Tag Archive: Mike Reagan

It Happened at the December Post Meeting

It was a busy, if efficient December Post meeting, with a fascinating speaker in the person of Col. Bill Reeder and presentations as shown below, following which a sizable contingent retired to the Edmonds City Council Meeting in support of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza vote, details of which are covered on another post. We should all be very proud of our active and dedicated membership.

Representatives of VFW (Terry Crabtree) and American Legion (Jim Collins) present checks to Mike Reagan to support Mike’s Fallen Heroes Project. Mike has drawn portraits of well over 4,000 of our fallen comrades to date.

December Post Meeting

Sarah Browne presented a check from Spaulding Ski Bus in memory of Jim Harkness. Jim’s wife Dorothy has long been part of the ski bus project and the Post long a beneficiary.

December Post Meeting

Our December Speaker, Bill Reeder, author of Through the Valley, in which he related his experience as a POW held captive in jungle prison camps as well as the “Plantation” and the “Hanoi Hilton”. At left, Bill receives a drawing of his Cobra attack helicopter from our resident artist, Mike Reagan.

December Post Meeting

Mike Reagan presented a portrait of Ken Hicks to his daughter, Melissa Hicks at the December Post Staff Meeting. Ken, a Vietnam Veteran, passed away in July. (Ken and your editor were inducted into the post at the same meeting)

December Post Meeting

 

Post Honors Bob Otto

Post Honors Bob Otto

Mike Reagan presented his portrait of Bob Otto to Bob’s daughter Robyn Nordsven at the July Post Meeting

In the July issue of this newsletter, we published the obituary of Post member Dr. Robert Otto, who passed away in December of 2015. At the July meeting, Otto’s family and friends were present to receive the Portrait drawn by Mike Reagan in his honor.

Otto was tail gunner on a B-24 Liberator that went down near the village of Pollau, Austria, en route to bomb an oil refinery near Vienna in June 1944. Six of the crew were captured, two were killed and one was missing. Survivors were taken to a hospital in Graz for treatment. Otto and the other enlisted men were then sent to Stalag Luft IV near the Baltic Sea.

“We were loaded on boxcars,” Otto said. “Inside was a miserable, stinking mess.” In February 1945, they were marched out of the prison camp to keep them safe from the approaching Russian army. Emaciated POWs marched 500 miles over 70 days, sleeping in barns and open fields. Food was mostly occasional boiled potatoes, and the weather bitter cold. Many died of exposure, pneumonia, dysentery and starvation.

“Faith in the Lord and a desire to get home kept me plugging along,” Bob said, until the men were rescued by British soldiers. Otto’s story is included in the book “The Last Escape,” an account of Allied POWs in Nazi Germany, by John Nichol and Tony Rennell.

During his 2008 trip to Austria, Otto met people who were children at the time of his capture and who remember seeing Otto float down under a parachute, one of whom was Herr Adolf Heschl, who was 7 years old at the time. “He recalled the burns on Dad’s face, which triggered Dad’s memory of looking into mud puddles, trying to see his burns,” his daughter said. Details of Bob’s ’08 trip were reported in the July issue of the Post newsletter.

Post Honors Bob Otto

Bob, second from right, with the crew of the B-24 Liberator “Texarkana Hussy “

Mike Reagan Honors Polish Soldiers

Mike Reagan Honors Polish Soldiers

In a recent ceremony in Warsaw, Poland, government officials unveiled the portraits of 66 Polish Special Forces soldiers who had been killed in the Global War on Terrorism. The soldiers were killed while working with American Special Forces. Twenty two soldiers were killed in Iraq, and the remaining number died in Afghanistan. The portraits were drawn by Post member Mike Reagan, which he donated to the Polish government. The portrait presentation was the highlight of a ceremony that established a National Remembrance Day of Fallen Veterans. The framed portraits will remain on permanent display in the newly established Polish Veterans Museum.

In 2003, Mike established the Fallen Heroes Project, and since then, he has drawn more than 4400 portraits for the families who have lost loved ones in our nations’ Global War on Terrorism. Thanks to Mike’s compassion, he has brought untold comfort to the members of our nation’s Gold Star families. Mike has also honored the memory of deceased members of our Post by presenting portraits of them to family members.

