For 95 years, U.S. government leaders have officially recognized and endorsed the Veterans of Foreign Wars “Buddy Poppy Drive.” This Saturday, members of the Morrison McFadden VFW Post 3111 and its Auxiliary will accept donations for handmade poppies so they can help disabled and needy veterans.
Marge Bieberle, local Buddy Poppy chairman, said volunteers will be out from approximately 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in front of the Wal-Mart entrances, both Dillons store, Orscheln’s, Waters True Value, Sutherlands Lumber and Perkins Restaurant.
Locally, Mayor Mike Allison has proclaimed Nov. 4-11 at Buddy Poppy Days. If you miss the volunteers on Saturday, other businesses around town will have donation jars and more poppies will be available. The donations from businesses are also being recognized with a poppy wall at the VFW Bingo Hall.
“The money is strictly used on veterans,” Bieberle said. “All of our poppies come out of Dodge City.” The Fort Dodge Veterans’ Home residents assemble the poppies and in return receive extra spending money for little luxuries.
In 1923, VFW became the first veterans organization to promote a nationally organized campaign for the annual distribution of poppies assembled by disabled or hospitalized veterans. More than 14 million poppies are assembled and VFW Post members and Auxiliary members raise more than $15 million annually from the distributions.
The Great Bend Post focuses on Fort Dodge, Bieberle said. Last year, poppy sales helped the homes purchase recliners.
Community members are encouraged to take the time to get a Buddy Poppy to help honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to wear the handmade poppy proudly, especially on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.