Newsletter Articles

Post Members Participate in the 111th “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade

With three 100 year old members! 


A large contingent of VFW and American Legion members participated in the annual “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade, stepping off at noon on a beautiful July 4 in downtown Edmonds. Jim Traner arranged for and towed a flat bed trailer equipped with chairs for those who may walk with difficulty, as others marched along behind the colors.

Post Members Particpate in the 111th “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade

Three of our comrades attending the parade this year celebrate reaching the century mark. 

Ed Shepherd (100 on July 4), Don Raliegh and Buck Weaver all will reach that milestone this year.

Post Members Particpate in the 111th “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade

At above, the VFW Post 8870 color guard leads the parade.

Thanks to Dick Simmons for organizing the color guard and to its members for their efforts. Walking a mile and a half with those flags under a warm sun is a bit of work.

American Gold Star Mothers 

Post Members Particpate in the 111th “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade American Gold Star Mothers

The American Gold Star Mothers brought something new to the parade this year, arranging for banners with the images of theiir fallen loved ones to be carried in the parade.

Chamber organizers passed on this comment:

“I attended with my young family and thought it was the best parade yet (and they are all good!). In particular, I especially enjoyed the group who brought huge pictures of soldiers from our area who had died in service. It was very moving and special and felt patriotic to STAND as they passed and explain to my children why we STAND.

Naturally, we also love the veterans when they go by and stand for them too.”

Post Members Particpate in the 111th “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade

Above, VFW Post 8870 member Kerry Watkings distributes flags for parade goers along the route.

Below, Kerry is joined by Post 8870 Quartermaster Dennis Peterson.

Post Members Particpate in the 111th “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade

Photos courtesy Edmonds Chamber of Commerce

Ed Shepherd Celebrates Centennial: born on the 4th of July

The World War II veteran, who survived the sinking of a Navy ship in 1943 and raised a family that honors his humor as well as his heroism, celebrated his 100th birthday on the Fourth of July.

Ed Shepherd Celebrates Centennial

Shepherd waved from a float during the parade in Edmonds on the 4th. Then he gathered with loved ones at a post-parade barbecue and party at the Elks Lodge. He shared a long table with four generations of his family, including his brother, daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Friends sat around other tables.

Edgar Shepherd survived the sinking of the USS Helena in the Battle of Kula Gulf. The light cruiser, which had come through the Pearl Harbor attack, was tasked with protecting other ships in the South Pacific during the Guadalcanal campaign. The Helena went down on July 6, 1943. Nearly 170 crewmen died. Shepherd was part of a group that clung to a lifeboat.

Ed Shepherd Celebrates CentennialHe kept a dollar bill signed by the sailors who survived. It was one of two bills he had in his pocket at the time. He used the other bill, a five, to pay for telegrams so they could tell their families they were alive.

Shepherd was born in Pennsylvania, one of four brothers. He joined the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. On the USS Helena, he worked in the plotting room, which included the control system for the guns. He also fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

After finishing his time at sea, he helped start a Navy reserve center in Colorado before moving to California to help his uncle open a doughnut shop. He got a job in Los Angeles at an electrical company where he worked for 24 years.

A friend persuaded him to visit Seattle, and Shepherd bought a house in Edmonds. He lives there with daughter Paula Kilbourne.

She once offered to take him whitewater rafting. He turned her down. She asked if he didn’t think she’d be a good guide. That’s not it, he told her. He clung to a rubber raft, adrift in dark waters after the USS Helena sank. He wasn’t interested in getting on a raft again.

Photos The Herald, Article excerpted from The Herald article by Kari Bray, July 5, 2018 

The South Snohomish County Veterans of Foreign Wars Honor Guard

The South Snohomish County Veterans of Foreigh Wars Honor GuardMembers of the VFW Honor Guard perform military ceremonies for deceased veterans. Included, above center is Post 8870 Chaplain Dan Doyle at a recent graveside ceremony. Members interested in participating are encouraged to join these comrades in their service mission. Chaplain Doyle can assist you with further information.

The eight-point Veteran’s Creed 

  1. I am an American Veteran 
  2. I proudly served my country 
  3. I live the values I learned in the military 
  4. I continue to serve my community, my country and my fellow veterans 
  5. I maintain my physical and mental discipline 
  6. I continue to lead and improve 
  7. I make a difference 
  8. I honor and remember my fallen comrades 

In Memoriam: Ernest H. Luke Sr. USMC-China, USA Korea

Pvt. E.H. Luke, USMC, China, 1946

Ernest H. (Ernie) Luke, Sr, the brother-in-law of Post Commander Mike Denton was buried next to Mike’s sister Karen on July 9, in Kennewick, WA. Military honors were rendered by a Marine Corps contingent and by Kennewick VFW Post 5785. He was 89 years old.

