Newsletter Articles

Recruiting New Members

Recruiting new members is every member’s responsibility and to that end Post Chaplain Dan Doyle and Commander Mike Denton spent s very productive Saturday at the Edmonds Farmers Market, spreading the word about VFW to unaffilliated veterans and the community at large.

Our newest member, Paul Strenkert found us there and was subsequently sworn in at the July Post meeting.

There are three other applications pending from that outing, plus a Life Member, recently arrived in Edmonds, who also stopped by our table, and plans to affiliate with Post 8870.

We are making plans for additional such events and will be looking for volunteers to help with that effort.

Overdue Recognition of Our Appointed Post Officers

We were recently reminded that the ritual of installation of officers does not allow for proper recognition of the members who fill some of our key offices. Post 8870 has been extremely fortunate to have our appointive offices filled by an extremely dedicated group of veterans, who we thank for their long service.

Al Boyett, Surgeon for the past eleven years has just this past meeting bowed out in favor of Charlie Gaul.

Al Boyett, Past Surgeon

Charlie Gaul, Surgeon

Jim Collins, Officer of the Day provides essential grease to the commander to keep the wheels moving at meetings. (Jim will be on the sick list for the August and September meetings, while he gets his heart repaired. We all wish Jim a quick and complete recovery. Jim Traner has volunteered to act as OOD in Jim’s absence)

Jim Collins, Officer of the Day

John Shelton, Guard (John prefers “Master at Arms” but, sorry John the Manual says “Guard”) keeps outsiders away and keeps track of member and guest attendance, among his other chores. John is also a key member of our color guard

John Shelton, Guard

Dick Simmons, Adjutant provides us with excelent & detailed minutes of all of our meeting, as well as leading our color guard. Jim Collins had been heading up our color guard for Memorial Day and the Parade, but has passed that role along to Dick in recent months.

Dick Simmons, Adjutant

Many thanks to all of you who provide such great service to our Post.

Relief Fund Budget

The Post veterans relief and community programs are funded entirely from donations received in conjunction with our semi annual distribution of “ Buddy Poppies” around the Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances.

Our Post Chaplain, Dan Doyle and the Relief Committee he chairs, which includes Jim Blossey, Carl Kurfuss, and Rose Gilliland, have prepared the following proposed budget for the current fiscal year, to be voted on at this month’s meeting.

Vietnam Veteran Elected VFW National Commander

Ending sequestration will remain a top priority

Nat’l Cdr Keit Harman

Nat’l Cdr Keit Harman

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States concluded its 118th National Convention with the election of Keith Harman of as its new national commander. Harman served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969, including service in Vietnam as a crew chief and door gunner on Huey helicopters.

Harman has been a member of the VFW for 34 years, belonging to VFW Post 3035 in Delphos, Ohio. He has served in elected and appointed positions at Post, District and Department (state) levels, and achieved All-American status during his year as commander of the VFW Department of Ohio in 2004.

Throughout his remarks, he stressed the importance of the VFW’s work to those it serves, and praised today’s service members’ resolve and dedication. The national commander also discussed his recent fact-finding trip to Southeast Asia. It was his first return to Vietnam after ending his military service there 49 years prior.

With the demand, “Sequestration must end!”, Keith made clear during his remarks that ending sequestration will again top the VFW legislative agenda for his term as national commander.

He will lead the organization under the theme “Service not Self”. “Those three words represent the life I’ve led for more than four decades,” he explained.

Also elected were Senior Vice Commander Vincent “B.J.” Lawrence, of Alamogordo, N.M., and Junior Vice Commander William J. “Doc” Schmitz of Corning, N.Y.

Mystery Visitor at July Post Meeting

Jim Traner reports that we had a visiting WWII veteran show up late. Jim caught him after the meeting and learned that he was here from New Jersey visiting his son and dropped in to our meeting. His name was Earl and he said he couldn’t have enjoyed an evening more than spending it with fellow veterans. He had a count of our attendance and said he really enjoyed our Post. Jim reports having a feeling he was probably someone who was more than just your average Post member.

Uniform Covers to be Worn

General Order #1, 2017- 18

10. Attention of commanders at all levels is directed to action of the National Council of Administration prohibiting the wearing of VFW sport caps and/or western style caps at VFW meetings in place of the regulation cap of the VFW official uniform as set forth in sections 803 of the National By-Laws and the Manual of Procedure. This prohibition is in accordance with previous directives of Commanders-in-Chief that it is held to be objectionable and contrary to accepted rules of order and proper decorum implicit in the ritual of the Veterans of Foreign Wars to permit the wearing of other than the official VFW cap at VFW meetings.

