edmonds. Their daughter, Andrea, is a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps, and she is a JAG officer at Camp Pendleton.

 

New Members Inducted into the Post Gerry Burton

Gerry Burton

Gerald was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado. When he was in junior high school, his family moved to Friday Harbor, Washington. After graduating from high school in 1965, Gerald attended college for a year and a half prior to enlisting in the Army. He completed basic training at Ft. Lewis and Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Lee, Virginia. He was a Distinguished Graduate from AIT, which earned him an assignment to Vietnam. He worked as a supply clerk at Chu Lai during his one year tour. He returned to Ft. Lewis from which he was discharged in December 1971.

Post Helps Boy Scout Troop

Troop 221 in Mill Creek stored all their camping equipment in a storage shed behind a Mill Creek church which sponsored them.  Unfortunately, a low life stole everything leaving the troop with zippo in the way of gear.  The Post made a donation to assist them in replacing their gear and we received a very nice thank you card signed by all the boys and their Troop Master, Capt. Mike Kidd, USN (ret).  Hopefully, they will be back in business by the time summer arrives.

The Womens’ Auxiliary Corner—President Valerie Ehlers

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and here are my wishes that you all have a very Happy New Year! Please bring your ideas for a good place for us to have a membership drive to the January meeting. You might want to suggest a time when you would be able to help us with this membership drive too.

What other things would you like us to do in the next few months? What more might we do to help get you to our meetings? We need your ideas and your participation. You can email me at marlaina49@comcast.net or call me at 206/853-5673 with your comments and ideas. Happy New Year!

The Last Word

In March 1969, I got off an airplane in Yakima after 18 months in Vietnam and called my Dad to pick me up at the airport.  To kill the 10 or 15 minutes of time before my Dad could get to the airport (Yakima was a much smaller town in 1969); I dropped by the airport bar to grab a beer.  Like any small town, it just so happened I knew the bar maid since I had taken her to her Prom when she was a sophomore at another school.  She took a look at the ribbons I wore on my Class “A”s and commented it looked like I had “been around”.  She then proceeded to ignore me and charged me for my beer.  I realized I was back in the “world” and most of the “world” didn’t particularly like me or any Vietnam veterans.  Welcome home.  I tied to pass it off,  but since I had already received  a few ugly looks on the trip up from the Oakland Army Base where I had been discharged, I figured I’d better move on to civilian life ex post facto.  A few months later I ran into a couple of my high school buddies who had been “in country” and we wandered over to the local VFW Post where we knew the beer was cheap and figured we would join.  However, we had busted into the “an old timers bar” and that was somewhat akin into stumbling into a minefield wearing snowshoes and the chill in the air required long-johns.  We eventually were accepted by the Post but wandered away as we moved on, got our college degrees, married, and raised families.  With time, we circled back and became involved in VFW activities.  So when I hear that VFW isn’t relevant to the generation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, there is a bit of a familiar ring to it.  However, we need to reach out to those younger veterans as brothers and sisters because we know that they have “walked the walk” and paid their dues to become eligible as VFW comrades.  And we tip our hats to them because we know they put their asses on the line just as we did as did those who came before us and for that, we welcome them as equals.  We, as a Post and as an organization, will do all that we can to protect the benefits they have earned (operative word “earned”) and look out for their interests as they transition to civilian life by making sure that Congress and the VA keeps their commitments to this generation of veterans.  All of the members in our Post and every Post with which I am familiar, welcome the younger vets.  So let me reach out on behalf of all of our members to welcome our younger veterans by giving the traditional greeting between Vietnam Veterans – “Welcome Home”.

Post Passes Inspection with Flying Colors

The annual inspection was performed by District 1 inspector Elmer Johnson prior to the November 11th meeting.  The Post past the inspection as it has in the past years due to the meticulous accounting and attention to details by our (former—more later) Quartermaster Elizabeth Mather.  However, the inspection wasn’t without some stress.  While Elizabeth delivered the records to me to bring to the meeting, she fell and slashed her shin open, the cut requiring 36 stiches.  She’s on the mend and hopefully will have no lasting effects from the injury.

Post Members Make Impact in the Local Schools

Twenty members of our Post participated in the Veterans Day ceremonies at schools in the Edmonds and Mukilteo School districts.  Rock Roth organized the requests from the various schools and matched members with the various programs taking place.  I have included Rock’s “after-action sitrep” that he sent to the Post members who volunteered their time:

 

“BZ” is a Navy term for job well done.Each of you deserves a “BZ” for your participation in the Veterans Day presentations and assemblies at local schools.We have received nothing be accolades from teachers and staff but most importantly students.

I have been involved in these presentations for our Post for the last few years both as coordinator and presenter.During that time, I have witnessed a slow but steady transformation in school (and student) attitude.I strongly believe we are seeing a rebirth in the Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mukilteo area of patriotism in our schools – faculty and students.The Veterans Day Assemblies in which I personally participated were extremely well organized and from my perspective right on target.The vast majority of the students were respectful, attentive, and courteous which reflects well on the faculty.I also believe we were able to ‘connect’ with students and accurately explain (1) the true meaning of Veterans Day, (2) what a Veteran is,(3) why a Veteran ‘elects’ to serve, and (4) some of the more salient challenges faced by a Veteran in and following military service – not an easy task!

Each school coordinator specifically requested that we return next year and participate in their Veterans Day Program.Many also indicated a desire to use our speaker’s bureau at the selected times during the school year.I will be requesting volunteers.

I have to add that the participating Post members got as much out of the presentations as did the kids.  Please consider in participating next year.

QM Mather Resigns—Health Issues

In what can only be called “bad news” on all fronts, Elizabeth tendered her resignation due to health issues.  Elizabeth will be sorely missed but she has promised to assist Tom Hallums, our new QM, in his duties.  Elizabeth has been fighting lingering health issues for several years and gave the staff officers’ a heads up last year to begin looking for a new Quartermaster.  However, the staff (that would the Commander in particular) more or less put it on the back burner as everyone understood Elizabeth was excellent in her duties.    The number of “White Hats” she has received is testament to that fact and the last Post inspection simply reaffirms that assessment.  At the last meeting, her resignation was accepted and Tom was nominated and elected.  As Tom was the Officer of the Day, his replacement will be Jim Collins who has served in that roll in the past.