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Veterans Day Poppies – 2022 

Veterans Day Poppies - 2022

On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4 & 5, we held our semi-annual poppy distributions and raised money for our Veterans Relief Fund at three area grocery stores – QFC Westgate in Edmonds, QFC Speedway in Mukilteo and Town & Country market in Mill Creek. Given the weather conditions, including power outages experienced that week, as well as a rather light turnout of participating members we did remarkably well, bringing in a total of $14,000 over the two days (after all all adjustments). 

In past years, we have staffed as many as five stores, but it has become more difficult to staff even the three locations. We have lost a number of our regular participants over the past couple of years, some of whom have moved away and others who are no longer physically able to be with us, or who have passed on. We are very much in need of new members and participation from our more inactive members in this and the Memorial Day event. 20 Post members participating, out of a total of around 200 on the roster? Surely more of us can give up a couple of hours twice a year to help out. 

The participants were: 

Duane Bowman
Calvin Barnard
Carl Kurfess
Dan Doyle
Charlie Gaul

Pete Farmer
Les Abel
Nia Parvini
Vivian Olsen
Tom Hallums

Michael Reagan
Rose Gilliland
Alden Gilliland
Don Stapleton
Bryan Rowe

Charlie Smith
Mike Denton
Linda Denton
Dan Mullene
Steve Brown

Jim Murdock
Jim Traner
Holy Rosary Girl Scouts

Chaplain Doyle recruited a group of Girl Scouts from Holy Rosary church in Edmonds, which included his granddaughter. A creative way to draw attention to our cause. Many thanks to non-member participants, Edmonds City Councilor and USAF Veteran Vivian Olson, and Linda Denton, wife of past Commander Mike Denton, as well as American Legion Post 66 Adjutant Dan Mullene. 

Veterans Day at the Plaza 

Veterans Day at the Plaza
Piper Kyle Gaul

More than 75 veterans, their families and community members filled Edmonds Veterans Plaza Friday morning to honor and give thanks to those who have served in the military and to the military families who support them and sacrifice with them. 

After welcoming remarks from Carl Kurfess, Commander of VFW Post 8870 and the invocation by Post Chaplain Dan Doyle, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson delivered introductory remarks. 

“You carry the weight many cannot bear,” he began, addressing veterans and their families. “It is a constant reminder that what we have today came with a price that includes not only serving in far-flung locations, often in harm’s way, but the days and nights away from family, missing holidays, children’s’ birthdays and more.” 

Concluding with a quotation from Gen. Douglas MacArthur on the meaning of the words duty, honor and country, Nelson stressed that these are not just words that are said, but for veterans it is the words they live. 

Keynote speaker Michael Reagan, founder of the Fallen Heroes Project, then spoke of the things that tie veterans together. 

“All veterans have one thing in common,” he began, “– memories. Each of us who have served walks a different path. Some were wonderful, allowing us to experience different cultures and people. Others were not pretty or nice, and some of these left scars we don’t like to talk about. 

“If you’re not telling your stories and you need to, call me,” he concluded. “I don’t celebrate Veterans Day one day a year — it’s every day for me. When someone dies for me, it’s the greatest gift anyone can give me.” 

The second keynote speaker was Mike Schindler, founder and CEO of Operation Military Family

“I had a prepared speech today, but I’m not going to give it,” he began. “Instead, I want to tell you about a message I received this morning from my daughter, telling me how proud she is of me and my service to our country. It really choked me up. For me, this was a great reminder that because of all who have served and the sacrifices they have made, my daughter is today able to live her passion and pursue a career in medicine. 

“I served not for political reasons,” he concluded, “but because I love this country. I don’t believe God put us here to be small — we are here for a reason. Now go out there and do something amazing!” 

Photos & portions of the article courtesy Larry Vogel, MyEdmondsNews.com 

Christmas Toy Drive

Christmas Toy Drive

Edmonds VFW Post 8870 has once again arranged to collect toys at “Teri’s Toybox” (420 Main St in downtown Edmonds) to benefit the Edmonds Food Bank’s Toy Shop program for families in need. We have placed an appropriately decorated and labeled box at the store in which to deposit donations. (Shown at left) 

We encourage all VFW members and friends to drop by the store, purchase a toy and drop it in the box unwrapped. The toys will be collected periodically between now and the pre-Christmas deadline of Dec. 15 and delivered to the United Methodist Church, where the Edmonds Food Bank distributes toys for needy children. In the photo at right, Post 8870 Chaplain Dan Doyle delivers the first load to the Edmonds Food Bank for distribution. 

