Search Results for: edmonds veterans plaza

Number of Results: 69

Edmonds Mayor Honored for EVP Support

Edmonds Mayor Honored for EVP Support

At a November meeting of the Edmonds City Council, Mayor Dave Earling was presented with his portrait by Fallen Heroes Project artist Mike Reagan, in recognition of his work in support of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza. Earling will end his service as Mayor in January of 2020 after serving two full terms. 

The backing and support of the City and its leaders has been invaluable to the completion of the Plaza. 

THANK YOU Mr. Mayor! 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Commander Gilliland

More than 350 veterans, families, kids and well-wishers overflowed onto the sidewalks surrounding the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Monday afternoon, all drawn by one purpose — to honor, remember and connect with our military veterans. 

Dan Doyle, VFW Post 8870 Chaplain, gave an emotional invocation that crystalized in a few words the meaning of the day. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Chaplain Doyle

“We’re here today to honor those who at some point in their lives signed a blank check to give, up to even their lives, in service to you,” he said, “so that you and we all could enjoy the liberties, peace and privileges of this nation.” 

Emcee Rose Gilliland, VFW Post 8870 Commander, then took over: “I feel like I’m sitting in a living history today,” she began. “I’m surrounded by veterans who have lived it, breathed it and done it.” She went on to call on attendees from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (the War on Terror) to be recognized. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Rep. Peterson speaking

Keynote speaker was State Representative Strom Peterson, who recalled how the Edmonds Veterans Plaza got its start during his tenure serving on the Edmonds City Council. “It was about five years ago that a core group of organizers put their energies together to turn this area into a special place to honor veterans,” he said. “With dogged determination, this core group provided the energy and inspiration to accomplish this in record time.” Peterson went on to stress the key role of the plaza in providing a place to make connections.“For those who did not have the opportunity to serve, it’s a place to connect with and learn from those who did,” he explained. “For veterans like Michael Reagan who walks by my house every day on his daily pilgrimage to the plaza, it’s a place to make connections with his friends, some of whom didn’t make it back. And for all of us, it’s a place to remember what it means to serve our country and our community.” 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Clara Jennings, WWII Marine veteran turns 100 in January

Jim Traner then announced the names of those honored with newly placed pavers in the plaza: 

Ron Pajoman, Navy 1960-1965
Chuck Smith, Army 1963-1999
Patrick Marker, Marines 1944-1946; 1950-1951
John, Gregg and Kim Sharp, Marines, Navy and Navy respectively (single paver) 
Beau Crabtree, Army 1991-2001
Donald Stapleton, Air Force, 1957-1978
William Cobb, Marine 1966-1968 
Edward Johnson, Navy 1942-1946 
Paul Hauck, Army 1944-1946; 1947-1963 
Jim Roy Harrison, Navy 1942-1945 
Jack Oharah, Navy 1962-1966 
Jeffrey James Curtis, Marines, 1966-1967 

Gold Star Mother Monica McNeal was on hand to present a Vietnam War 50-year commemorative pin to Vietnam veterans who had not previously received one. The program closed with Mike Denton leading attendees in a chorus of “God Bless America”. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
8 year old John Wyatt examines military memorabilia.

Veterans Plaza Committee Honors Carrie Hite

Veterans Plaza Committee Honors Carrie Hite

At the July Post meeting, former City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite was honored for her enormous contribution to the development and completion of our Edmonds Veterans Plaza. 

Plaza Committee Chair Ron Clyborne spoke of Hite’s contributions to the project, recognizing the essential nature of her part in its completion. While Hite recently resigned from the Edmonds position to assume a similar role in the City of Redmond, the Edmonds Veterans Plaza will surely stand as a highly visible symbol of her legacy to the city. She had served the City of Edmonds since 2012. 

Veterans Plaza Committee Honors Carrie Hite
As a symbol of our gratitude, Mike Reagan, Post member and famed sketch artist of fallen heroes, presented Hite with a her recently completed portrait, shown here, along with a photo of the presentation itself.

The Post and all Edmonds veterans and their families are indeed grateful. 

New Information Kiosk Set for Veterans Plaza

New Information Kiosk Set for Veterans Plaza

One of the final items for the Edmonds Veterans Plaza, the new information kiosk is now on order, the deposit having been sent to the vendor, Advanced Kiosks, on August 11.

The kiosk will be located near the top of the path made of pavers honoring individual veterans and we hope to have it set up and running well before Veterans Day.

There are a variety of kinds of information that can be provided, all from online “cloud” access and include a link to WAServes ( https://washington.americaserves.org/) an online service set up to help veterans access services and information. We have provided this link before in this newsletter. If you have not done so. the above link will take you there.

