The Relief Fund Committee recently lost a member, Leroy Middleton who passed in January. As a result, the remaining members, Fred Apgar and Jim Adams, decided to add two additional members to the committee. Jim Blossey who is a long time resident of Edmonds but fairly new to VFW and Carl Kurfess were named to the Committee. The function of this committee is to analyze the various requests we have for funds and, after that review, recommend the expenditures from the Relief Fund to the Board and ultimately to the Post for approval. The system has been extremely effective in allocation of our resources to those most in need and fitting the parameters of allowable expenditures from the Relief Fund. As in the past, if you come across a worthwhile project you think the Post should support, let one of the committee members know and they will take it into consideration.
As your Chaplain (and we have at least two others far better and more qualified for this job than I – Ed Gray and Dexter Miller), I would like to very briefly confront our membership with a challenge that I believe is crucial to our country’s future and the education of today’s youth. That challenge is how our courts and many of our fellow citizens have interpreted the First Amendment, commonly referred to as the ‘establishment clause’, to the US Constitution – “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” To many this means the freedom from religion not the freedom of religion as I strongly believe it is intended and so states.
I am a Christian and I strongly believe that my religious beliefs play an essential role in my life. As a Christian, I strongly believe I have a responsibility to practice my religion on a daily basis; I also believe that I have a responsibility to demonstrate and reflect the love of Christ for the benefit of others. I do not, however, believe that I have the right to force on others my beliefs – nor do I believe that they have the right to force their beliefs on me, whether they are Jewish, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists, or agnostics. I should be free to practice my religion in the manner I believe; as should others. I believe this is what the First Amendment to our Constitution guarantees.
As VFW members, I believe we have a continuing responsibility to our Nation’s youth (and others), to serve as examples stressing what made and what continues to make this Country of ours great. Our Country was founded by men who clearly understood the inherent and God Given Right of Freedom including Freedom of Religion and not Freedom from Religion. The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees the right to worship (or not worship) our God in the way each individual or group of individuals – a church – freely chooses.
There will be a District Meeting at the Boys & Girls Club on March 10th. Lunch is at 12:00 with the meeting starting at 1:00. In addition, there will be a memorial service for the District’s members who have passed during the last year. This is a good opportunity to honor those members one last time.
Allen is a native of New Hampshire. In 1966, he enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school. After completing basic training at Lackland AFB, Allen trained as an aircraft mechanic at Chanute AFB. His first assignment introduced Allen to the Pacific Northwest when he was assigned to Military Airlift Command, which, at the time, was headquartered at McChord AFB. He remained at McChord for four years after which he was deployed to DaNang Air Base in South Vietnam. During his one year tour of duty in Southeast Asia, Allen worked in transit maintenance and performed repairs to any Air Force aircraft that made unscheduled landings at DaNang due to battle damage or mechanical problems. After his tour in SEA, Allen was assigned to the famous 409th Bomb Wing, which was stationed at Pease AFB. Following his discharge from the Air Force in 1974, Allen worked at Boeing for the next 30 years. During his years at Boeing, Allen served in the Washington Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves. Allen and his wife, Sharon, live in Lynnwood. They have four children and one grandchild.
During his childhood, Don and his family moved all over the United States since his father was a career member of the Marine Corps. After graduating from high school in San Diego in 1977, Don joined the Navy. He was assigned to a destroyer for three years, which was followed by a three year assignment to a mine sweeper. Following his discharge from the Navy, Don moved to the Seattle area and joined the Washington National Guard. In 1983, his unit was activated and he served with a tank battalion that was stationed in Everett. In 1990, he became a Seattle City police officer. While serving as a police officer, Don joined the Coast Guard Reserve served several years in port security. He then transferred to the Army Reserves, and it was while he was serving in this capacity, that his unit was activated, and Don served as the Postal Finance Officer for all postal units in Iraq. While he was assigned to Camp Victory in Iraq, his official duties had him traveling throughout the country. Don served a total of 26 years in the Armed Forces and continues to serve as a police officer in Seattle. He and his wife, Kristina, live in Edmonds, and they have four children.
