News

July Post Meeting

We had 14 Veterans present plus three attending by zoom. 

July Post Meeting
Early arrivals enjoy a meal prior to the meeting. 

Probably the most significant item on the agenda, was replacing Cal Barnard, who has resigned as Quartermaster to assume the appointed position of Adjutant. Past Post and District 1 Commander Jim Traner was nominated and elected as our new Quartermaster. Traner, who is a local CPA, has long served as the Post’s financial advisor with our elected Quartermaster, as well as serving as a Department of Washington Trustee, auditing the books of the state organization. 

Sign up for District 1 VFW Booth @ Evergreen State Fair Aug. 25-29 and Sept. 3-5

District 1 has scheduled a booth at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, to be staffed by members of District Posts. The purpose of the booth is to represent VFW and promote membership. We need volunteers for each shift to talk about VFW and accept membership applications. We are also able to distribute poppies, with the proceeds to be split between the on-duty posts of each shift. S

hifts are 10:00-16:00 (1st shift) and 16:00-22:00 (2nd shift) There will be 2 admission tickets and 2 parking passes provided for each shift. Two admission tickets and parking passes will be provided for each shift. 

If you can participate, let Commander Kurfess know as soon as possible, or sign up at the August meeting

In other Post business: 

  • The Quartermasters report was reviewed/approved & all bills were approved for payment. 
  • Buddy Poppies for Veterans Day is scheduled for November 4 & 5. 
  • It was approved that the Quartermaster will “e-pay” all expenses. Signatures are not required for checks. 
  • A proposal was approved to change Post by-laws to allow keeping our meeting minutes in an electronic format. 
  • A booth at the Edmonds Market & at the Edmonds car show were discussed. 

VFW Youth Essay Contests Underway 

The following article is being published in our local media to promote our annual Youth Essay Contests. If you have family members or friends who qualify in these age groups, please encourage them to apply. 

Every year, Edmonds Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8870 sponsors a group of student essay contests, along with the rest of the VFW throughout the nation. Applications are made available through the local schools but students may also enter directly by filling out the application and submitting their entry to VFW Post 8870 prior to Oct. 31. Home schooled students are welcome to participate. The Oct. 31 deadline may seem a long way off, but it’s not too soon to start thinking about these competitions, which are also scholarship opportunities: 

Voice of Democracy – audio essay competition for high school students. 

Patriot’s Pen – essay contest for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. 

Youth Essay – contest is open to elementary students in grades 3-5. 

VFW sponsors these contests to promote patriotism and help students further their education by awarding more than $2 million in educational scholarships and incentives, to regional, state and national winners. 

This year’s theme for the Patriot’s Pen written essay contest is “My Pledge to Our Veterans,” and the theme for the Voice of Democracy audio essay competition is “Why is the Veteran Important?” The younger essayists are asked to write on “Why are Veterans So Important to Us?” 

Contest rules and entry forms can be found via the following link to the VFW Department of Washington web site: https://vfwwa.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=79734

Entries may be submitted to Edmonds VFW Post 8870, PO Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020 

Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade! 

Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade!
VFWPost 8870 color guard, with our comrades from Post 66 American Legion, once again lead the parade (L-R) Adjutant Cal Barnard, Chaplain; Dan Doyle, Sr. V. Commander Duane
Boman; and Commander Carl Kurfess

For many years our local veterans groups have provided the color guard to lead our “Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade and 2022 was no exception. 

This year’s parade featured over 80 entries of local groups, from our local community.

Parade announcers were, once again, Past Commanders Jim Blossey and Mike Denton, who have performed that role for over ten years.

Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade!

VFWPost 8870 color guard, with our comrades from Post 66 American Legion, once again lead the parade

Right is one of the entries in the children’s parade, which precedes the main parade and features our local youngsters, who bring considerable creativity to their entries. (no doubt with a bit of help from Mom & Dad) Always nice to see these young patriots waving their flag. 

Below is the Northwest Jr. Pipe band, providing a bit of Marching music. 

Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade!
Edmonds Kind of 4th Parade!
Les Abel catching a ride with Terry Crabtree 

Followed by the annual BBQ 

Of course, we can’t have Independence Day without our annual picnic/barbecue at the Legion Hall. Approximately 60 members of Post 66 American Legion and VFW Post 8870 and their guests enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and assorted other sides following the parade. Your editor was pleased that his comrades had left some food for him, since he always arrives a bit late after announcing duties. 

