If you live in or around Redmond, Dick Watson’s name is probably familiar to you.
He can be found every week at the , selling his wood-turned bowls. He also sits on the board of that organization.
Watson also is a key member of the Redmond-based post, which serves the greater Eastside area, and is the contact for public communications for both entities.
Watson said he has found that throughout his life, he can correspond rough periods to times when he didn’t recognize the need to be a part of something bigger than himself.
“When I look back at my life, the times I was in despair were times I did not give back to the community,” he said, adding that, “Right now I’m probably giving too much.”
Watson doesn’t seem too concerned about that dilemma, except that he wants to give his all to each cause he is passionate about.
He served in the Marine Corps from 1963 to 1967 and moved to the Redmond area in 1981 from Indiana. Since then, he has been establishing himself as a vital member of both the veteran and civilian community here. Though he says he hasn’t a lot of residue left from his service in Vietnam, Watson feels the local VFW Post is important to create a sense of community for veterans as well as support for families of active military.
“What keeps me coming back is the good we do for the community,” he said. VFW 2995’s efforts include a wide variety of service projects, such as a Memorial Day ceremony in Bellevue each year, as well as everyday efforts like helping to feed homeless veterans and others in need. In addition to these efforts, Watson said the post supports individual veterans in need of funds for medical or dental care, and extends its membership to the families of members.
To those ends, he has helped launch an effort called , in which Edmonds-based artist Mike Reagan is endeavoring to create portraits of every soldier killed in U.S. military actions following Sept. 11. So far Reagan has drawn portraits of about 2,600 of the more than 6,000 U.S. troops who have lost their lives in Iraq or Afghanistan, Watson said.
Watson, who takes requests for portraits for the program, says that job is tough for him, but he believes in the importance of acknowledging the sacrifices of our soldiers.
“What I like to tell people is nobody that’s ever been in combat ever want to go again or wants anyone else to go, but evil didn’t get the memo,” he said.
Watson doesn’t stop at service to veterans, though. He counts among his board member credits the CHILD school for developmentally different students, and he’s passionate about VFW 2995’s , too.
Watson invites the Redmond community to donate money or supplies or to help box care packages for military personnel who are still overseas. The VFW troops support program will be collecting items at the , from 5 to 8 p.m. this Friday, July 22 and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.