Three weeks prior to his death, he was awarded the Korean Peace Medal by the Korean Consul General along with other Korea Vets in a ceremony in Richland.

Luke enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of 17 and served in China at the end of WWII and later in the army on MacArthur’s staff in Korea.

Ernest H. Luke Sr. USMC-China, USA Korea

The service of the Marines in China at the end of the war is not well known, but involved receiving the surrender of Japanese forces remaining and protecting those troops from communist forces. A detailed history can be found via this link.

Originally from Kentucky, Luke attended college on the GI Bill, receiving a degree in Physics (later a masters degree) and worked in avionics design with Boeing & Rockwell, and more recently in security systems design at Hanford, where he retired. He leaves his third wife Verla, and the children of Karen and Verla to whom he was step-father, as well as his own three children, Ernest Jr, Susan and David.

Ernest H. Luke Sr. USMC-China, USA Korea

Reagan Awarded Polish Medal

Reagan Awarded Polish Medal

As we have previously reported, Mike Reagan produced set of “Fallen Hero” portraits (shown below in poster form) for the families of Polish KIAs of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts, which were of course well received by those families in Poland.

On the Sunday before Fathers Day, Mike was awarded a Polish medal in honor of his work at a ceremony in Redmond. The medal was presented by Major General Cezary Wisniewski of the Polish Air Force. The General is known as the Polish F16 “Ace” and trainer for their air force and is expected to be the next Commanding General of the Polish Armed Forces.

Mike also learned that three Polish Soldiers are riding their bikes across the USA to remember their fallen, and began in LA recently. They are headed to the East Coast. They stop everyday and set-up a display of their fallen. “Yep, they are using posters made up of my portraits to show the USA who their fallen are”. They all fell, 66 of them, fighting with American Special Forces.


Michael G. Reagan Portrait Foundation

“Our mission is to honor the American Fallen Heroes for their ultimate sacrifice during the war against terrorism. The foundation will provide the resources to produce and distribute to each family a hand-drawn portrait of their Fallen Hero, created by artist Michael G. Reagan, free of charge. Each portrait is intended to show our Love and Respect for these Heroes and their families.”

Mike has drawn over 5,000 portraits of deceased veterans.


Memorial Day at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery

Post 8870 Honors the Fallen 

Memorial Day at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery

VFW Post 8870 color guard is accompanied by piccolo player Preston Aitkens and Drummer Ian Alvarez. Photo by Teresa Whippel,

Once again, as has been our tradition (with our comrades of American Legion Post 66), Edmonds VFW Post 8870 was the core of the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery. The focus of this year’s ceremonies was the service and sacrifice of our Post 9/11 veterans.

The Post Color Guard, led by Jr. Vice Commander Rose Gilliland, paraded to the flag pole, whereupon American Legion Post 66 Commander Jim Collins and VFW Post 8870 Commander Mike Denton hoisted the colors with the assistance of Les Abel. Dick Simmons once again organized the color guard.

Past Commander Jim Blossey provided the White Table Ceremony; Sr. Vice Commander Carl Kurfess and Jr. Vice Commander Rose Gilliland the conducted Ship’s Bell ceremony at which the names of those fallen Post 9/11 were read. Chris Edwards spoke to the crowd of his experience in post Iraq/Afgnanistan deployments.

The program ended with a rifle salute by the Washington National Honor Guard – Camp Murray and Taps by our own 1st Sgt Chris Edwards.

Present Arms! 

Members of the Memorial Day at Edmonds Memorial CemeteryWashington National Guard Honor Guard present arms at the presentation of the colors, as do VFW Post 8870 members Norm Goldstein and Amos Chapman, with Past Commander Terry Crabtree in the background.

Memorial Day at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery

Memorial Day at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery

Chris Edwards speaks at the Memorial Day ceremony on behalf of himself and his comrades of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Memorial Day at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery

Past Commander Jim Blossey presents the White Table Ceremony.

Photos courtesy My Edmonds News 

Olivia Olson Reads her Voice of Democracy Essay on Memorial Day

Olivia Olson Reads her Voice of Democracy Essay on Memorial DayFor five straight years — since she was an 8th grader at Brier Terrace Middle School — Olivia Olson has been a fixture during Edmonds Memorial Day events and at VFW Post 8880 awards ceremonies. Her first speech in 2014 came as the winner of 8870’s Patriot’s Pen essay contest for middle schoolers. That was followed by four more winning speeches — one for each year of high school — in the Voice of Democracy contest for high school students. Olivia is known for memorizing her speeches and using no notes when she addresses the crowd. She has also been the winner in VFW District 1 Voice of Democracy competetion.

