With Veterans Day falling on a Saturday this year, we found it necessary to split our poppy drive efforts between two weekends, to allow us fit everyting into our schedule.
We began on Saturday, November 4, operating at just two locations, QFC Westgate in Edmonds and Town & Country Market in Mill Creek. We collected over $ 4,700, roughly equally divided between the two locations. On the weekend of Veterans Day, we will be at three stores on Friday, Nov 10, adding the QFC Speedway location to the mix. It looks to be another successful outing that will result in keeping our Veterans Relief programs well funded.
In the photo above, 8870 members Dan Doyle, Charlie Gaul and Richard Balogna are shown manning one of the two doors we worked at QFC Edmonds.
Senior Vice Commander Duane Bowman announced the schedule for Poppy distribution for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day will be on May 25 and 26, with Veterans Day to follow on Friday November 4 and Friday November 10. The Veterans Day schedule will be something of an experiment, spreading the work out over two weeks, due to the holiday itself falling Saturday. Times and locations will be announced at a later date, but put those dates on your calendar. We need everyone who who is able to participate, in order to fund our long list of relief fund projects.
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.”
“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
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).
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:
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.
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.
Buddy Poppy Chair and Sr. Vice Commander Duane Bowman wants you all to know that we will be distributing Buddy Poppies and raising money for our Relief Fund in advance of Veterans Day which is closing in on us fast!
We will be at three stores again this year, including QFC Westgate in Edmonds, QFC Speedway in Mukilteo and Town & Country Market in Mill Creek. These three locations have always been our best producing stores.
The dates will be November 4th and 5th. We will operate from 1100 to 1800 on Friday, Nov. 4th and 1030 to 1800 on Saturday the 5th. Members, are urged to sign up for as much time as they can spare and encouraged to bring spouses and other family members and friends to help. If you can’t handle a full shift, come and do what you can!
Sign up forms will be available at the September and October Post meeting. We encourage everyone.
After a two year absence, members of VFW Post 8870 distributed Buddy Poppies at three store locations: QFC Westgate in Edmonds, QFC Speedway in Mukilteo and Town & Country Market in Mill Creek on Friday & Saturday, November 5-6.
We were well received at all three locations, though participation by the membership was light and we could have used another two dozen or more volunteers spread among the three locations and include a fourth store that was available to us.
Our efforts produced a total of $ 11,815 of which $ 4,654 came from Mukilteo, $ 3,621 from Mill Creek and $ 3,540 out of Edmonds. (Plus a bottle of wine to be auctioned at the Post meeting)
A good result, all things considered, though it leaves us about $ 4,000 below our hoped for Relief Fund Budget for the coming year.
Perhaps some of you may be able to make a special donation of your own, to help us make up the shortfall from our Veterans Day outing, especially those of you who were unable to participate on November 5 & 6, or were simply not yet comfortable with being out in the public to that extent. A few dollars here and there could make all the difference. Meanwhile, we hope to see you all at the November Post meeting.
John Shelton Les Abel Dan Doyle Carl Kurfess Al & Jo Boyett Charlie Gaul Rose & Alden Gilliland Herb Bender Dick Harsin Robert Little Jim & Terry Traner Nathan Wortinger Duane Bowman Mike & Linda Denton Calvin Barnard Jim & Linda Blossey Robert Low Dan White Bill Fox Parnia Parvini
This stalwart group of 24 individuals staffed two tables at each of three stores in four shifts over the two days!
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.
“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.
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.”
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”.
Eleven Members of Edmonds VFW Post 8870 participated in the Veterans in the Schools project in the run up to Veterans Day.
Jim Blossey kicked off the week by acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Edmonds Community College Veterans Day event, held on Wednesday November 7. The program featured recognition of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. There were several other Post members in attendance.
Jim Traner spoke at Serene Lake Elementary, Mukilteo
Dan Doyle and John Shelton were interviewed by students at Edmonds Elementary School, Jim Traner spoke at Serene Lake Elementary in Mukilteo, Jim Blossey at Westgate Elementary, Chris Mazerolle, Olivia Park Elementary and Mike Denton at Holy Rosary School. Carl Kurfess, Norm Goldstein, Pete Farmer and Phil Sacks formed a committee of interviewees at Meadowdale Middle School. Mike Reagan spoke at at two Kamiak sessions. (Reagan also spoke at several other non-school venues over the past week)
Fewer schools Participated this year. Oothers signed up to speak, but that we were unable to book include:
Post 8870 members have good reason to be proud of their efforts distributing “Buddy Poppies” over the Veterans Day weekend. Pretty much all of our active members who are physically able to participate did so. The result is a healthy boost to our Relief Fund and a great deal of community exposure for the post. I can’t speak for everyone, but I really enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories of their own or their families’ service. It wasn’t always comfortable weather wise, but we hung in there and got the job done.
Our thanks to Past Commander Jim Traner for reaching out to the DAV leadership and making arrangements to avoid conflicts next year. And thank you all for your hard work.
More Poppy Kudos
On Monday, the Veterans Day observed holiday, I received a call from a teacher at Cedarcrest Elementary School in Marysville who was looking for some poppies for their student assembly to be held on Tuesday Nov 13. It seems that several years ago, Past Commander Fred Apgar had made some poppies available to them and they were out of stock.
The teacher had approached two other VFW Posts (who shall remain nameless) who she said were unable to help her and she found her way to me through Fred. It was already late in the day and my wife had the car, but I told her I had a bag of around 100 poppies in the car if we could find a way to get them to her. This teacher drove all the way down from Marysville to my home in north Lynnwood to pick the poppies up for her school’s event the following day. She also brought a check for the Relief Fund in the amount of $ 50.00 and invited us to speak at her school next year. Thank you, Fred, for helping to make the Post what it is today.