At the National convention there was a lot of gray hair (mine included), and I walked away firmly convinced that VFW would be that much stronger if we could involve our younger veterans in all levels of VFW. Over the last few years, I’ve watched a lot of inertia when it came to adopting what I felt were beneficial resolutions to change the National By-Laws and Manual of Procedure. Every organization needs to adjust to the times while retaining its core values. What we need at both the Post, Department, and National level is the energy and the input of the younger members, not just their membership dues. We can pass on to them what we know to minimize the learning curve, but it will be up to them to change VFW to meet their needs and those of the generations of veterans to follow them.
At the August 12th meeting, Congressman Jay Inslee honored Edmonds portrait artist and Post member, Michael Reagan, for his work with the Fallen Heroes Portrait Foundation. Earlier this year, Congressman Inslee read into the Congressional Record a proclamation recognizing and praising Reagan for his unselfish commitment to providing surviving families with portraits of their loved ones who had lost their lives while engaging in the country‘s War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While presenting a copy of the resolution to Mike, Mr. Inslee noted that the portraits that Mike draws and provides free of charge to Gold Star families brings ―great comfort to family members and helps in the healing process.‖ Commander Jim Traner presented Mike with a check in the amount of $1,000 to support the wonderful work that he does and commended Reagan for the love, support, comfort, and peace he furnishes to the families of his fallen comrades.
To date, Mike has provided over 2,600 portraits to the families of our Fallen Heroes. As an expression of his thanks to Congressman Inslee for the national recognition that he had brought to the Fallen Heroes Project, Reagan presented a portrait of the Congressman to him. Guests who attended this presentation included Mayor Mike Cooper, State Senator Marilyn Chase, County Council member Stephanie Wright.
This is tough to present properly, but I will try to give you folks who don‘t attend meetings an idea of Mike‘s work. Mike is reading a poem that a Gold Star mother wrote to Mike at the presentation at the last meeting. However, I want all of you who haven‘t seen his work up close to look at some of the 2,600 portraits that Mike has drawn. What you see are a sample of the 12 poster collages of Mike‘s drawings of KIA‘s primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Multiply 2,600 times the family members that have been impacted by his work and you understand why our Post supports his efforts and will continue to do so.
You will be receiving , if you already haven‘t, a bill for your dues as your membership expired 6/30. If the Post receives your payment by September 30th, your dues will be reduced to $20. After that, they will increase to the usual $25. Hey—that is a 20% savings so pay early and take advantage of putting $5 into your pocket. Better yet, consider a life membership. And if you know anyone who is a member at large (unaffiliated with a Post), remind them that they are paying $35—that is $15 too much. Give them an application to our Post.
The Post joined Post 1040 for a ball game between the Everett Aquasox and the Tri-City Dust Devils (love that name). We had a great turnout and enjoyed an entertaining game including one play that allowed an Aquasox batter to reach first on an error and subsequently score on the same play with a second error. I didn’t keep a score card for the game, but it would have been a tough one to record as the ball was touched by what seemed to be about half of the Dust Devil’s team. If you didn’t make it, you missed one heck of good time including a fantastic fireworks show following the game. We will make sure we do this again next year.
Al Wilcox, long time Post member passed away on July 13th at the age of 90, Al was a Marine fighter pilot in WWII and the recipient of the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Al founded Wilcox Construction and his son, Bob, who is a Vietnam Veteran, is a candidate for the City Council. It is tough losing members like Al and the other WWII veterans who did so much for this country.
Two new members were inducted into the VFW at the last meeting. William Benn served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam and Bert Claudio served in the Navy. I would like everyone to reach out to these members at the next meeting and introduce yourselves to them personally. We have had a number of new members over the last couple of months and it is up to the older members to make the new members feel welcomed to our Post. We have a very friendly group of individuals in our Post so let‘s use some of that charm whenever you see a new member.
We had a great turnout of Post members at the Frances Anderson Playfield. Jim Collins honchoed the event and we presented the colors (with American Legion Post 66) to open the event. 8870 had a table giving out flags and safety brochures to the kids and we had an enjoyable evening.
Hello! I‘m Valerie Ehlers, the new President of Edmonds Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post #8870.
Commander Traner and I have agreed that the Post and Auxiliary will be working together more than we have in the past. Therefore, I hope we will all get to know each other better too.
Our membership numbers were reduced by nine persons last year. Six we lost over eligibility issues and three of our sisters passed away. Gentlemen, please, if you have not done so already, have your wives, daughters, sisters, and granddaughters join us in the Auxiliary. We would really like to get to know them, and just think how they could help us know the things you would like us to be working on!
Some of the goals I have for the Auxiliary this year include: increasing membership, making the meetings more fun to attend, keeping in touch with members who are unable to attend the meetings, getting the members to know each other better, and to make or break the goals set for us by District and Department.
Like the Post, we will be having a Buddy Poppy drive in November the weekend before Veteran‘s Day (our meeting day). I plan to have an Auxiliary Christmas Party in addition to our December meeting. There are some ideas rolling around in my head for fundraising activities for some of our programs.
Remember, District One‘s School of Instruction will be the day after our September meeting (Sept. 10). Until next time, Thank you for the service you have given to God, to our Country, and to us.
September 10th is the School of Instruction. While this is mandatory for Officers, I would recommend that anyone who is interested in learning more about the VFW attend. This is also a good opportunity to meet your counterparts from other Posts. Lunch is at noon and the meeting will start at 1:00PM. It will be held at the Alderwood Boys and Girls Club in Lynnwood. Proceed east on 196th and cross I-5. Take the first right at the stop light just pass the Old Spaghetti Factory. The facility is approximately 100 yards from the corner on the left hand side. Enter through the door on the North side of the building.
I have the very great honor of serving as your Post Chaplain. What are my qualifications for holding this important position? Few! I have, during my almost 32 years in the Navy, been an operator. My dealings with chaplains were primarily during religious services or on a number of very difficult and highly emotional occasions when I with the chaplain ‘notified’ the next of kin of the death of a squadron or shipmate. I‘m not sure how important these ‘contacts’ would appear on my resume. However, on my resume, and for your consideration , I would like to include the following: (1) I am a devote Christian which means that I believe that Christ is my personal Savior, (2) I strongly believe we are and must remain ‘One Nation Under God’ if we are to be a force for good in this world, (3) I strongly believe in “Americanism as defined as follows – ” An unfailing love of country: eagerness to defend it against all enemies; undivided allegiance to the flag; and a desire to secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.‖ (Americanism was defined by the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, United Spanish War Veterans, VFW, the National Commanders of the American Legion and Disabled Americans Veterans of the World War at a conference held in Washington, in February 1927.)
As I hope you are aware, we in VFW Post 8870 are honored and blessed to have at least two members who are much more qualified to serve as Post Chaplin than I. They are Dexter Miller and Ed Gray. We will continue to look to them for help, support, and guidance. I, as your chaplain, also need the help, support, and guidance from you, my VFW Comrades, to keep me informed of those in need, those for whom our prayers will be offered. If you need my help or have information on a ‘Comrade in Distress’, please telephone me at either of the following numbers: 206-533-9873 (H) (also my fax number) or 356-8869 (C). My email address is email@example.com.