May 18-26 is Buddy Poppy Campaign Week in Merrill

Stop and get a red poppy to wear this week in honor of veterans who died for freedom

Mayor Hass presented the Buddy Poppy Week proclamation at City Hall. Shown from L to R: Michele Rathke, 2022-23 State Commander for the VFW; Kathy Palazzo, Chaplain; John Rathke, VFW 1638 Post Commander; Mayor Steve Hass; Denni Radloff, Auxiliary President; and Jeff Radloff and Jill Schmunk, Auxiliary members. Submitted photo.


On Friday, May 10, 2024, Merrill Mayor Steve Hass issued a proclamation that the week of May 18-26, 2024, be designated as “Buddy Poppy Campaign Week” in Merrill and asking that “all citizens pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom by wearing the Memorial Poppy during this week.”
“The City of Merrill supports the annual Buddy Poppy Campaign for the VFW Post 1638 and Auxiliary to honor our fallen” and “recognizes the importance of honoring those who have worn our nation’s uniform,” the proclamation said. “A nation at peace must be reminded of the price of war and the debt owed every service member who has died in the name of liberty and freedom …”
After World War I, the red poppy became a symbol of the blood shed during battle, and in 1922, the “Buddy Poppy” became an annual reminder of lives sacrificed on battle fields, distributed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) posts and their auxiliaries throughout the United States. The first year, poppies were imported from France, but the VFW soon discovered having paper poppies made by disabled, hospitalized, and aging veterans and then shipping them to VFW posts and auxiliaries for distribution was a better way and also provided veterans with a small source of income. Funds raised through the annual “Buddy Poppy Campaign” go to veterans and dependents and orphans of deceased veterans who are in need, while the wearing and display of the red poppies continues to honor the lives lost in service to our country.
Locally, members of Schmitt-Manecke-Donner Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1638 and Auxiliary will have Buddy Poppies available in several locations in Merrill during the week of May 18-27. VFW Post 1638 Auxiliary President Denni Radloff, VFW Post 1638 Chaplain Kathy Palazzo, and Auxiliary member Jill Schmunk are co-chairing this year’s event. “We are looking forward to seeing everybody and will be grateful when the donations are counted and used to benefit veterans,” the co-chairs said. “Please help the cause and thank you for your continued support.”
“Proceeds from Buddy Poppy distributions must be used to benefit disabled veterans, veterans with unmet needs and their families, and the family members and orphans of deceased veterans,” they said. “What better way to help our veterans in the community than by distributing this little flower of remembrance.”
Look for VFW Post 1638 and Auxiliary members at Dave’s County Market or in the First Street Coffee Station/Park City Credit Union parking lot area and plan to stop, make a donation, and get a Buddy Poppy. Then wear your Buddy Poppy proudly this week in remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.. Buddy Poppies are also available at the Northwoods Veterans Post, 601 Johnson St. in Merrill, during business hours.

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