Christmas Toy Drive

This has been very successful drive over the past few years and we would like to repeat that success.

The Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation cordially invites you to the 2022 Wreaths Across America Ceremonial Wreath Commemoration  

The Veterans Memorial Wreath Foundation cordially invites you to the 2022
Wreaths Across America Ceremonial Wreath Commemoration

Please join us at Veterans Memorial Park at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery on Saturday, December 17th at 9 AM 

During a short military ceremony eight ceremonial wreaths will be dressed to honor our Fallen Heroes who served in the United States Armed Forces. Help us place wreaths on headstones of our military heroes in gratitude for their service. We encourage you to invite family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. 

Attendance is FREE. 

Questions? www.vmwf.org 

From the Commander’s Desk 

  1. Watch the weather. It is Autumn now and it will be getting colder and wetter. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen, don’t be out in the sun too long (while it lasts). 
  2. The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. It is relevant to Vietnam era Veterans. You can find more information at the following links: 
  1. Consider signing a Veterans Day card for a fellow Veteran. See the link below. The VFW has a special way for you to show our brothers and sisters they’re appreciated as we head toward Veterans Day. The VFW will be sending cards and we want to make sure a fellow veteran receives one from you. We know how much you care, so please sign a card for a hospitalized veteran or service member (at this link) and brighten their day. 
  2. Speaking of Veterans Day, this year it will be Friday, November 11th. We are planning a ceremony at our Edmonds Veterans Plaza at 11am. Our keynote speaker will be Mike Schindler of Operation Military Family. Pins, and a display from the Northwest Veterans Museum will be there. 

We will be be handing out Buddy poppies on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 at three stores: 1) QFC Westgate, 2) QFC Mukilteo, and 3) Town & Country Market in Mill Creek. As always, we need volunteers. Please attend our October 19th Post meeting for a chance to signup. 

September Post Meeting 

September Post Meeting

Summary of minutes of September Post Meeting

  • Guest speaker Dean Olson talked about the need for volunteers to assist people with hearing disabilities at the Edmonds Waterfront Center. 
  • New member Chuck Smith was introduced. Member acceptance was moved by Jim Traner/and 2nd by Duane Bowman & accepted by vote. 
  • Zoom recording of the Post meetings are now available on the post website. Quartermaster’s report was reviewed and approved. Members authorized the payment of small outstanding bills. 
  • Senior Vice Commander Duane Bowman led a discussion of upgrades to the display materials for the tables that we use during our fund raising efforts. 
  • Veterans Day Poppy distributions will be held November 4 and 5. Members are urged to sign up early, at the October Post meeting. 
  • District 1 School of Instruction was held on Sept 10, 2022. It as announced that the Community Service Report will be done on an individual member basis, ONLY ON LINE. (Instructions in a separate article in this newsletter. 
  • Don Stapleton will manage the Essay contest. 
  • The Bylaw update is in progress. 
  • Will have a Veterans Day ceremony on 11-11-2022, @ the Veterans Plaza. We need to find a speaker. 
  • It was moved by Brian Rowe & 2nd by Cal Barnard the Post spend approximately $120.00 to get 2 plaques for Rose Gilliland & Dennis Peterson to be awarded for their devotion and hard work that they have given to the Post over the years. 
Sept.Speaker Dean Olson
Sept. Speaker Dean Olson

Dean Olson joined us to speak about the need for volunteers to assist people with hearing disabilities at the Edmonds Waterfront Center, one of the many programs offered at the EWC. If you missed his presentation and are interested in this program, contact Olson at deanolson11@gmail.com. 

At age 4, Olson began experiencing minor hearing loss that ultimately progressed until — as an adult — he became profoundly deaf, requiring bilateral cochlear implants. Olson serves as president of Washington State Communication Access and was instrumental in getting a Senate bill passed in the State legislature requiring closed-captions on televisions in all places of public accommodation in Washington state – which was unanimously adopted and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee May 10, benefiting people who are hearing impaired. 

