Results of Call for Donations to General Fund

Funding effort to continue 

Members responded to last month’s call for donations with a total of approximately $ 1,000.00, half of which came from a single anonymous member’s $ 500 match. Those gifts, combined with funds received from VFW National for Life Member dues and a few other gifts has kept the Post general fund afloat for the moment. 

We are continuing our funding drive by preparing a mailing to the members honoring their service in foreign wars, and asking for a donation to our general fund. It also asks members to update their demographics. The mailing includes a stamped return envelope to Post 8870. Please give this your attention when it arrives. 

We have rearranged our donation page on the web site to make it easier to choose between donating to the general fund, the Poppy (Relief) fund or to the Edmonds Veterans Plaza. Donations can be made by credit card at The “donate” button is right there on the landing page. You will receive a prompt email receipt. 

You might also consider a regular small donation on your credit card, (add it to your monthly bill list). Every little bit helps and remember, we are not permitted to use funds generated by our semi-annual poppy drives for Post operations. 

POW Trivia: Skunk Works or “Something smells here”

POW Trivia: Skunk Works or Something smells here

by Carl Kurfess 

The term “Skunk Works” came from Al Capp’s satirical, hillbilly comic strip Li’l Abner, which was immensely popular in the 1940s and ’50s. The “Skonk Works” was a dilapidated factory located on the remote outskirts of Dogpatch, in the backwoods of Kentucky. According to the strip, scores of locals were done in yearly by the toxic fumes of the concentrated “skonk oil”, which was brewed and barreled daily by “Big Barnsmell” (known as the lonely “inside man” at the Skonk Works), by grinding dead skunks and worn shoes into a smoldering still, for some mysterious, unspecified purpose. 

Originally, the “Skunk works” was a Lockheed research-and-development operation where the SR-71 and U-2 spy planes were developed. The original Lockheed facility, during the development of the P-80 Shooting Star, was located adjacent to a malodorous plastics factory. According to a memoir, an engineer jokingly showed up to work one day wearing a Civil Defense gas mask. To comment on the smell and the secrecy the project entailed, another engineer, referred to the facility as “Skonk Works”. As the development was very secret, the employees were told to be careful even with how they answered phone calls. One day, when the Department of the Navy was trying to reach the Lockheed management for the P-80 project, the call was accidentally transferred to an engineer’s desk, who answered the phone in his trademark fashion of the time, by picking up the phone and stating “Skonk Works, inside man here”. “What?” replied the voice at the other end. “Skonk Works”, the engineer repeated. The name stuck. 

9/11 – 19 Years Later – Never Forget

Annual Remembrance Held Virtually 

Last Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 marked the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that changed America forever. The memories of that day are still vivid and raw in our nation’s heart, but the heroism that emerged from the rubble of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in the air above a rural Pennsylvania field, should inspire Americans for generations to come. As we remember 9/11 and the nearly 3,000 innocent lives lost that terrible day, the VFW and Edmonds Post 8870, hope all Americans pause and reflect on those we lost and those who continue to sacrifice in the defense of freedom. 

As time has passed, an entire generation of Americans has been born and grown nearly to adulthood who have no memory of that day. It is the duty of those of us who do remember to ensure that it is not forgotten. 

Because of the Covid pandemic, our annual gathering at the Edmonds downtown fire station was substituted with a virtual ceremony. If you missed the virtual memorial ceremony, which was broadcast on Facebook, follow this link to view the recorded event: 

The Edmonds 9/11 Memorial contains the remains of a World Trade Center beam 

Another “Virtual” Post Meeting

Another “Virtual” Post Meeting

As we continue moving through the Covid nightmare of 2020, another virtual post meeting was held on August 20. Fifteen members of our Post attended via the “Zoom” online platform. Joshua Schreck, Dept. Chief of Staff and State Parliamentarian, of Renton Post 1263, visited from Department HQ. 

If you have yet to log on for our Zoom based Post meeting, please try to join us for September. Access can be had via the Zoom link sent out by Jim Traner via email. If you experience technical issues, call or email Jim or your Commander (or your editor for that matter) and we will do our best to help you get on. We hope to see more of you for September. Most any desktop computer, iPad or smart phone with an internet connection is capable of accessing the software.

Since we began the Zoom connection, broadcasting our meetings on line, Past Commander Fred Apgar has been one of our members notable for his regular attendance. 

Among other items of business, efforts to get the word out on the 2020-21 Essay contests and Voice of Democracy were discussed, as well as Teacher of the Year and Safety awards. The pandemic is making those programs particularly challenging this year. 

You will finds plans for fund raising and membership drives discussed elsewhere in this newsletter. 

Post Surgeon Jay Hansen summarized members’ activities in veteran and public service for the month of July. Some of us, particularly members who are part of the Honor Guard and, as always, resident sketch artist Mike Reagan continue to be active. 

Virtual meetings will continue until health authorities allow gatherings of more than 25 members and until our members feel comfortable with meeting in person. Your command staff has been making this decision month to month, watching developments and keeping in mind the average age and vulnerability of our membership.  

Our Post Needs Operating Funds -Can You Help?

Our Post Needs Operating Funds -Can You Help?

Most of you are no doubt aware that the Post keeps its operating funds strictly separate from our Relief Fund, as is required by our charter and by-laws. Money donated through our Buddy Poppy program cannot be spent on Post operations. 

While our operating costs are modest (thanks in no small part to the generosity of our brother American Legion Post, who provide our meeting space) they are ongoing and over the course of the year add up. July expenses included the semiannual fee for our Post Office Box, postage itself, insurance, the security bond for our command staff and web site expenses. 

