Edmonds VFW post honors memory of past commander

Mike Reagan, left, presents the portrait to Helen Gaasland and her son Greg.
Mike Reagan, left, presents the portrait of Dennis Gaasland to Helen Gaasland and her son Greg.

Thanks to the efforts of Post member Mike Reagan, Edmonds-based VFW Post 8870 honored the memory of Past Commander Dennis Gaasland by presenting a hand-drawn portrait of Dennis to his widow, Helen, and son, Greg.

Reagan is the founder of the non-profit Fallen Heroes Project and to date has drawn over 4,000 portraits of men and women who have died while in service to our nation — then presented the portraits to Gold Star families.

At the age of 17 and with the permission of his parents, Dennis Gaasland joined the Navy to serve his nation during WWII. Trained as a radar operator, he also served in a combat amphibious unit. While in the Pacific, Dennis was sent to the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides Islands, Guadalcanal and the Russel Islands before his convoy participated in the landing at the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines.

Following the war, Dennis married his childhood sweetheart, Helen, and graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in business administration. He was a successful business owner, working with several Seattle law firms. Dennis served at Post 8870 Commander from 1992-1994 and again from 1995-1996. He and his wife were Edmonds residents. He passed away in March 2015.

At the July Post meeting, Mike Reagan presented the portrait of a young Dennis in his Navy uniform to Helen, his wife of more than 67 years. In his remarks, Mike assured Mrs. Gaasland that the Post would “always remember one of our own”.

— By Fred M. Apgar

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