Edmonds Octoberfest 

Edmonds Octoberfest

Post 8870 participated with the Rotary Club of Edmonds Octoberfest event Sept. 23 & 24. We had 4 volunteers to hand out Buddy Poppies and make VFW membership applications available to festival visitors. Participating with Commander Carl Kurfess were Les Abel, Bryan Rowe and Pete Farmer. The members handed out a bunch of poppies & flags. and collected $ 21 in donations, as well as membership applications and VFW info. No applicants signed up on the spot. 

Above right, the post’s tent was broken out of storage for the event, and Commander Carl set up a separate tent for a display from the Northwest Veterans Museum, shown at left. 

Edmonds Octoberfest

Notes from VFW National 

Notes from VFW National

If you’ve been on social media or checked your email inbox recently, you’ve no doubt received countless solicitations from law firms or agencies advertising their assistance with your VA claim in the wake of the PACT Act. 

From our National Veterans Service experts, here are some important things to remember: 

  • File a claim for any PACT Act conditions. 
  • Contact a VFW Accredited Service Officer today to discuss the PACT Act and what it means for you. 
  • Hold off on committing to a Camp Lejeune lawsuit until VA publishes how the offset will affect your settlement and benefits. 
  • NEVER PAY for claims assistance. Presumptive claims are straightforward and can easily be handled by any VA-accredited claims representative. 
  • If you’ve been fighting for years, you may think a PACT Act claim will be complicated. Good news: Presumptive claims are some of the simplest claims because VA is conceding that your illness happened because you went somewhere bad. 

Stay up-to-date with the PACT Act and what it means for your claim by visiting vfw.org/PACTActInfo. The VFW and our network of more than 2,000 accredited claims representatives will be by your side as we navigate through the interpretation and implementation of the PACT Act together. We won’t rest until every veteran receives the care and compensation they deserve. 

Reporting your Community Service Hours/mileage 

Instituting a new system 

At the beginning or the VFW year in July, Department introduced a new method for reporting community service as VFW members. We will no longer report through the Post Surgeon, but are to report individually and directly through the Department Web site. This is a program which VFW National is considering rolling out nationwide, for which our Department has been selected as a “Beta Test” group. 

To do so, log into the Members Only section of the Department of Washington site, (https://vfwwa.org/di/ vfw/v2/default.asp) using your VFW member number as your login name and your last name as your password. You will see an option for “Program Reporting” on the resulting page, which will take you to a page for entering your information like that appearing on page five of this newsletter. This page uses drop down boxes for some entries and requires typed text for others. 

If you are unclear about what is reportable, you may want to review the instructional pdf on Community Service Reporting, which you will find under the Programs tab, and go over those rules in detail. This pdf was prepared for the old CSR report form, so you can ignore that part of the pdf. The actual rules discussed about what is reportable are current. 

Let’s give this our best shot. 

Reporting your Community Service Hours/mileage

9/11 – Never Forget 

9/11 - Never Forget

Several members of Post 8870 attended the South County Fire Department’s annual observance of the 9/11 tragedy, held at the 9/11 Memorial on 6th Avenue, including Commander Carl Kurfuss, Quartermaster Jim Traner and resident artist Mike Reagan.

The event was hosted by retired Edmonds Fire Fighter Bronco Erickson, who was instrumental in the acquiring of the tower remnants used to create the memorial. 

At this year’s event, with the consent of Erickson, Vietnam Marine Veteran Jim Curtis, who started a Karate Studio a number of years ago, presented Reagan with a 10th Degree Black Belt. The Belt says “Umibushi” on it (apparently this translates to; “Warrior of the Sea.” ) 

9/11 - Never Forget

He included with it a 50th Anniversary book on Vietnam, “A Time To Honor”, inscribed: “This is to confirm that Marine Corps Combat Veteran Michael Reagan has been Awarded the title of, Dai Shihan and the rank of Ju-Dan in the Martial Art of Umibushi Goshin Jutsu”. 

If you have never attended one of these 9/11 events, consider it for next year. They are very moving occasions.