If a few members and friends could make a donation to our general fund, any amount would help, ($ 25, $50, $100… whatever you can do) our bank balance can return to health. Just make the check out to VFW Post 8870, mark it for general fund and mail to VFW Post 88780, PO Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020.

Buddy Poppies & Other Fund Raising Ideas

Buddy Poppies & Other Fund Raising Ideas

Veterans Day is moving in on the horizon and our semi-annual “Buddy Poppy” drive along with it. Once again, as with Memorial Day, the Covid pandemic will preclude our presence at the local supermarkets to distribute Poppies. Our virtual Poppy Drive was surprisingly successful in May for Memorial Day and we expect to revisit that effort for Veterans Day, beginning early in October. 

You can all help by sharing our promotional materials on your own social media and encouraging your friends and family to donate. All of the recipients of our Relief fund will continue to need our support and that of our community. 

An additional fund raising project, involving the online public auction of some of Mike Reagan’s celebrity sports figure sketches, is in the planning stages. We will have more information on that project soon. Stay tuned.

Commander Rose Receives Awards at District Event

The annual District 1 School of Instruction was held on Sept. 12 at the Post 2100 hall in Everett. In the photo above above left, Edmonds Post 8870 Commander Rose Gilliland receives individual category award certificates from District Commander Otis Wolfe. These awards recognize the efforts of the members of our post over the 2019-20 VFW year. 

At right, Department of Washington Commander Traci Williams, accompanied by Past Commander John Rust have just presented Commander Gilliland with the “White Hat” of an All State Post Commander, which is worn on behalf of the entire post’s efforts during her first year as commander. We were very close to making “All American Post” status last year, coming just a bit short in the new member recruitment category. Congratulations are in order to Commander Rose and the entire membership on a very successful year, under trying circumstances! 

Past Commander Fred Apgar checks off bucket list item …from a perfectly good airplane

Despite having moved to the other side of the country, Past Commander Fred Apgar continues to keep his VFW membership at Edmonds Post 9/11. Fred regularly attends Post meetings on Zoom, even when we have in-person meetings. Fred posted this report recently on Facebook: 

“Yesterday, (Sept 6) I crossed off another adventure from my bucket list. I drove to Statesboro, a town about an hour’s drive from Savannah. My destination was the Jumping Place, a drop zone and sky diving center at the Bulloch County Airport. In tandem, I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and enjoyed nearly ten minutes of thrills and pure adventure. Casey was my TI (Tandem Instructor), he has made more than 7,000 jumps, and he was terrific. We exited the plane at an elevation of 11,500 feet and free fell for about a minute before the chute was deployed (it was my job to pull the cord, but I was so excited, I forgot to do it), and we enjoyed about eight minutes in the air on our descent. The parachute was incredibly easy to steer, and on our descent we did some acrobatics before we made a soft landing on our butts.” 

September is Suicide Prevention Month.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.

The VFW remains dedicated to raising awareness, improving research and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. We’re proud to announce the fifth annual “A Day to Change Direction” will take place Sept. 19. As brothers and sisters-in-arms, we have an obligation to ensure every veteran receives the help and support they need. Click here for more information on how you can get involved.

In Memorium

Amos B Chapman 

Amos Chapman

We lost another of our few remaining WWII vets recently, when Amos Chapman died following a stroke. Amos grew up in Toppenish, WA but also lived in Seattle and graduated from Franklin HS. He joined the US Navy in May, 1943, just a couple months before turning 18. He served aboard the USS Killen (DD-593) in the Pacific as a Fire Controller. The Killen was a new destroyer built in Bremerton. It provided convoy escort, shore bombardment and anti-aircraft screen. It participated in action in the Surigao Strait in the campaign to retake the Philippines. The Killen was attacked by 9 Japanese Aircraft off of Leyte and was heavily damaged by a bomb, killing 15 crewmen. (In the photo at left, he displays the medal awarded to US Vets of the Phillippine campaign. At right, Amos is with his ship’s monkey mascot aboard the Killen. Such mascots were not uncommon in the Phillippine operations) Amos resided in Edmonds. He retired from the US Postal Service Seattle. He leaves 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren and 7 great grandchildren. 

Amos Chapman

Memorials in the age of Covid-19

Memorials in the age of Covid-19
Amos Chapman
Amos Chapman

In this age of the Covid pandemic (six months into it as this is written) gatherings of friends and comrades have been pushed aside. Post meetings are held “virtually” over Zoom, social gatherings of any size cancelled and even proper farewells to our fallen comrades are being “postponed”, pretty much indefinitely. It is difficult not having the opportunity to say goodbye in the long established ceremonies of our social order, religious or otherwise. 

One thing that goes on is our Post’s resident sketch artist Mike Reagan’s effort to remember each and everyone of our comrades in portrait sketches, most recently those of Buck Weaver and Amos Chapman, two much loved members of VFW Post 8870. 

Buck Weaver
Buck Weaver

Recently, Reagan, along with Post Commander Rose Gilliland, has arranged small, properly masked and socially distanced, gatherings of Post and family members to present Reagan’s sketches of our lost comrades to their families. The photos included here show these presentations to the Weaver and Chapman families held recently at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza. What better use for this space that our members worked so hard to see built. 

No doubt we all agree that these brief, informal remembrances are a grossly inadequate farewell to our comrades. Once we are able to gather in greater numbers, we must see that they are bid a proper goodbye, each according to his own traditions. We know our Honor Guard is anxiously awaiting that opportunity. 

Memorials in the age of Covid-19