In the photo below are a few of the members and guests who attended. 

Followed by the annual BBQ

Post 8870 General Fund Depleted 

It is that time of the year, once again, when Post expenses tend to exceed revenues significantly, as annual payment for such things as the Post officers security bonds, purchase of supplies for Buddy Poppy events etc., come due, and our general fund is rapidly being depleted. 

Other than the modest share of annual dues that is returned to the Post, our general fund is entirely dependent on donations from members and friends of the Post. A great many of our present roster being Life Members, who pay no annual dues to VFW, they do not generate even that modest sum. Further complicating matters, is the ongoing impact of the COVID pandemic, which has significantly reduced meeting attendance, where our monthly raffle and meal donations also contribute to our coffers. 

If members could see their way to a modest donation (or even one not so modest) to the general fund, it would be very helpful. It’s our post, let’s take care of it. 

At present, our Relief Fund is in good shape and we expect ongoing Buddy Poppy events to keep it so, however, those funds cannot be used for Post operations. 

Thanks for considering a donation. 

From The Bookshelf 

by Mike Denton 

History of the 115th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry by Isaac Henry Clay Royse

History of the 115th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry 

by Isaac Henry Clay Royse 

Recently Past Commander Fred Apgar gifted your editor with a copy of this book, I having mentioned to him that my great-grandfather, Micager Denton, served in this unit from the time of Lincoln’s early call for volunteers to prosecute the war against the confederacy. Denton and his brother, David, enlisted on the same day in June 1862 and served in Company A, until the regiment was mustered out in in July 1864. 

Royse, the book’s author, was a Lieutenant in Company E of the regiment. The book is based on official rescords and the memories of Royse and his comrades. Micager Denton died about the time Royse started work on the book, which was published in 1900) so Micager’s personal experience is not included. 

History of the 115th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry by Isaac Henry Clay Royse
Pvt. Micager Denton, 115th Illinois Infantry -1862

Since moving away from Edmonds, Fred has been touring civil war battlefields, all over the southeast, including the Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19–20, 1863, in southeastern Tennessee, in which the 115th Illinois played a significant role. Chicamauga was one of the bloodier battles of the war featuring Union forces under General William Rosecrans and Gen. Braxton Braggs Confederate troops. The two sides suffered over 35,000 casualties in those two days, distributed as shown below:

Union Casualties: 

17,170
1,857 killed
9,956 wounded
5,157 captured or missing

Confederate Casualties:
18,454
2,313 killed
4,674 wounded
1,468 captured or missing 

Bragg out-generaled Rosecrancs, as the southern generals often did, but as was also so often the case, took more casualties than the south could readily replace, thereby bringing the eventual Union victory that much closer. 

Royse vividly describes three years of marching around Tennessee and Kentucky, chasing small Confederate units, skirmishing along the way, in the lead-up to Chicamauga and the subsequent battles to neart Nashville., which preced Sherman’s “March to the Sea” 

Also included in the book is an exploration of the experience of Union troops captured and held as prisoners of war in such notorious places as the Andersonville POW camp. The experience of a POW is never pleasant and that of captured troops in the Civil War was no exception, on both sides. 

Royse’ descriptions of camp life would probably not seem unfamiliar to any infantry soldier in the field to this day, absent modern communications, transport and medical care, (though one has to think that today’s MRE rations would beat the civil war soldiers’ hard tack and salt meat, supplemented with local foraging). 

If such histories interest you, this is one well worth reading. Following Apgar’s travels around the civil war battlefields, as her reports them on Facebook, which is what started us on this journey, has also been a worthwhile activity. 

Thanks Fred! 

June Post Meeting 

Much of the June meeting was devoted to planning for coming summer activities, including the Edmonds Kind of 4th parade for which VFW Post 8870 and American Legion Post 66 have performed lead color guard duties for many years. A full report with all available photos will be published in the July issue of this newsletter in the coming weeks. In addition to the parade planning which follows the outline laid out in the May issue. Return of our annual joint picnic/barbecue was also planned. Several of our staff, including Commander Carl Kurfess and Adjutant Jim Traner (who also serves as a Department Trustee, were to attend the Department of Washington Convention, which was held in Spokane this year. Those attending act as our Post delegates for the purpose of electing Department staff for the coming year and other official business. 

