Newsletter Articles

VFW/American Legion Combined Christmas Party Slated

VFW/American Legion Combined Christmas Party

Our annual Christmas gathering will be held on Saturday, December 14. We plan to follow our usual program and start to gather at noon, with dinner, consisting of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and all the usual trimmings to be served at 1:00. 

VFW/American Legion Combined Christmas Party

Side dishes and desserts are to be provided on a “pot luck” basis by members who have signed up in advance to do so. 

The event will feature an auction of items donated by the Post staffs, the proceeds of which will be shared between the two posts. We will also again be collecting new, unwrapped toys for needy kids and food items for the food bank. 

VFW/American Legion Combined Christmas Party

It promises to be a good time with plenty of food and beverages and the company of good friends and family. The accompanying photos from earlier years, should get you in the mood! 

Meet New Member Dick Harsin

 Meet New Member Dick Harsin
Harsin takes the oath as OOD Jim Collins looks on

Dick served on active duty with the Navy from 1969 through 1980, and was a “Blue Water” Sailor during Vietnam. Dick served as a supply officer (Lieut.) on the USS Sperry (sub tender) and on USS Vesuvius (ammunition ship). He spent 383 days off the coast of Vietnam providing ammunition to ships from destroyers to aircraft carriers. Later, Dick was inventory control officer at NAS Whidbey Island; Supply Officer and Comptroller at NAS Agana Guam and finally DOD disposal officer at Defense Logistics Command Ogden Utah. 

In 1980 Dick started his CPA business which he sold in 1995. Since 1995 he has worked in wealth management, financial planning and tax strategy planning. 

Dick and wife Nancy have been married for 45 years and have two daughters one living in Lake Forest Park the other living in Anchorage. They have seven grandkids ranging in age between 10 and 24. 

Over the years Dick has been heavily involved in child abuse prevention programs and has served on various national boards. He is the minor league coordinator for Pacific Little League and also for more than 18 years served as manager of a minor league team (ages nine through 11) for Pacific Little League. Dick is, along with several other members of our Post, also a member of the Rotary Club of Edmonds, Daybreakers. 

Post 8870 Members Awarded Quilts of Honor

Post 8870 Members Awarded Quilts of Honor.

In November, two more of our World War II veteran members were awarded Quilts of Honor, following on the group of four awarded in September. 

Edgar Shepherd survived the sinking of the USS Helena in the Battle of Kula Gulf in south Pacific action against the Japanese Imperial Navy in World War II. 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 life raft. 

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, Shepherd helped start a Navy reserve center in Colorado before moving to California to help his uncle open a doughnut shop. He later got a job in Los Angeles at an electrical company where he worked for 24 years. He lives in Edmonds with daughter Paula Kilbourne. Paula once offered to take him whitewater rafting. He turned her down. He had clung to a rubber raft, adrift in dark waters after the USS Helena sank. He wasn’t interested in getting on a raft again. Ed celebrated his 101st birthday on July 4, 2019. 

Post 8870 Members Awarded Quilts of Honor

Dan White Enlisted in the Army in 1946, served nearly two years, and was called back in 1950. A retired middle school teacher, White lives in Redmond but spent years in the Edmonds area and remains an active member of Post 8870. In Korea, he flew a modified Cessna called an L-19. His duties involved adjusting artillery. Back home, he and his wife raised four boys. He earned two degrees, stayed in the reserves and retired as a colonel. 

Edmonds Mayor Honored for EVP Support

Edmonds Mayor Honored for EVP Support

At a November meeting of the Edmonds City Council, Mayor Dave Earling was presented with his portrait by Fallen Heroes Project artist Mike Reagan, in recognition of his work in support of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza. Earling will end his service as Mayor in January of 2020 after serving two full terms. 

The backing and support of the City and its leaders has been invaluable to the completion of the Plaza. 

THANK YOU Mr. Mayor! 

From the Bookshelf

From the Bookshelf

Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal

by James D. Hornfischer 

The Battle of Guadalcanal has long been heralded as a Marine Corps victory and not without reason. Now, with his powerful portrait of the Navy’s sacrifice, James D. Hornfischer tells the full story of the men who fought in destroyers, cruisers, and battleships in the narrow, deadly waters of “Ironbottom Sound.” Here are the seven major naval actions that began in August 1942, a time when the war seemed unwinnable and America fought on a shoestring, with the outcome always in doubt. Hornfischer paints a vivid picture of the officers and enlisted men who opposed the Japanese in America’s hour of need. It is worth noting that despite long a standing Marine view that the Navy abandoned the Marines to their own devices at Guadalcanal, (and one can understand that view) in the end USN KIA (5041) vastly exceeded those of the USMC ashore (1,592). 

It is an honor to once again review a book which tells a story lived by one of our Post 8870 comrades, in this case 101 year old Edgar Shepherd, member of the ship’s company of USS Helena, a key participant in the actions described in this book and lost the year following the Guadalcanal campaign at the battle of Kula Gulf. From the Bookshelf It is an honor to once again review a book which tells a story lived by one of our Post 8870 comrades, in this case 101 year old Edgar Shepherd, member of the ship’s company of USS Helena, a key participant in the actions described in this book and lost the year following the Guadalcanal campaign at the battle of Kula Gulf. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Commander Gilliland

More than 350 veterans, families, kids and well-wishers overflowed onto the sidewalks surrounding the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Monday afternoon, all drawn by one purpose — to honor, remember and connect with our military veterans. 

