Commander’s Corner (November 2023)

By Alyson Teeter

In case you missed it, we had our most exciting and successful Post 3063 fundraiser in recent memory Oct. 21. We raised a gross fundraising total of nearly $19,000 through a raffle, a silent online and live auction, dessert dash and ticket sales. This year we had help from fundraising guru and Vietnam Veteran, Comrade Jay Fiske. We wholeheartedly appreciate his help, along with our post and auxiliary volunteers, to make it a fun event for everyone who attended. 

There is no rest for our post as we’re now focused on planning our Veterans Day event. We will dedicate our new flag pole to Comrade Harold Rodenberger at 9 a.m. on Nov. 11. After our ceremony, we’ll open up the post to the public until 2 p.m. We’ll have a pop-up coffee shop called Emme serving custom brews and baked goods. We’ll also have information about the post, auxiliary, Buddy Poppies and VA benefits on display for those who stop by. We’d love to have our post members there to tell their stories and inform the public about our missionPlease sign up here to participate or contact me directly! 

Want another opportunity to serve? We have our next quarterly BloodworksNW blood drive scheduled at the post Nov. 10, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sign up to give blood at this link.

For our Nov. 16 social, we plan to deviate from our traditional Thanksgiving dinner and have a Thursday Night Football-themed event. (We’re currently dealing with some plumbing issues so heavy cooking in the kitchen is on pause.) Earlier that day at 10 a.m. we’ll also continue the Five and Five discussion group led by Comrade Dave Tyner.

Lastly, you may be wondering about our print newsletter. After analyzing our budget and encountering issues with the printing company, we’ve decided to print and mail one issue per year. It will be mailed prior to our May installation. As the commander and newsletter editor, I apologize to those who enjoy reading the print newsletter. If you have feedback, please send it to [email protected].

Surgeon Update

By Robert Lehman, MD

Do you happen to know this person I’ll call DD?  To DD, stop signs are merely a suggestion.  It is okay to go through the intersection after the light turns red because the other cars will probably delay before starting.  Only a loser merges when they see the merge sign; DD will race up the outside lane until the lane ends and make others stop so that DD can get into traffic.  DD never follows the speed limit stating “there are plenty of cars going faster than me.”  And DD has never clicked with seat belt laws.  When asked, DD admits to a couple of fender benders, but nothing serious and says, “I never was hurt.”

DD never considers the pain, anguish, and lost income time for the other people in the fender bender.  And when the big one does happen, DD has not considered who is paying the hundreds of thousands of dollars in ER and other hospital charges, the death or permanent injury that might be inflicted on someone else, or the life-long effects that DD’s death or permanent injury will have on DD’s family and friends.

About now you are wondering, “Doc, what does this have to do with me?”

I won’t tell you how many Covid-19 strains exist right now.  I don’t want you afraid to leave your room.  However, there are 4 predominant strains actively causing illness right now, and they are all just a little different from each other.  I will bet that everyone reading this knows of someone who has been ill with Covid in the past few weeks.  And yes, most of those basically had just major cold symptoms.  But there are still people being hospitalized and dying from Covid-19.

You remember those vaccines we had roughly 2 years ago?  Those vaccines won’t work on these strains.  And do you recall that seriously ill people were being treated using monoclonal antibodies for Covid?  Well, you guessed it, those monoclonal antibodies do not work on the current active strains.  And don’t count on the Paxlovid you have heard about; its effectiveness is quickly dropping.  It might help on some of the current strains, but not on others. 

Hold that thought as I bring up two other potentially major concerns.

RSV is a respiratory virus that we have been following now for 60+ years.  It is a serious player in the hospitalization and death of persons over 60, and a deadly serious concern with newborns and infants.  That said, it is a common cause of cold-like symptoms in children, and unlike virtually all other viruses, having the illness does not seem to provide any immunity against getting it again after a few months.  The reason you might hear about it now is that FINALLY the code has been cracked to be able to develop a vaccine for this.  The vaccine was just approved a few months ago and is now available to adults over 60, pregnant women between 32 and 36 weeks pregnant, babies up to 8 months old entering their first RSV season, and infants 8-19 months at high risk of severe infection.   When is RSV season?  October-April.  Which is why I am bring this up now.  There is no treatment for RSV.

So, October to April.  Does that sound familiar?  It should – that is the “normal” flu season.  Flu is not a major player “yet” at the time I am writing this, but it is out there and just getting started.

If you are paying attention, I am telling you that there aren’t any good treatments for the current Covid strains, there is no treatment for severe RSV, and you already know that most of the treatments for the flu don’t work either. 

Thus, my profession recommendation is DON’T GET ONE OF THESE!  Unless you have been in a coma for the past 3+ years, you know how to try to prevent getting one of these.  First, get your vaccination.  If you are 60 or over, that means 3 shots right now.  [Jo and I got ours last week.]  All vaccines seem to take about a month for maximum effect, and you want these on board before the infections rates are higher, which also seems to coincide with the holiday season.  And of course, always wash your hands before you touch your face, and wash your hands after you have touched your face before touching anyone or anything else. I know it is hard particularly those of us with military history but stop the handshakes until Spring.  Try waving or if you must, a fist or elbow bump.  And if you forget and shake someone’s hand, then head for the sink or at least use hand sanitizer. 

