Commander Erasmo Gutierrez cuts the cake to begin the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Robert F. Wiley VFW Post 8889. The event was Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Eagles Lodge. Photo by LuAnn Morgan.
By LuAnn Morgan email@example.com
It was an evening of camaraderie and reminiscing as Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8889 members and their spouses gathered to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Othello post. The state commander was expected to attend the event Dec. 20 at the Eagles Lodge, but conditions on Snoqualmie Pass that day made the trek impossible. However, new Post 8889 Commander Erasmo "Eddie" Gutierrez stepped up to the plate and personally welcomed each person who attended. Guest of honor was Wilma Tindell, whose husband Tommie Tindell was commander from 1994 until his death this past year. "Tommie thought a lot of the VFW," she said. Sgt. Robert F. Wiley Post 8889 began in late 1962 with 16 members and about a dozen more pledged. The name was chosen from a sealed box containing the names of local deceased veterans. Ministers were asked to contact family members for permission to use the name. By the end of January 1963, the post was actively recruiting members under the direction of newly installed commander George Heagy. That next May, the post received a plaque for the highest membership percentage in the district. That is now the goal of the new commander. "I want to make this organization flourish," Gutierrez said. "We need to band together and we need new blood - we're not going to be here forever." Gutierrez said there are a lot of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering some of the same maladies seen in the Vietnam veterans. Those conditions are both physical and emotional. "I was in a bad place when, 13 years ago, a vet picked me up by my boot straps and helped me," Gutierrez said. "Now, it's my turn to help others." Tindell said she is proud of the energy Gutierrez is putting into the post. The two families have known each other for many years. "When we had Tommie's service, I asked the funeral director to get flag pins for everyone who attended," Tindell said. "I have an extra one and I'm giving it to you, Eddie. Wear it with pride and think of him (Tommie)." Gutierrez was obviously touched by the gesture. "We need to keep Tommie's legacy going," he said. VFW Post 8889 meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Masonic Lodge, 26 W. Main St. Any veteran is invited to attend. For more information about joining the organization, contact Gutierrez at 989-0367 or Eric Morgan, quartermaster, at 346-3823.