Other Summer activities – Edmonds Summer Market 

We want to hold one or more recruiting events (and Poppy distributions) at the Edmonds Summer Market sometime in the August-October timeline. We should be firming those plans up at the July Post meeting and will need your support. Stay tuned for further details. 

You will notice in the photo at lower right on page one, the presence of a new speakersystem, for which Commander Carl received purchase approval at the May meeting. We have a number of members who have hearing challenges (most vets do to some degree, especially those of us who served before the days of hearing protection devices. (Those weapons are loud!) The new system is providing better amplification of speakers during meetings. 

Post Officer Changes 

Cal Barnard, our elected Quartermaster, has been asked to take over as Adjutant by the commander. He has accepted that appointed position and has resigned as our elected Quartermaster. We will elect a new Quartermaster at the July post meeting. 

Monthly Meet Up to Connect Military, Veteran & Civilian Culture

Did you know?

A monthly meet up to connect military, veteran and civilian cultures. Speakers each month share knowledge. Learn something, meet someone new and make a difference.

Watch for a review of the upcoming July 13 event, to be held at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza, announnced earlier via email. 

The next event will be on August 10 at the Edmonds Food Bank, 828 Caspers St, from 10:30 to 12:30 PM and will feature a panel of Veteran Services, including Lori Tiffin, YMCA, Shawnee Baza, Dept of Veteran Affairs and James Armstrong of Workforce and DVA. 

Coffee and baked treats at 10:30; Lunch at 11:45, speaker at 12:00 PM. 

Did You Know? is a collaboration of Edmonds Food Bank and Operation Military Families. 

VFW Remembers Woody Williams 

VFW Remembers Woody Williams

The VFW is mourning the loss of the last living WWII Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams, who passed away at the age of 98. After WWII, he continued to serve the veteran community through his work at VA, his nonprofit the Woody Williams Foundation, and his tireless advocacy efforts for Gold Star families. Williams was a Gold Legacy member of VFW Post 7048, which bears his name, located in Fairmont, West Virginia. “

On behalf of the entire 1.5 million-member VFW family, our deepest condolences go out to Woody’s entire family, and we salute one of the last greatest of the ‘Greatest Generation,’” said VFW National Commander Matthew “Fritz” Mihelcic. 

The youngest of 11 children, Woody was born on a dairy farm in Quiet Dell, West Virginia, on October 2, 1923. He continueg to serve following WWII and retired from the Marine Corps after 17 years of service, with the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4. 

During WWII, Woody served in New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, and Guam before landing in Iwo Jima where his “valiant devotion to duty” earned him the Medal of Honor. It was presented to him by President Harry Truman in a ceremony at the White House on October 5, 1945. 

Do You Recognize this Young Airman? 

Les Abel

From time to time we are able to get our hands on photos of Post comrades from their days of active service, giving us a glimpse of the young service members we once were. 

This photograph of Les Abel is dated, Les tells us, from 1951, when he was a young Airman stationed in Germany for a then even younger USAF. 

Les has been a very active member of VFW Post 8870 for many years and in recent years has been the perennial Commander of American Legion Post 66. 

Hey, we’d recognize Les anywhere! 

2022-23 Dept. of Washington Commander Sworn In 

2022-23 Department of Washington Commander Paul Herrera 

2022-23 Department of Washington Commander Paul Herrera

Herrera is an Army veteran from Post 2224 in Puyallup. 

VFW Department of Washington 2022-23 Officers were elected at the State Convention in Spokane in June. Here is a list of the principal command staff. A complete list of all elected and appointed officers can be found on the Department of Washington web site. https://vfwwa.org/ 

Paul Herrera, Commander – Army, Post 2224, Puyallup 
Craig Dougherty, Sr. Vice Commander – Army – Post 6785, Kent 
Perry Taylor, Jr. Vice Commander- Navy- Post 7392, Oak Harbor 
Fred Green, State Adjutant, Quartermaster – Navy – Post 9430, Seattle 
Drew James, Judge Advocate – Army – Post 7511, Monroe 
Frank Persa – Army Post 5580, Yelm 

The opening ceremonies at the State Convention in Spokane.  At front right is our own District 1 Commander Otis Wolfe
The opening ceremonies at the State Convention in Spokane. At front right is our own District 1 Commander Otis Wolfe