Memory of Past Commander Dennis Gaasland Honored

Memory of Past Commander Dennis Gaasland Honored

At the age of 17 and with the permission of his parents, Dennis Gaasland joined the Navy to serve his nation during WW II. Trained as a radar operator, Dennis also served in a combat amphibious unit. While serving in the Pacific, Dennis was sent to the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides Islands, Guadalcanal, and the Russel Islands before his convoy participated in the landing at the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines. Following the war, Dennis married his childhood sweetheart, Helen, and graduated from UW with a degree in Business Administration. He was a successful businessman, working with several Seattle law firms. Dennis served at Post #8870 Commander from 1992-1994 and again from 1995-1996. He passed away in March 2015.

At the July meeting, Post member Mike Reagan honored the memory of Dennis by presenting a portrait of a young Dennis in his Navy uniform to his wife of more than 67 years, Helen. Also in attendance was her son, Greg. Mike, of course, is the founder of the Fallen Heroes Project, and to date, he has drawn portraits of over 4000 American veterans who have lost their lives while in service to our great nation. In his remarks, Mike assured Mrs. Gaasland that the Post would, “always remember one of our own”.

Mike Reagan Honored by Medal of Honor Recipients

Mike was honored by the MOH Foundation for his Fallen Heroes Portraits. The award is given once a year and presented at their annual dinner in Washington DC. There are three awards given, 2 for citizen valor, and one for one for citizenship. Interestingly enough, one of the awards for valor was given to the young man who was a hall monitor at Seattle Pacific University and jumped the gunman who entered the common area and began shooting. When he paused to reload, John Meis jumped him and pep-per sprayed him preventing any additional shots. Before he was restrained, the gunman killed one and injured two. The fact that Mike and Jon are both from here is a testimony to our citizens.

WWII Veterans Recognized with Plaques for Service

WWII Veterans Recognized with Plaques for Service

Rodney Lam, Buck Weaver, Jim Harkness, Norm Goldstein, and Amos Chapman. Not shown Fred Die-trich and Dan White.

Mike Reagan donated these plaques for service to our WWII veterans. Unfortunately, Fred Dietrich and Dan White couldn’t attend the meeting and will get theirs at a later meeting. There plaques are carved by an individual in Port Angeles, as I recall, and Mike was presented one after he spoke on his Fallen Heroes Project. Mike then generously donated sufficient funds to insure that each of our WWII veterans were honored with a Plaque. The picture doesn’t do justice to the craftsmanship.

Mike Reagan Honors Memory of Past Post Commander Duane Pounds

Mike Reagan Honors Memory of Past Post Commander Duane Pounds

At our March meeting, the Post charter was draped to honor the memory of Duane Pounds. During his many years as a member of Post #8870, Duane had served as Commander for five years and played a crucial role in keeping the Post active and successfully recruiting new members who, eventually, assumed leadership roles. Duane died on February 19 due to complications from a stroke. Julie, his wife of 66 years, had passed away last July, and Duane never fully recovered from her loss. Duane had also been an active member of many other community organizations such as American Legion Post #66, Nile Shrine Temple, Lakeside Masonic Lodge, and many others. In honor of Duane’s many contributions to our Post, Mike Reagan presented a portrait of Duane to his family. Accepting the portrait on behalf of the Pounds family was Duane’s daughter, Randi, her daughter Kelly, and three of Duane’s great grandchildren. Mike, of course, founded the Fallen Heroes Project, and over the years, he has drawn portraits of over 4,000 soldiers who have been killed during our nation’s war on terrorism. Julie and Duane had five children, 10 grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren.

Veterans Day

On November 11th at 11AM, we will have our first Veterans Day ceremony at our new Veterans Plaza at 5th and Bell. Depending on the weather (although it never rains in November in Edmonds), we may have to put up some shelters for the speakers and honored guests. In addition, if Memorial Day at the cemetery is any indication, we will also have to put up chairs for our elderly citizens to use. Therefore, we will have a work party detail at 0930 to get things organized. Since this is our first attempt at this, the more hands we get to help, the quicker we can adjourn to the coffee shop before returning at 11AM. The agenda is still somewhat fluid, but Commander Jim Blossey will MC the event, Mayor Dave Earling will say a few words, and Mike Reagan, Post member and founder of the Fallen Heroes Portrait Foundation will be the keynote speaker. Our own Chris Edwards will play Taps to close the ceremony. Following the ceremony, we will need some hands to help us pack up everything. At that time, we will adjourn to the Edmonds Cemetery where there will be a tour of the notable veterans interred there. Hopefully, we can have a major showing of our VFW members so please wear your covers to the ceremony. This is our day at our Park so please make an effort to be there.