Awarded the Fred M. Apgar scholarship, she will attend the University of Southern California in the fall of 2018.

Post 8870 2018 Scholarships Awarded

At the May Post meeting, our 2018 scholarships were awarded to four area high school seniors. each in the amount of $ 1,500.00. These scholarships were named to honor the following post members and their service to their country:

  1. Fred Diedrich: Fred Diedrich was a paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment who jumped into Normandy on June 6th, 1944. The Fred Diedrich Scholarship was awarded to Kiara Dailer of Meadowdale H.S. Kiara will be attending Western Washington University.
  2. Amos B. Chapman: Served aboard the destroyer, USS Killen, in the Pacific as a Fire Controller in the Battles for Leyte Gulf during which the ship was under constant attack by artillery, air and Kamikaze attacks. Joseph Schafer of Kamiak H.S. will apply the Amos B. Chapman scholarship to his tuition at The University of Washington.
  3. Fred M. Apgar: During the Vietnam War, Fred was assigned to the 7th Airborne Command and Control Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base. As an Air Intelligence Officer, he flew 116 combat missions over Northern Laos. The Fred M. Apgar Scholarship went to our Voice of Democracy winner Olivia Olson, who will attend The University of Southern California.
  4. Buck Weaver: Buck flew 137 combat missions in his beloved P-39 and P-40 fighter aircraft. Buck flew bomber escort, dive-bombing, and combat air patrol missions in the South Pacific. Buck retired from the Air Force at the rank of Colonel in 1975. The Buck Weaver Scholarship was awarded to Sea Choi, of Lynnwood H.S., who will attend the University of California, San Diego.
Post 8870 2018 Scholarships

The Buck Weaver Scholarship is presented to Sea Choi at Lynnwood H.S.

Post 8870 2018 Scholarships

The Fred Dedrich Scholarship to Kiara Dailer at Meadowdale H.S.

Post 8870 2018 Scholarships

The Fred Apgar Scholarship to Olivia Olson at Edmonds Woodway H.S.

Post 8870 2018 Scholarships

The Amos Chapman Scholarship to Joseph Schafer at Kamiak H.S.

Post 8870 2018 Scholarships were awarded during those school’s Senior Awards Ceremonies. Fred Diedrich was unable to attend. Don Stapleton was there in his place. 


Installation of 2018-19 Officers

Installation of 2018-19 Officers

At the May Post meeting officers were installed for the 2018-19 fiscal year, following elections at the April Meeting. Past Dept of Washington Commander and current Post1040 Commander John Beam was our installing officer. The 2017-18 command group remains in place other than two newly elected Trustees, Mark Williams and Don Stapleton.

Installation of 2018-19 Officers

Post officers being sworn in by Past Dept Commander John Beam are, left to right standing: Service Officer Paul Russo, Adjutant Dick Simmons, Trustees Dan White, Mark Williams and Don Stapleton, Quartermaster Dennis Peterson, Jr. Vice Commander Rose Gilliland, Sr. Vice Commander Carl Kurfess and Commander Mike Denton.



Paine Field Air Show

Among other events in a very busy May, Post 8870 members Duane Bowman, Don Stapleton, Alden Gilliland and Jr. Vice Commander Rose Gilliland represented VFW at the air show. Comrade Stapleton tells us the event was lightly attended, but the Post is grateful for the dedication of our Comrades in seeing that the Post was represented.

Paine Field Air Show

Another Successful Memorial Day Poppy Distribution

On Friday and Saturday May 25 and 26, thirty of our VFW Post 8870 comrades distributed Buddy Poppies at four location, which included our usual presence at the QFC at Westgate in Edmonds, QFC at Mukilteo Speedway and the Fred Meyer at 164th and Alderwood Mall Blvd. We added a new location, the QFC at 196th and 76th Ave West in lieu of Central Market in Mill Creek.

Thanks to the dedicated effort of so many, we collected over $14,000 for our relief fund, which will allow us to continue our numerous efforts on the part of veterans in need and the community around us. If I may revert to my sailor persona and use a Naval term, “Bravo Zulu” to all hands.

Left to right, Commander Mike Denton, Quartermaster Dennis Peterson, Mike Reagan and Bob Little staff one of two doors at the Mukilteo Speedway QFC.