Dispatch from Berlin

by Pete Farmer

Pete is living in Rome, Italy this year and has been sending occaional dispatches to allow the Post to share his adventure.

In 1970-71, I was stationed with the 3rd Armored Division in what was then West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). We were defending the “Frontiers of Freedom” during the Cold War against Soviet Bloc troops. I believe our job was to slow possible invaders as they overran us. My artillery battery of 155mm self-propelled howitzers actually had nuclear rounds in nearby secure storage; small but deadly. Scary, huh?

Dispatch from Berlin

Because of my interest in WWII history, I took a week’s leave to West Berlin. Since I had a Top Secret clearance, I had to obtain permission to take a commercial flight over East Germany. A railroad or highway (only 1 route) trip required additional permission and delay.

Dispatch from Berlin

West Berlin was an island of freedom surrounded by a border secured by East German (DDR) forces with guard towers, concertina and a no-mans land.

In 1961, the Berlin Wall was erected overnight to divide the city and keep East Germans from fleeing to the West. Many of the WWII historical sites were on the East Berlin side of The Wall. I recall approaching The Wall at various vantage points to peer over and try to see these sights. The Brandenburg Gate, famous for Soviet troops raising their flag after defeating the Nazis in April 1945, was clearly visible but inaccessible. I could approach Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point between West and East, but no farther.

I just completed a visit to a reunified Berlin. The Wall came down November 9, 1989, though street pavers outline its location throughout the city. East Berlin had been pretty shabby but has been rebuilt since the German capital relocated from Bonn to Berlin. Our hotel and many of the museums and sights were in the former East Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie was torn down, but a replica has been erected a block away with actors portraying border guards. In the photo, it is hard to miss McDonalds.

Dispatch from Berlin

The former Gestapo SS headquarters was razed and replaced by a gravel field and a museum chronicling SS atrocities 1933-45. Adjacent is a section of The Wall and the former Luftwaffe headquarters (built of concrete, it survived the war). Germany does not hide from its Nazi past. There are additional memorials and museums in the city that document all the persecuted groups of WWII. Particularly if combined with a visit to the nearby Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, a visitor will be quite saddened by this chapter of history.

Of course the good news is the failure of Communism. A quirky museum dedicated to life in the former East Germany helps explain why and provides some comic relief to sadder times.

The 2017 Winners of Post 8870’s Norm Goldstein Freedom Scholarship

The 2017 Winners of Post 8870’s Norm Goldstein Freedom Scholarship

Above L to R: Erin Dahl, Kamiak H.S. Kilie Otani, Mountlake Terrace HS, Terry Traner, Norm Goldstein, Terry Crabteree, Van Honglam from Mariner HS and Thinh Do, Meadowdale HS.

The 2017 Winners of Post 8870’s Norm Goldstein Freedom ScholarshipAt the June Post meeting the winners of the Norm Goldstein Freedom Scholarship were present to read their winning essays and receive the congratulations of the membership.

Norm Goldstein, Post 8870 member and WWII Navy veteran was present at Mountlake Terrace H.S. Senior Awards night for the presentation ceremony of that school’s winner, Kilie Otani. Norm, a Navy veteran of WWII received a warm welcome from two former students who are now faculty members at Mountlake Terrace. Norm retired as Vice principal of Mountlake Terrace H.S. in 1980 after a long career teaching and coaching basketball there and at Ballard H.S.

Above right, Norm took the opportunity to personally congratulate all of the winners.

2017-18 Post Officers Installed

District 1 Commander Don Wischman acted as our installing officer to swear in the 2017-18 Post Officers, who are listed below.

Commander: David M. (Mike) Denton
Sr. Vice Commander: Carl F. Kurfess
Jr. Vice Commander: Rose Gilliland
Quartermaster: Dennis L. Peterson
Chaplain: Daniel J. Doyle
Judge Advocate: Aaron M. Terwedo
Adjutant: Richard F. Simmons
1 Year Trustee: Daniel A. White
2 Year Trustee: James R. McCann
3 Year Trustee: James M. Traner

At left are 2016-17 Commander Terry Crabtree, incoming Commander Mike Denton and District 1 Commander Don Wischman, our installing officer.