I‘ll be in San Antonio when you receive this newsletter attending the National Convention. I keep trying to limit the number of pages I publish but to no avail. I think I‘ll give up on that goal. The Post is too active and there is too much information to convey to the members to arbitrarily limit the page count. We have added a couple of columns this month for the Chaplain and the President of the Ladies Auxiliary. And please note, the header on page one now reads “…and Ladies Auxiliary” as this newsletter will now be mailed to their members. We have had the best Chaplains over my years as Commander in Ed Gray and Dexter Miller and we have another fine one in Rock Roth. We are blessed in that department (pun intended). President Ehlers of the Auxiliary makes a plea for membership and all of you who have wives, daughters, etc. should consider making a gift of a life membership for them. Like my wife and daughters, they may still be working and not have time to be active in the Auxiliary, but they are the strongest supporters of veterans and veterans‘ issues that I have found in our society. So stop by the next meeting and pick up an application from the ladies. Both the Post and Auxiliary must grow their membership this year to remain strong and viable.
HM2 Charles L. Milam, Navy, 5/14/81-9/25/07 from Lake Forest Park; Cpl. Steven Rintamaki, USMC, 6/17/83-9/16/04 from Lynnwood; 1st Lt. Nicholas A. Madrazo, USMC, 11/14/82-9/9/08 from Bothell. Carrying the banner from our Post are Jeffrey Carlock (in the dress whites) and next to him is John Harrison. Brian Seguin from Post 1040 is on the right.
Timm, on the right, and Bob Woodruff in the center spoke on TBI (traumatic brain injury) during a symposium on veteran issues during a recent Town Hall Meeting in Seattle. Both Bob and Timm suffered TBI in Iraq, Bob as a reporter and Timm while serving as a sergeant with the Army. It was an interesting evening. Bob Woodruff spoke of his career and the devastating injury to his brain and the long road to recovery. The panel of experts then discussed veterans issues such as transition back to civilian life, homelessness, suicides among veterans, and many other issues that plague the veteran community. While only two of us from 8870 were able to attend due to the short notice, we made sure that Timm knew we were there to support him. Its great to see our younger vets like Timm, have a positive influence on veteran’s issues. By the way, Timm graduated from Seattle University the day before this event took place and is now enrolling in the Masters program at SU. He works as a Vet Corp representative in the Washington State Veterans Affairs and travels to the colleges in Washington discussing TBI and how the student veteran can cope and the support services the colleges can provide.
The picture above was taken in a private reception for Bob preceding the panel discussion. I more or less (mostly more), invited myself to the affair after walking through a monsoon and looking like a wet dog. However, Bob Woodruff was a gracious guy when Timm asked if the two of us could have our photo taken with him. It ended up the reception was more or less a Who’s Who of veterans issues and it was great spending some time chatting with the folks there, even if I didn’t have an official nametag.
When Martin Spani, Post 1040’s Commander and I attended the Convention in Yakima, the meeting hall, hallways, and dining room were draped with the pictures of our young KIA’s from this state. It was a sober reminder why we need to be here for the next generation of veterans. Martin borrowed five of the banners shown following the convention. These young men were all from this area. The project is the creation of a Gold Star mother from Spokane who has created a banner for each KIA from the state of Washington and we were honored to carry them and show the crowd the face of sacrifice—not just some name published in the newspaper. I wasn’t sure of the impact these had until a fellow in my office building popped into my office and told me his wife who attended the parade, was brought to tears when she saw these banners.
We had a great turnout for the parade and even a bigger turnout for the BBQ at the Legion Hall afterwards. Of course, there were a few faces in there eating our food we didn’t recognize, but what the heck, it was a great BBQ thanks to Tom Hallums of our Post who put the entire event together by himself. He is now permanently in charge of it.
The Boy Scouts will be holding their annual Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Nile Country Club on August 6th. In conjunction with that ceremony, Post 1040, our Post, American Legion Posts 66. 37, and 234 will be attending. It will be held in Nile Area C (the same place as last year if you attended). While lunch is at 1200 hours, we need volunteers to arrive at 1030 to assist in the setup. If you can’t make it to the early shift, we need folks to assist in serving food and in the cleanup and tear down following the picnic. This is a lot of fun and hopefully summer will have arrived by then. If not, bring your Gortex and enjoy a hotdog or hamburger and the camaraderie of your fellow veterans.
I know its on the calendar but just a reminder of the upcoming Aquasox game at 7PM on August the 13th. We are attending the game with Post 1040. I believe they have sold 25 tickets to their members and we’ve sold 20 tickets to our Post members and wives. I oversold the number of tickets I had available and was able to order 4 additional tickets located in the VFW area from the Aquasox ticket office. If you wish to attend and haven’t purchased your tickets, give them a call and see if any are available in our area (just ask where the VFW is sitting). Tickets are $10 and it should be a fun outing.
Mike will be speaking in the auditorium at the Museum of Flight on August 20th at 2PM. We have 12 tickets for admission so if you are interested in attending, call or email our Quartermaster for tickets. Let’s support Mike as we have done in the past.
We are in the process of updating our website. It’s a bit tired since I put it up 7 or 8 years ago. Also, please refrain from sending emails to our website unless it pertains to VFW business. We are getting a lot of “please pass this on” emails which we won’t pass on. I probably have a couple of centuries of bad luck coming from not passing on these emails, but I know we all get too much stuff in our inboxes as it is.
I have a calendar with every weekend in August marked with a VFW event. If it was anything else, other than fishing with my buddies, I would roll my eyes and complain. However, its pretty darn hard complaining when it’s a BBQ with the Boy Scouts, an evening with my Post members and those from 1040 at a ballgame, or attending the National Convention. And August is just the lead-up to when we really get busy with Voice of Democracy contests, Teacher of the Year, etc., Buddy Poppies, speaking in schools about Veterans Day, etc. An active Post like ours participates in all these events and that requires getting off your duff and making things happen. I can say without any hesitation, we don’t allow any moss to grow on our backsides, although if this rain doesn’t stop sooner or later, it will. We have folks stepping up and volunteering for anything that is coming up and I want to thank each and everyone who does take part in Post activities. As busy as we are, we can do more for our veteran community and we are investigating ways to do so. I ask you to please attend Post meetings and, if you can’t, drop an email to us and let us know where and when you can participate after reviewing the Post’s calendar.