The vendor will also provide software to allow us to set up a directory to guide visitors to each of the points in the Plaza bearing any particular veterans’ name and service information. It will take some time to organize and enter all of that information.

There will be ongoing maintenance required in both hardware and software, for which we have reserves in the Edmond Veterans Plaza fund, to help the city keep the Plaza current and well preserved.

At the July Post meeting, Jim Traner, who is a member of the Plaza Committee and one of the original organizers of the project, went over much of the details and a vote was taken to complete this part of the project.

Our thanks go out to Comrade Traner, Ron Clyborne and Bob Reinhart, who drove this portion of the project.

John Shelton, VFW Post 8870 Guard, Featured in Edmonds Beacon

John Shelton, VFW Post 8870 Guard, Featured in Edmonds BeaconIn the November 16th issue of the Edmonds Beacon, the photo at left and a story about John Shelton’s Vietnam War experience appeared, which read in part: 

“Sometimes, amid the red, white and blue celebration of soldiers on Veterans Day, we can forget what many of these grizzled old men actually did. 

They killed. Many vets are used to the first questions lobbed their way – How many people did you kill in the war? Most don’t want to talk about that. Then there’s Shelton, a Marine sent to Vietnam in 1959 before, he said, “they even knew there was a war.” Shelton was a sniper. He was 19. When it was all over, Shelton said he had 78 confirmed kills in the Vietnam War. “ 

Post 8870 Past Commander Jim Blossey feels that the Beacon story emphasizes the wrong aspect of the job of a Marine sniper and submits the following to corrects the record:

We are very grateful to editor Brian Soergel and the Edmonds Beacon for all the thoughtful coverage they give to our local VFW veterans and military veterans in general.

The Veterans Day just past provides a good example. While we held a brief ceremony at the new Edmonds Veterans Plaza, editor Soergel was standing in the crowd during a sopping November rainstorm. He interviewed one of our more active members, took a nice photo of him and placed them both on the front page of his paper. We are very grateful.

But at this point there is an important note that needs to be made.

The veteran he interviewed, John Shelton, was severely wounded in Vietnam and has been confined to wheelchair ever since. John was a Marine Corps sniper and he was very good at his job. 

No one wants to kill another human being—not unless they are some sort of a psychopath—and you won’t find many of those people qualifying for today’s military. War is and always has been a dirty, messy, and highly undesirable job. It is not a game; it is not a matter of who has the highest score; it is a matter of who survives.

In the American military, soldiers go about their deadly job while trying to avoid being killed themselves. Sometimes even more importantly they do everything in their power to protect their comrades and buddies from being killed.

That is the job of the sniper—to prevent the enemy from killing or injuring your friends. Which brings us back to the killing question. What should be asked of a combat sniper is not how many people he has killed but how many lives have been saved by neutralizing an adversary intent upon killing your comrades.

The number of lives saved is, unfortunately, a question that no one can answer. In John Shelton’s case they must have numbered in the hundreds, perhaps even the thousands. His job was to eliminate threats to his comrades. His weapon and his skills were tools that he was able to utilize to protect those comrades. John and others like him are not life takers, they are life savers.

As a postscript, John Shelton, prior to entering the Marines, was a star high school running back with a four-year scholarship to UCLA. Instead he chose to serve his country, was sent to Vietnam and wound up in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. There would be no football career for John, but he still had his scholarship. So he went to UCLA and four years later emerged with a baccalaureate degree in psychology. He went on to earn a masters degree and ultimately a PhD in behavioral psychology and became Dr. John Shelton. He had a long and successful practice ministering to thousands of patients and, undoubtedly, saving many more lives.

So again, on behalf of Edmonds Post 8870 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, I would like to thank Brian Soergel and the Edmonds Beacon for their continued coverage. And, personally, I would like to thank Dr. John Shelton for his service to our nation. May you always be remembered as one who saved lives…on the battlefield and at home.

 

James Blossey Past Commander

Veterans Remembered

Veterans Remembered

Post member Ron Clyborne provided this photo which includes his father, shown among the crew of his WWII bomber before his last mission. Clyborne senior is the man at far right in the top row.

An Alumnus of Virginia Military Institute (VMI), 2nd Lt. Clarence A. (“CA”) Clyborne , served in WWII as a bombardier with the 9th Bombardment Squadron, 7th Bombardment Group, 10th Air Force.

Clyborne died in a Japanese POW camp in late Dec. 1943 of injuries sustained upon landing after parachuting from his B-24 Liberator. The bomber was hit by enemy fire and crashed during a mission to the Insein rail yards (Rangoon) Burma on 1 Dec. 1943.