Dan Doyle, VFW Post 8870 Chaplain, gave an emotional invocation that crystalized in a few words the meaning of the day. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Chaplain Doyle

“We’re here today to honor those who at some point in their lives signed a blank check to give, up to even their lives, in service to you,” he said, “so that you and we all could enjoy the liberties, peace and privileges of this nation.” 

Emcee Rose Gilliland, VFW Post 8870 Commander, then took over: “I feel like I’m sitting in a living history today,” she began. “I’m surrounded by veterans who have lived it, breathed it and done it.” She went on to call on attendees from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (the War on Terror) to be recognized. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Rep. Peterson speaking

Keynote speaker was State Representative Strom Peterson, who recalled how the Edmonds Veterans Plaza got its start during his tenure serving on the Edmonds City Council. “It was about five years ago that a core group of organizers put their energies together to turn this area into a special place to honor veterans,” he said. “With dogged determination, this core group provided the energy and inspiration to accomplish this in record time.” Peterson went on to stress the key role of the plaza in providing a place to make connections.“For those who did not have the opportunity to serve, it’s a place to connect with and learn from those who did,” he explained. “For veterans like Michael Reagan who walks by my house every day on his daily pilgrimage to the plaza, it’s a place to make connections with his friends, some of whom didn’t make it back. And for all of us, it’s a place to remember what it means to serve our country and our community.” 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Clara Jennings, WWII Marine veteran turns 100 in January

Jim Traner then announced the names of those honored with newly placed pavers in the plaza: 

Ron Pajoman, Navy 1960-1965
Chuck Smith, Army 1963-1999
Patrick Marker, Marines 1944-1946; 1950-1951
John, Gregg and Kim Sharp, Marines, Navy and Navy respectively (single paver) 
Beau Crabtree, Army 1991-2001
Donald Stapleton, Air Force, 1957-1978
William Cobb, Marine 1966-1968 
Edward Johnson, Navy 1942-1946 
Paul Hauck, Army 1944-1946; 1947-1963 
Jim Roy Harrison, Navy 1942-1945 
Jack Oharah, Navy 1962-1966 
Jeffrey James Curtis, Marines, 1966-1967 

Gold Star Mother Monica McNeal was on hand to present a Vietnam War 50-year commemorative pin to Vietnam veterans who had not previously received one. The program closed with Mike Denton leading attendees in a chorus of “God Bless America”. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
8 year old John Wyatt examines military memorabilia.

Another Record Poppy Outing!

Another Record Poppy Outing

“In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow…” 

Another Record Poppy Outing!
Brad Andrews (L) with Jr. Vice Commander and Poppy Chair Duane Bowman @ Fred Meyer

On Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9, members of Post 8870 once again gathered at three area QFC stores and one local Fred Meyer to distribute Buddy Poppies in remembrance of our fallen comrades and to honor all of our brother veterans. 

The weather was reasonably kind this year, though the intrepid volunteers at QFC West Lynnwood and Mukilteo Speedway, who have less shelter than the other two locations, found it a bit on the chilly side. 

Another Record Poppy Outing
Brad Andrews (L) with Jr. Vice Commander and Poppy Chair Duane Bowman @ Fred Meyer

The folks in Mukilteo were particularly generous, donating over $ 6,000 at that location alone. The results are shown in the table below in a store by store tabulation, the total reflecting an all time record result. Our Relief fund budget is well funded, at least until next spring. We will be able to do many good things for veterans and our community. 

A hearty well done and many thanks to all who participated, particularly to the friends and families of our members who joined us in volunteering their time and, of course, to the management and employees of QFC and Fred Meyer for providing the space for our effort! 

QFC Speedway $6,356 
QFC Westgate 3,951 
QFC 196th 3,628 
Fred Meyer 2,828 
Est. Square, coins, misc. 786 
Total $17,549 

New Member – Mike Meyer

New Member - Mike Meyer

Mike Meyer, an Army veteran who flew Cobra helicopters in Vietnam was inducted into the Post at the November meeting. He was introduced to the Post by his near neighbor, Jr. Vice Commander Duane Bowman. After leaving the service, Mike worked in construction management. He is married and has one daughter. Mike was welcomed in picture at left by Officer of the Day Jim Collins as his sponsor, Duane Bowman and the rest of the membership look on. Mike jumped right in to volunteer on the Buddy Poppy drive for Veterans Day. 

VFW Planned Giving

If you have put off writing your will or other plans for your estate, you’re not alone. Estate planning need not be a chore, rather an opportunity to create your legacy. 

When creating or updating your plan, consider including a gift to the VFW. You’ll be able to extend your values through your ongoing support of fellow veterans. By leaving a percentage of your estate, you can make a big difference while still retaining your assets for life. 

To learn more about gift planning and options that could work for you, visit