Poppy fundraiser timed with hunting season
Poppies became a national symbol for fallen soldiers after World War I — taken from the opening lines of “In Flanders Field” which said “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row.”
The poem, written by Col. John McCrae, inspired the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States members in 1922 to hand-out paper “Buddy” poppies to remind the public of those who have fallen for their freedom, said Jim Tarr, post commander for the local VFW chapter, No. 3989.
Each year, Tarr and other members of the group, stand outside grocery and sporting goods stores handing out free poppies to the public in the hopes they will put a few dollars into a coffee can to help support disabled and hospitalized veterans.
“Disabled veterans make these poppies, then we buy them and hand them out. The donations pay us back so we can buy more next year,” Tarr explained.
The annual fundraiser coincides with hunting season because many of those who hunt have served in the military and are generous with their donations, he said.
“A lot of the hunters are very proud to donate,” Tarr said.
In the next three weeks, the 12 members will fan out across the valley to five locations, and handout 8,000 poppies.
The money the veterans earn making poppies, help them afford small luxuries such as birthday presents or splurge items, Tarr said.
Ralph Moss, 84, has given thousands of poppies to the public in his more than 43 year membership in the VFW.
It’s an important event he said “because veterans don’t just serve on Veterans Day — these poppies can remind people all year long.”