His remains have never been recovered. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American cemetery and as of 2017 in the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Memorial Garden.

If you have such photos you would like to share, we would be happy to publish them in future newsletters.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication

by Jim Traner

We had a fantastic turnout at the Plaza on May 24, to get the Plaza ready for the dedication. The city and Park Department were there as well as our planners, Siteworks.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication The City provided the plants and Siteworks indicated where we needed to dig and what to plant after we got the hole dug. Post 8870 members who showed up were Dick Simmons, John Shelton and his wife, Dan Doyle, Paul Russo, Phil Sacks, Mark Williams, Tom Hallums, Charlie Gaul, Duane Bowman, Terry Crabtree, Les Abel, Jerry Burton and Jim Tarner. Others there to help included State Rep. Strom Peterson, Maria Montalvo, Mike Schindler, Bob Rinehart, 6 ladies from the Woodsound Garden Club, and 3 members of the Growing Veterans organization.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication In the end, the Plaza looked like the finished product although the Parks Department and Siteworks Tell us there is still work to be done. Many thanks to all our volunteers for putting the finishing touch on our Edmonds Veterans Plaza.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication

Edmonds Veteran’s Plaza Update

Edmonds Veteran’s Plaza Update In a relatively short period of time the steering committee has raised $510,000 toward this project. All that remains is an additional $65,000 to assure that there is adequate funding to complete the project and provide tasteful amenities to honor our veterans. Citizen contributions of $100, $250 or $500 will go a long way toward finishing this task.

Contributions of $500 or more receive the opportunity to honor a veteran through a paver that will be placed on the plaza, or can be made to a fund to honor veterans who lack the financial resources to purchase a paver.

Donors of $1000 or more can have their names engraved on the donor wall in perpetuity, and major donors of $5000 or more will have newly designated and exclusive naming opportunities available.

Contributions in any amount, can be made to Edmonds Veteran’s Plaza, C/O Edmonds VFW Post 8870, PO Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020. Checks should be made payable to Edmonds VFW Post 8870, indicating that the check is for the new plaza. Donations can also be made online at http://edmondsveteransplaza.com. Credit cards are accepted.

Veterans Plaza Funding Goal Achieved!

Edmonds Veterans Plaza drawing

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Wall

The largest single donation received from an individual or family has put the Edmonds Veterans Plaza funding goal over the top; $16,000 from Bruce and Elaine Nickolson is the largest contribution from an individual donor, according to Ron Clyborne, chairman of the Plaza committee.

The volunteer co-chair of the Plaza’s funding committee, Tom Mesaros, said that the local community is being encouraged to continue to support the Plaza with their donations. Mesaros added, “Experience has shown that there is a possibility of unanticipated cost overruns. And of course there is the occasional enhancement that the committee failed to think of. Having a financial cushion to cover items like these is a responsible idea.”

The Plaza will consist of two complementary areas. The main plaza will feature a chest-high granite or marble wall honoring veterans of the five military services. The wall will incorporate waterfalls and emblems of the five services. Directly adjacent will be a Memorial Garden, a place of reflection dedicated to veterans that have passed away. Citizens may honor specific individual veterans by purchasing paving stones, dedicated benches and seating cubes that match the wall.

Donors Bruce and Elaine Nickolson are well-known locals. He is a 37-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer, followed by achieving an engineering degree the University of Washington and going on to found an electronics manufacturing firm, Opcon, Inc. Nickolson is a founder of the Edmonds Car Show and he and Elaine are founding members of the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Persons wishing to be a part of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza may donate by mailing a contribution to Edmonds Veterans Plaza, c/o Edmonds VFW Post 8870, PO Box 701, Edmonds, WA 98020. (Make
checks payable to Edmonds Veterans Plaza.) On-line donations can be made at http:// edmondsveteransplaza.com.

Clyborne said that construction is planned to begin by August 1 and the Plaza will be dedicated at a
public ceremony on Veterans Day of this year, Friday November 11.

Edmonds Community College’s Veterans Day Celebration

Several VFW members, including three of our own, will be featured participants in Edmonds Community College’s Veterans Day Celebration this year. The event will be held on Tuesday, November 10, at 10:30 AM in the college’s Black Box Theater.

Among those speaking at the event will be our Commander, Jim Blossey, and Ron Clyborne, the chair of the community’s Veterans Plaza committee. Post 8870 member Carl Kurfess will lead the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Honor Guard from Lynnwood VFW Post 1040 will present the colors.

The celebration is for the entire community, not just students, and veterans are especially invited to attend. The college has particularly encouraged VFW members to be there. Please wear your cover.

The Black Box Theater is located near the south side of the campus; parking is available. Refreshments will be served at the conclusion.