And don’t be like DD.  If you feel like you might have a cold coming on, THEN STAY HOME. Going out in public when you suspected you might have something might cause the hospitalization or death of someone else.

Lastly before someone asks, what about masks?  You know that the flu is spread by respiratory droplets both in the air and after they land on surfaces (like tabletops).  RSV stands for Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and it is spread with respiratory droplets just like the flu.  And although the droplets in the air might not be as much a player with Covid as direct touch, masks clearly help with all of these.  If (or when) the rate of these disease start increasing this winter, you will definitely have to wear a mask to visit medical care.  Right now, there isn’t a high enough risk to recommend routine wearing of masks — but stay tuned for further developments.  However, the discussion of masks is for people without any symptoms, who feel fine.  If you have any suggestion of symptoms, put a mask on when in public as well as try to avoid being out in public.

Commander’s Corner (September 2023)

By Alyson Teeter

Hello comrades, take a look in this month’s newsletter at all the interesting and diverse activities we have to offer in September and October. From Paint and Sip, to coffee and talk, to service, we have something for everyone. 

As we host opportunities for service and camaraderie at our post, I’m building a list of our active participants who we can depend on to help spread the load for our volunteer organization. If you want to be added to this list, please volunteer to help at the post at an event or in the office during our office hours. Being on the list also give you access to perks, like free Mariners tickets!

I’m also keeping a close eye on our spending. The award of a $15,000 county grant should help lighten the burden of our social costs. We’re also trying to increase our revenue through our rentals programs so we created a rental pricing list. If you’re aware of any other grant or donor opportunities or have feedback on the rental pricing, please let me know! 

Lastly, thank you to the Seeligs for hosting our annual picnic at Lake Serene. I heard Joe and Laura Fitzgerald are the new Post 3063 Corn Hole Champions. Congratulations! 🙂

Commander’s Corner (August 2023)

By Alyson Teeter

Greetings comrades, I hope you’re enjoying the lovely PNW summer. Post comrades had fun in the sun while participating in the Ballard SeafoodFest in July, where we interacted with the local community and visitors from near and far. We’re also keeping up our social events, like trivia in July and our annual picnic August 19 at the Seelig’s house on Lake Serene. If you’re in town and available, please consider joining in on our events! It helps build bonds and keeps our community going strong. I’m open to new and creative ideas for socials too (comedy? bingo? karaoke? sip and paint?!).

If you’re looking for service opportunities, there are plenty of projects we could use help with. First off, we need folks to help staff our office on Thursdays and Saturdays. If you could devote an hour or two a month, we’d be grateful! Also, is there anybody handy with a weed wacker? We have a lot of growth in the back of the post that could use some trimming. We’re also hosting a service event with The Mission Continues September 16, which will include more landscaping work and lounge upgrades. Lastly, consider helping with our fundraiser October 21. The proceeds from the event will help us purchase a new flag pole, fund youth scholarships and replenish our relief fund.

I want to call out our post and auxiliary volunteers who helped move the new and old refrigerators. It was definitely more than a 2 or 3 person job so the extra hands made it much easier! As my kids say, teamwork makes the dream work.

Stay safe, and as the military says, these are the 101 critical days of summer. Due to risky activities, summer is a time where there’s an increased need for blood donations and we’re hosting a timely blood donation drive August 3-4, at our post. See details in the newsletter.

PSA from the VA: There’s no deadline to apply for PACT Act benefits. But if you file your PACT Act claim—or quickly submit your intent to file—by August 9, 2023, you may receive benefits backdated to August 10, 2022. So don’t wait, apply today

Quartermaster’s Report (July 2023)

By Harold (H2) Hamilton

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Quartermaster. First, a huge shout out to H1, Harold Rodenberger. H1 has walked me through the process of what the Quartermaster does and means to their post. He has also shared much of the official and unofficial wisdom necessary to continue in the role. I thank H1.

H1 and the leadership team has set the tone for an ambitious shift in our posture. This is what we will continue. The post is currently on solid ground but there is much action afoot.

The post needs all its members to participate in continuing the make this post an outlet for Seattle area veterans and the larger community.

Let’s continue working together to make the post more vibrant and welcoming. We should see much in the way of  improvement thanks to the day of service a couple weeks back. Paint jobs, new lights, and even new folks.

Our Memorial Day buddy poppy distribution was a blast. The Fremont Festival was interesting… Let us continue as a post to get out and be seen in the community. This is a large part of how we will make the impact this post if capable of. The community can benefit from the skills and talents present within the post. If anyone has ways we can get into the community and offer some service, feel free to let myself or anyone else know.

Last meeting there was even discussion of a group to simply talk. I do not know where we will arrive but working together, we can achieve a great deal. It is possible and we can do it.