2024-2025 Officer Installation

At our May 2 business meeting, Post 3063 officers were installed for 2024-2025. They will begin serving in their positions after the Department of Washington Convention in mid-June.

Congratulations to our officers and thank you for volunteering to serve your fellow veterans and the community! Thank you also to Past Commander Nestor Tamayao for presiding.

Here are the elected and appointed officers serving for the next year:

Commander: Alyson Teeter
Senior Vice Commander: Gabe Whetsel
Junior Vice Commander: Harold Hamilton
Quartermaster: Joseph Mesa
3-Year Trustee: Gail Engler
2-Year Trustee: Harold Rodenberger
1-Year Trustee: John Ellingboe
3-year House Committee: Mike Hicks
2-year House Committee: Jesse Basher
1-year House Committee: Bob Lehman
Adjutant: Harold Hamilton
Service Officer: Joseph Mesa/Harold Hamilton
Judge Advocate: Dan Stokke
Chaplain: Joe Fitzgerald
Surgeon: Bob Lehman
Officer of the Day/Guard: Russ Seelig

City passes Memorial Day Proclamation

On May 21 Commander Teeter and Comrade Ellingboe, along with Comrade Jesse Palacios from West Seattle VFW and Dale Watanabe from the Nisei Veterans Committee, received a City of Seattle Government Memorial Day Proclamation.

Comrade and Councilmember Robert Kettle sponsored the proclamation, along with Councilmember and veteran Rob Saka.

This is the first City of Seattle Memorial Day Proclamation in recent history and we commend the veterans on the council for spearheading it. Their recognition honors the bravery and sacrifice of our fallen heroes, and together, we ensure their legacy endures and their service is never forgotten.

City of Seattle
WHEREAS, Memorial Day has been observed since 1868, and recognized in its more familiar form as we know it today, since the end of World War I, yet before that, it was celebrated on different days and even sometimes referred to as Decoration Day; and
WHEREAS, our country honors this day with parades and ceremonies, which is in keeping with General Order No. 11 of Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic, signed in 1868. The order stated: “no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit”; and
WHEREAS, the intent of the order was: “to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades”; and
WHEREAS, each year in May, Americans pause to observe Memorial Day, a National holiday since 1971 set aside to remember with dignity and admiration those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our great nation; and
WHEREAS, our predecessors who shaped the structure of our government and defended our freedoms so that future generations would be free to live their lives as they chose, set forth the groundwork for higher discoveries in science, exploration, and democratic values, also started long-lasting traditions that enrich our heritage, and fought in wars so that future generations, both near and far, would be free to live their lives; and
WHEREAS, on Memorial Day, it is of the utmost importance to hold dear the memories of our friends and family members who have served and gave their last full measure of devotion for our country to help preserve the freedoms and rights guaranteed to all people under the U.S. Constitution; and
WHEREAS, on this day, we all pay tribute to those who have given their lives in service of our nation, our fathers, brothers, sons, now also mothers and sisters and daughters and family members, or our neighbors and our friends, and our community whose participation in such events provide a “fitting testimonial of respect” to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation;
Mayor Bruce A. Harrell
Council President Sara Nelson
Councilmember Joy Hollingsworth
Councilmember Robert Kettle
Councilmember Cathy Moore
Councilmember Tammy. J. Morales
Councilmember Maritza Rivera
Councilmember Rob Saka

Service Officer Update (May 2024)

By Joseph Mesa

In 2023, several critical issues concerning veterans have come to the forefront. Some of the key areas:

Disability and Retirement Pay:
1. Last year, Congress passed a significant benefits expansion for veterans affected by toxic exposure injuries during their service.
2. However, the focus this year is on ensuring that veterans who suffered injuries while on duty receive all the compensation they deserve.
3. The issue revolves around concurrent receipt and the Major Richard Star Act.
4. Currently, veterans with a disability rating of at least 50% receive both their full military retirement pay and disability benefits. But those with a disability rating below 50% face dollar-for-dollar offsets, resulting in reduced payments.
5. The Major Richard Star Act aims to allow combat-wounded veterans medically discharged before serving 20 years to receive both retirement and disability pay, without any offsets.

Mental Health Crisis:
1. Veterans experience high rates of mental health conditions, including PTSD, depression, and substance use.
2. Suicides among veterans increased significantly from 2006 to 2020.
3. Innovative treatment strategies are urgently needed, and addressing mental and metabolic health simultaneously may lead to better outcomes.

VA Workforce Challenges:
1. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a flood of new cases due to the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act(PACT Act).
2. Claims processors are strained, leading to workforce challenges and impacting veterans’ access to services.

Finally, all veterans, including those exposed to toxins and hazards during military service, are now eligible for VA health care. Veterans who are exposed to toxins or hazards during training or active duty in the United States are also eligible. Eligible Veterans can enroll directly in VA health care without needing to apply for VA benefits.

Surgeon Update

By Robert Lehman, M.D.

I wanted to let all the veteran members know of a long-term research program you can get involved with.  This is called All of Us, which involves a number of Medical Centers and universities, but for our purposes it is also partnered with the VA.  The goal is to develop a database of information on 1 million people that then can be anonymously accessed by researchers trying to correlate all sorts of genetic and other medical conditions. Your medical information will go into the database, but not your name or any identifying data.

The basic foundation of this is determining your DNA genome.  Whether your DNA might signal an increased (or decreased) risk of some current or future condition is unknown; that is the reason for the database.  I just heard of this program at a Legion meeting last week, completed the online registration, and had my blood drawn on the 26th, so I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of how long the results take to be sent out or even what those results will look like.  But it seems like an easy way to learn about my DNA for free.   Actually, it is even better than free as they give you a $25 gift card to your choice of Amazon or a few others.

To learn more, you can go to veterans.joinallofus.org.  You can then do the multiple modules to register into the program, including playing some “games” that check your reflexes, etc.  Or, after just registering a little bit, you can complete the rest of the process when seen at the VA hospital on Columbia.  Whether you do the full online registration or just partial, you can contact them directly at 206 277-1210 to complete the process.  I should warn you that it took me maybe 30 minutes to do all the online registrations modules, but it would take a lot longer if you waited to do it at the VA itself.  There is a last option after completing the online registration, and that is to have a sputum test sent to you to submit instead of going down for a blood draw.  I went for the blood as I knew it would give more information, but still the sputum is an option if you don’t have transportation down to the VA.

If you don’t have access to the online information, just call them at 206 277-1210 and they can answer your questions as well as send more information out to you if you wish.

Fundraiser a huge success!

We’re still basking in the glow of our VFW Post 3063 fundraiser dinner and online auction’s incredible success. The outpouring of support from each and every one of you has left us feeling both grateful and inspired.

From the mouthwatering delights and cherished moments at our dinner to the spirited bidding and excitement in our live and online auctions, your involvement has made a significant difference in our mission.

But our gratitude doesn’t end there. It extends to our exceptional volunteers, who include post and auxiliary members, families, friends, and the ever-inspiring Girl Scouts. Your time and selflessness have propelled our cause to new heights.

Together, we continue to fulfill our promise of fostering camaraderie, serving our veterans, the military, and our communities, and advocating for all veterans.

Thank you for being a vital part of our community and for your unwavering commitment to our shared mission. With your support, we can truly make a difference.