Hero’s Cafe in Lynnwood celebrates its first anniversary

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Diners at Hero's Cafe in Lynnwood

Text and photos by Jerry Pickard

Lynnwood’s Hero’s Cafe is now one year old. The Hero’s Cafe is a gathering place for veterans of all branches to come together once a month for fellowship and a free lunch. A place to sign up for veterans benefits.

Veteran Paul Frederickson moved from Wisconsin to Snohomish County where he joined VFW Post 1040. He related to Post Commander John Beam, member Gary Walderman and other members of the post, about a Hero’s Cafe concept and the benefits it could bring to area veterans,

Gary Walderman and several other Post members met at 5 Guys Hamburger Restaurant where they discussed the concept and developed a plan. What started as an idea over lunch by a handful of dedicated veterans has grown into a vibrant, self-sufficient endeavor. The goal to have twelve people at the first monthly gathering was blown away when one hundred twenty five individuals attended. The numbers have remained high, averaging more than one hundred people per gathering each month.

Gary Walderman and Sue Waldin, Community Wellness Program Manager


Jerry Gadek is a Veterans Service Officer with Snohomish County Human Services. He and Gary Walderman met with Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith and Gena Israel, the city’s intergovernmental liaison, who gave their approval for the project.

They also met with Dr. Robin Fenn, Superintendent of Snohomish County Health District and Verdant Health Commission. Dr. Fenn gave them the go-ahead to hold their first meeting on January 31, 2017 at Verdant Community Wellness Center located at 4710 196th St SW in Lynnwood.

Greg Michael with Atari

The Hero’s Cafe meets on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 9:00am to 1:00pm with lunch served at 11:00am.

VFW Post 1040 donated $250 start-up money for the first meeting. DAV chapter 13, VVA 423, American Legion Post 66, Post 37, Post 234, Post 1040, Post 8870, The Gold Star Moms, The Red Cross, The Veterans Outreach WorkSource Lynnwood, and Edmonds Community College Veterans Resource Center each sponsored a monthly meeting.

Lt. Dwight Stevens, age 93.
WWII B-17 Pilot

Hero’s Cafe works with many Community Outreach programs to include Puget Sound Honor Flights, and Sebastian Place which provides 20 low income apartments for Veterans. 

Sebastian Place is operated by Catholic Community Services. 

Sebastian Place provides a Veterans' dinner the last Wednesday of each month. The Lynnwood Senior Center provides a Veterans' Coffee from 11:00am to noon every Tuesday.

The Verdant Wellness Center has a one stop Shop upstairs for Veterans' Benefits. It is open from 8:15am to 4:00pm the first Wednesday of each month.

Dr. Robin Fenn and staff receive award. Dr. Fenn holding award 


Dr. Robin Fenn says “It is so hard to believe that it has been over a year already since the first Hero’s Cafe at Verdant!”

"Each month since, we have watched at least 75 Veterans use our space to connect with each other, swap stories, share resources, and feed not only their stomachs but also their souls.

"For all that our Veterans have given us and our country, we at Verdant are proud to support them. This is an important program and I believe it is a key place in pulling the Veteran Community together.” 




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