Newsletter Articles

Fourth of July Parade

When Martin Spani, Post 1040’s Commander and I attended the Convention in Yakima, the meeting hall, hallways, and dining room were draped with the pictures of our young KIA’s from this state.  It was a sober reminder why we need to be here for the next generation of veterans.  Martin borrowed five of the banners shown following the convention.  These young men were all from this area.  The project is the creation of a Gold Star mother from Spokane who has created a banner for each KIA from the state of Washington and we were honored to carry them and show the crowd the face of sacrifice—not just some name published in the newspaper.  I wasn’t sure of the impact these had until a fellow in my office building popped into my office and told me his wife who attended the parade, was brought to tears when she saw these banners.

We had a great turnout for the parade and even a bigger turnout for the BBQ at the  Legion Hall afterwards.  Of course, there were a few faces in there eating our food we didn’t recognize, but what the heck, it was a great BBQ thanks to Tom Hallums of our Post who put the entire event together by himself.  He is now permanently in charge of it.

Flag Retirement Picnic

The Boy Scouts will be holding their annual Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Nile Country Club on August 6th.  In conjunction with that ceremony, Post 1040, our Post, American Legion Posts 66. 37, and 234 will be attending.  It will be held in Nile Area C (the same place as last year if you attended).  While lunch is at 1200 hours, we need volunteers to arrive at 1030 to assist in the setup.  If you can’t make it to the early shift, we need folks to assist in serving food and in the cleanup and tear down following the picnic.  This is a lot of fun and hopefully summer will have arrived by then.  If not, bring your Gortex and enjoy a hotdog or hamburger and the camaraderie of your fellow veterans.

Aquasox Baseball Game

I know its on the calendar but just a reminder of the upcoming Aquasox game at 7PM on August the 13th.  We are attending the game with Post 1040.  I believe they have sold 25 tickets to their members and we’ve sold 20 tickets to our Post members and wives.  I oversold the number of tickets I had available and was able to order 4 additional tickets located in the VFW area from the Aquasox ticket office.  If you wish to attend and haven’t purchased your tickets, give them a call and see if any are available in our area (just ask where the VFW is sitting).  Tickets are $10 and it should be a fun outing.

Website & Email

We are in the process of updating our website.  It’s a bit tired since I put it up 7 or 8 years ago.  Also, please refrain from sending emails to our website unless it pertains to VFW business.  We are getting a lot of “please pass this on” emails which we won’t pass on.  I probably have a couple of centuries of bad luck coming from not passing on these emails, but I know we all get too much stuff in our inboxes as it is.

The Last Word

I have a calendar with every weekend in August marked with a VFW event.  If it was anything else, other than fishing with my buddies, I would roll my eyes and complain.  However, its pretty darn hard complaining when it’s a BBQ with the Boy Scouts, an evening with my Post members and those from 1040 at a ballgame, or attending the National Convention.  And August is just the lead-up to when we really get busy with Voice of Democracy contests, Teacher of the Year, etc., Buddy Poppies, speaking in schools about Veterans Day, etc.  An active Post like ours participates in all these events and that requires getting off your duff and making things happen.  I can say without any hesitation, we don’t allow any moss to grow on our backsides, although if this rain doesn’t stop sooner or later, it will.  We have folks stepping up and volunteering for anything that is coming up and I want to thank each and everyone who does take part in Post activities.  As busy as we are, we can do more for our veteran community and we are investigating ways to do so.  I ask you to please attend Post meetings and, if you can’t, drop an email to us and let us know where and when you can participate after reviewing the Post’s calendar.

Post Presents Mike Reagan’s drawings of Medal of Honor Recipients to the Nisei Veterans Committee

Post Presents Mike Reagan’s drawings of Medal of Honor Recipients to the Nisei  Veterans CommitteeOn June 24th, the Post made a presentation to the Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) a framed poster of the 21 Medal of Honor recipients from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team comprised of Americans from Japanese descent with a number of them from the Puget Sound area.  Mike had drawn the individual portraits and presented them to the Hawaii branch of the NVC earlier in the year.  Before he did so, he made the poster to the left and donated it to the Post to present to the local NVC in Seattle.  As some of you will recall, we have had several members of their organization speak to us and we were invited to a tour of their facility.  The presentation was made at their monthly meeting and Mike was invited to be the guest speaker.  Unlike our Post meetings, the widows and wives of members are invited to attend their meetings and they extended that invitation to our spouses.  As Commander Jim Traner was out of town attending the Annual Department Conference in Yakima, Senior Vice Commander Rock Roth made the presentation to a packed house of both their members and ours. After I took this picture in my office, we had a brass plate attached to the frame saying that this was “A gift to the Nisei Veterans Committee from VFW Post 8870, Edmonds, WA”.

Memorial Day Ceremony

Memorial Day CeremonyFred Apgar is shown here explaining the White Table to the audience estimated to be between 400 to 500 folks, by far the largest in history.  In addition, Mike Reagan was the honored speaker and moved the audience with his story of how he became involved in the Fallen Heroes Project.  The Boy and Girl Scouts carried and displayed posters of many of 2,600 portraits he has drawn to date.  Of course, our Post and the American Legion presented the colors.  Our Voice of Democracy winner, Katarina Nguyen, read her essay and did a fine job.  It was more or less a ceremony presented by Post 8870 and it was a day in which we remembered our fallen comrades with reverence.

Post Installs New Officers

District Commander Richie Richter installed the new officers for the year 2011-2012 at the June Post meeting.  Elected officers were:
Commander Jim Traner
Senior Vice Commander Fred Apgar
Junior Vice Commander Ron Clyborne
Quartermaster Elizabeth Mather
Chaplain Rock Roth
Judge Advocate Chuck Siljeg
Surgeon Al Boyett
1st Year Trustee Bob Crawford
3rd Year Trustee Les Abel

Annual Department Convention

Commander Jim Traner attended the annual Department convention held in Yakima, his old home town (although joining the Army provided a quick way out of town).  Not a lot of new ground was covered although the Department is moving more and more to communicating solely by  email and social networks.  I know some of the folks are complaining, but its one more good reason to get the younger folks involved—at least they can retrieve your email for you.  Carlos Almeda is the incoming Department Commander and will do a great job.  Outgoing DC is Jerry Herker who did a great job of moving the Department forward.   Commander in Chief Richard Eubank attended the conference and was the keynote speaker at the banquet on Friday night.  His message was simple, if we want to protect veterans’ rights we need to join veterans’ group.  The VFW has lost 700,000 members in the last 15 years or so.  It’s up to each of us to stop that tide.