VALLEY RECORD SNOQUALMIE
City weighs new car fee Snoqualmie may create tax district for road repairs; NB opts out
New blood needed for Veterans of Foreign Wars
Dream ride ends for ‘Cat soccer team Page 22
BY SETH TRUSCOTT AND ALLISON ESPIRITU
BY SETH TRUSCOTT Editor
Women making a major impact in local business Pages 9-19
INDEX SCENE VALLEY VIEWS LETTERS SCHOOLS ON THE SCANNER CALENDAR CLASSIFIED ADS
Changing role for Valley veterans
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Vol. 96, No. 52
Age and distance have whittled down the number of old soldiers who don embroidered caps and parade the colors at the Mount Si Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Only four men gathered at the post’s May meeting to swap war stories and discuss their latest community service project. Unlike their Valley counterpart the American Legion, which welcomes all service personnel, the VFW was created solely for military veterans who campaign overseas. The Mount Si Post’s active members fought for their country decades ago in the Pacific Ocean and Vietnam. Foreign campaigners are already a select group, but time is winnowing their numbers. “A lot of Valley people belonged to the VFW, but they moved away after they retired,” said Post Commander Dave Lake. “A lot of guys from the post have passed on.” The bulk of members are World War II vets. Adjutant Jim Posey served in the U.S. Army in World War II, and Lake was a gunner’s mate on a Pacific battleship, surviving Japanese air and naval attack and joining the VFW in 1944. Member Ralph Freeman served on an aircraft carrier during the Korean War, while Dave Mauter served with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne in Vietnam. It’s been difficult for the VFW to recruit among Vietnam veterans. “Getting Vietnam vets involved is not easy,” Freeman said. “They had
Valley Record Staff
The Veterans of Foreign Wars was formed to push for veterans’ rights and benefits, while also promoting community service and civic pride. The 1.6 million member national organization traces its roots to veter-
The Snoqualmie City Council is waiting for more public input before adding new car tab fees for residents. Snoqualmie is exploring creation of a special taxing district, dubbed a Transportation Benefit District, to pay for road repairs. If created, the district would be overseen by the city council and authorized to put a $20 street maintenance fee on new and renewing vehicle licenses. The new fee would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, and does not require an election. The council took public comment on the new taxing district at a Monday, May 24, public hearing. Marcia Korich, the sole speaker, told the council to vote down the proposal. Adding taxes, she said, is not the answer to Snoqualmie’s budget woes. “This is not affordable by the community,” Korich said. “We’ve lost jobs and taken pay cuts.” The city, she said, needs to do a better job of informing citizens why the increase is needed.
SEE VETERANS, 2
SEE TBD, 5
Seth Truscott / Staff photo
As the active core of the Mount Si Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars members, from left, Dave Mauter, Dave Lake, Ralph Freeman and Jim Posey carry on the VFW’s local mission. The Mount Si Post seeks to rebuild its active membership in the face of change and time. a hard time of it when they came home.” “A lot of the Vietnam vets didn’t feel like they fit in with the World War II guys,” Mauter said. “So they split off, and have their own organizations.” Lake recalls an official stance during the Vietnam years that the veterans from that conflict didn’t belong with the older campaigners. “We would have gladly signed them up. I signed members up in this post who weren’t eligible, according to the
government,” he said. “When a guy gets shot in both knees, it’s hard to tell him he’s not a veteran.”
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because we don’t have much money,” Lake said. “Any family that needs help, we try to help them.” It’s hard for families to adjust to the absence of a husband, wife or parent during a tour of duty. And many families members don’t know what to do when their loved one is killed in action. The VFW works to educate people about the benefits and options that are available to them. Members also spend hours on weekends visiting patients at veterans’ hospitals. Lake said it used to be a multi-year chore to help veterans file benefit claims. Today, with computer technology, the
effort takes minutes. A national uproar a few years ago over Veterans Administration care has subsided, but there is still a big backlog of veterans who need help, Posey said. This month, the Mount Si post raised $1,000 to donate to the USO, or United Service Organization, which operates a military welcome center at Sea-Tac International Airport. Mount Si Post members fondly remember the USO’s support during their campaign days. Freeman, for one, recalled a USO dance he attended in Chicago while stationed at the Great Lakes Training Center at the outbreak of the Korean conflict. The chaperoned women couldn’t leave with the sailors, but couples found ways around the rules. Freeman met a girl named Rose, went out on dates and started exchanging letters. “When I came back in 1951, I married her,” he said.
civically involved as his. “We used to walk in the North Bend and Snoqualmie parades, used to be able to get enough guys to carry the flags,” Freeman said. “Now, we’re so few in numbers, we’re not strong enough to do those things.” “Nobody wants to join anything,” Freeman added. “When you join, that means you’ve got to get active and do whatever is needed.” Looking back on 66 years of involvement with VFW, Lake added that it is hard to think of the local post going away. He stays involved to keep active. “When you do something to help people, it makes you feel good,” Lake said. “All the guys that I work with, it’s nice to see them,” Freeman said. “It goes both ways.” Numbers may dwindle, but Lake is confident that the organization won’t disappear. Eventually, new veterans will come forward. “It’s so easy to say ‘Let someone else do it,’” Freeman said. “I used to say that, until it was my turn to go forward. Hopefully, somebody behind me will step forward to take my place.” The Veterans of Foreign Wars meet at 5 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at their post, 38625 S.E. River St., Snoqualmie. They also meet for breakfast at 8 a.m. every Tuesday at Mount Si Golf Course. To learn more about their activities, call Post Commander Dave Lake at (425) 223-9135.
VETERANS FROM 1 ans groups formed after the Spanish-American War. The VFW is open to men and women. To become a member, a veteran must have received a campaign medal for overseas service, served a period of time in Korea, come under hostile fire or received hazard pay. “Our main job is to get good service from our government, to take care of our wounded,” said Posey. The Mount Si post raises funds by running coffee stands at Interstate rest stops. They also sell Memorial Day poppies to benefit families of active duty soldiers. “We don’t give much money,
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At one time, the Mount Si Post had more than 250 members. About 100 are still on the books, but the active members can be counted on one hand. “We’re hanging on, trying to keep it afloat,” Lake said. “If we don’t get some new help, I don’t know what we’re going to do.” “We’ve been trying for a long time to reach the younger people,” said Freeman. At 78, “I’m one of the younger ones.” Freeman noted that younger generations may not be as
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2 • May 26, 2010 • Snoqualmie Valley Record