Our annual Christmas Party held on Saturday December 16 was a great success.
Thanks go out to Dan Mullene and American Legion Post 66 for co-hosting the event. Special thanks to my two decorating elves from our Auxiliary, Jo Boyett and Patsy Ethridge-Neal for all their hard work.
Great food and conversation were had plus we raised $500 from raffle items that was split with the American Legion.
We also raised $4,290 from our raffle of Michael Reagan’s Seahawks Legend poster. In addition, Michael did a special presentation to Michelle Clyborne of a portrait of her father, who served in the Special Forces in Vietnam.
We collected a lot of toys and food which I delivered to the Edmonds Food Bank by with the assistance of Quartermaster Joe Gray, to add to those already delivered from the collection at Teri’s Toybox, the downtown Edmonds toy store.
The Legion’s winter clothing Drive also received a lot of donations. The generosity of both the VFW and American Legion members is amazing!
If you weren’t able to make it to the party, we hope to see you there next year!
The raffle of the Michael Reagan’s “Northwest Seahawks Legends” was won by Jim Bennett of Mukilteo. Bennett is a member of the Olympic Fly Fishers, to which Jim Traner also belonged, as well as Comrade Don Stapleton, who was responsible for the sale of 100 raffle tickets to the members of that organization. Our congratulations go out to Bennett on his win as well as to Stapleton for a great job in ticket sales and, of course, our own resident artist Michael Reagan.
The post’s operating fund is now is much better shape, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved. We look forward to repeating this fund raiser in the future.
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.
Michael ReaganMike SchindlerMayor NelsonChris Edwards
“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.”
“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
Olivia Olson had just delivered her moving Voice of Democracy speech—she had won first place for an unprecedented fifth consecutive time and—although she didn’t know it—renowned Edmonds artist Michael Reagan was about to present her with the surprise of a lifetime.
Reagan is known for his remarkably lifelike pencil drawings of what he calls Fallen Heroes. His drawings have numbered in the thousands, though seldom has he done such a portrait for a living person. For him to do so, the individual would have to be exceptional indeed.
Those who have heard Olivia Olson speak know that she is not only exceptional, but mature and talented well beyond her 17 years. This year’s essay, entitled American History: Our Hope for the Future, was, in the opinion of the contest judges, her best yet.
When she completed her speech—all completely memorized and without notes—the crowd gave her a standing ovation. Then Michael Reagan unexpectedly came forward bearing a large discreetly wrapped package.
The usually unperturbable Olivia was clearly bewildered at what was happening. Reagan showed copies of several military young women, now dead, whose portraits he had drawn, and said how consistently moved he was at Olivia’s grasp of the meaning of patriotism and sacrifices such as these. He then unveiled a stunning portrait of Olivia and presented it to her as his personal tribute.
She looked over her left shoulder at her mother with an expression that wordlessly said Mom, what is happening? Then, fighting back tears but with a smile on her face she accepted the large framed picture. She stared at it for a moment, handed it to her mom and embraced Reagan for what seemed like a full minute. There was not a dry eye in the place, including the eyes of Michael Reagan.
At our regular monthly meeting on November 15, in addition to routine Post business, Commander Terry Crabree presented Michael Reagan’s portrait of Wesley Fisk to his daughter and Gill Loomis displays the Korean Ambassador for Peace Medal he received, along with the citation document, at the November 2 event at Edmonds Community College.
Post 8870 will conduct a raffle beginning in April as part of our contribution to the funding of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza. The raffle is expected to raise a total of $5,000 for the cause and will be conducted in part as an addition to our “Buddy Poppy” distribution efforts, as well as some special ticket selling events and the efforts of individual members and VFW supporters. Images of the raffle ticket and a promotional flyer are below.
Tickets and flyers will be available for distribution at the April Post Meeting.
Raffle drawing to be held at the Independence Day picnic, July 4, 2016
The winners need not be present to claim their prize.
Edmonds Veterans Plaza Raffle!
Help build a lasting tribute to Veterans; past, present & future
Donation $5.00 per ticket
See any VFW Post 8870 member for your chance to win these one-of-a-kind images.
Signed & Framed Original Seahawks Poster!
A Smaller unframed original Seahawks Poster
Both pieces by Famed Edmonds Artist Michael Reagan, USMC Vietnam Combat Veteran, founder Fallen Heroes Project
Drawing at VFW/Aerican Legion Picnic, July 4, 2016
Need not be present to win
Artist’s rendition of north wall area of the proposed plaza, honoring each of the five branches of service
At a recent ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery, Michael Reagan, an active and loyal member of our Post, was awarded the Citizens Before Self Honor Medal. Referred to as the Civilian Medal of Honor, this prestigious medal was awarded to Michael by the Medal of Honor Foundation, an organization comprised of recipients of our nation’s highest military medal, the Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH). This recognition is one of the highest and most prestigious awards that is bestowed on private citizens.
The Medal of Honor Foundation was founded in 1999 for the purpose of perpetuating the legacy of the MOH through outreach and educational programs. The program to honor private citizens was created to recognize those ordinary Americans from across the country who perform extraordinary acts of courage or through a continued commitment to service by placing the needs of others first. Michael was selected as a 2015 honoree “for his service in founding the non-profit Fallen Heroes Project, which provides hand-drawn portraits to the families of all servicemen and women who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan”.
Michael is a Seattle native, and following his high school graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Following a combat tour of duty in Vietnam, he attended art school. He worked as a graphic arts designer for the Seattle Public Schools, which led to a position at the University of Washington, an affiliation that remains today. Michael is a portrait artist, and during his 40 year career, he has drawn over 10,000 portraits of celebrities, professional athletes, U.S. Presidents, as well as other heads of state. Early in his career, Michael made the decision to use his skill and reputation as a much sought after portrait artist to perform charitable work for a wide range of benevolent organizations such as Boys and Girls Clubs, Children’s Hospital, the Humane Society, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. To date, his signed celebrity portraits have raised over $10 million for these deserving organizations.
Mike appears with this year’s class of recipients, fourth row up, fourth from right.