Thanks to the hard work of several individuals including my old friend George Smith, VP of Student Affairs at ECC, the veterans attending ECC now have their own room with a Veteran counselor to assist them with GI Bill benefits, an area for studying, and for just hanging with other vets. There’s even coffee. Thanks to those who made it happen.
Nominations for officers will be made at the March meeting with additional nominations in April with the vote for officers in April. If you are interested in serving as an officer, please contact Fred Apgar and let him know.
I was recently reading a blog online blasting VFW for their treatment of Vietnam veterans who attempted to join after returning from overseas. I guess I was startled by the bitterness that a lot of folks carried from 40 years ago and, quite frankly, I found it to be petty at best. It isn’t the first time I’ve run into it. I was having lunch with a local banker a few years ago who was a Army helicopter pilot in Nam. After asking him if he would like to join our Post, I had to listen to about his treatment from a VFW Post when he returned home. If my client hadn’t needed a loan from the guy, I would have got up and left. So I sat through his diatribe, picked up the check, and secured the loan from the bank on behalf of my client.
I wonder how these folks reach out and support the veterans in our community? How do they instill patriotism in our local schools? How do they reach out and support the young veterans returning home to insure their benefits will be provided them? How do they reach out to the Gold Star families and say they are sorry for the loss of a son or daughter? How do they assist WWII veterans with claims for benefits some 65 years after they have left the service. Perhaps they do, I can’t be the judge of their efforts. I know, however, that VFW does, and most certainly that Post 8870 does all of this and much more. So the next time some guy unloads on you or me about his treatment 40 years ago, let it go in one ear and promptly out the other.
The Post lost a long time member last month, Leroy Middleton. Leroy held numerous offices with the Post and was currently a member of our Relief Fund committee. In addition, he was the Post historian and our trivia provider. At the conclusion of every meeting, Leroy had a “Stump the Chumps” question which normally did stump us. The charter was covered in his memory at the January meeting and his smile and grace will be missed. A number of us attended the grave side services at the Edmonds cemetery and said goodbye to our friend and comrade.
Katarina Nguyen placed 5th at the Mid Winter Conference in Yakima. She represented our Post in the competition for the last three years and won the District competition twice. Both Sr. Vice Commander Fred Apgar and Commander Jim Traner attended the Mid Winter Convention in Yakima. There were 16 District winners at the banquet and all seemed to be 4.0 students, captains of their sports teams, class presidents, etc. so the competition was intense. The fact she was in the top five speaks to the quality of her essay. You may read it on line under the tab labeled “Youth Essay” and I encourage you to do so. Katarina is 4.0 student at EWHS, and plans on attending the U of W. We wish her the best in her future endeavors, wherever they may lead her.
Hi! I would like you all to be my Valentines! We’re still working on ideas for a membership drive to have soon. If you have any ideas or comments about the membership drive you can send them to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or regular mail to Valerie Ehlers at 912 N 143rd St., #6, Seattle, WA 98133. At the District 1 meeting in January, Valerie received a beautiful cup & saucer because our Auxiliary received new members this year.
We have selected some new projects for our Auxiliary to support and I will be requesting your participation in this, and future, articles. For the February meeting we are helping the Northshore Nourish program. Please bring a box of breakfast bars with you, send in to me or to our Treasurer a box of breakfast bars, or send in a donation for us to buy a box of breakfast bars ( Checks should be made out to Ladies Auxiliary VFW #8870 ). Our Treasurer is Connie Daily and she can be reached by regular mail at 7903 191st St. SW, Edmonds, WA 98026 . Thanks for your support!
The picture is a bit small but on stage at the U of W Meany Hall are 90 members of the famed 442nd Combat Regiment Team and the Military Intelligence Service are being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli. Commander Jim Traner and Post member Mike Reagan were invited to attend the ceremony. Mike has drawn portraits of all 21 of their Medal of Honor winners and, as many of you know, we have been quite close to the Nisei Veterans Committee.