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Buddy Poppy tradition
By: TIFFANY WOODALL Review Staff firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
Senior Vice Commander of Cocalico Valley VFW Post 3376 Amy MacKenzie said one way to honor veterans is by thanking service members, those who are currently serving and those who have previously served, for their duty and their sacrifice, for making this country what it is. The Ephrata community did just that at the VFW biennial Buddy Poppy sale Nov. 9 at Green Dragon.
"We have a very generous community," said MacKenzie. "I have to say we’re very pleased. Everybody recognizes the importance of our veterans."
MacKenzie described the fundraiser as a "full-circle" operation: disabled veterans assemble each Buddy Poppy, community members receive a Buddy Poppy when they make a donation, and donations go directly to help disabled veterans and their families.
Red poppies became symbolic of war after the publication of a poem, "In Flanders Field," written by Col. John McCrae of Canada. The first nationwide poppy distribution was arranged in 1922, and the poppy soon became the official memorial flower of the VFW.
Post 3376 supports both the Coatesville and Lebanon VA medical centers and provides support for all veterans by organizing therapy groups, sorting out benefits through Veterans Affairs and sending care packages to service men and women overseas. Additionally, the VFW prides itself on supporting local community organizations such as Boy and Girl Scout troops, the Ephrata High School marching unit and Children’s Miracle Network.
"We’re always looking for ways to better our community and keep the money here close to home," said MacKenzie.
Although Buddy Poppy sales are over for the year, the VFW continues to support the community and its veterans through events and fundraisers. Coming up Dec. 16 is the annual Christmas party, open to children ages 10 and under in the local community. Doors will open at noon, and there is no charge to attend.
Kids will receive a meal, a personalized gift, a goodie bag and a craft. Pre-registration is required as seating is limited. Call 733-9904 to pre-register by Dec. 1.
"We enjoy putting on that Christmas party for the kids," said MacKenzie. "It’s a lot of fun."
The VFW is always looking for new members and even offers a social membership. Contact Quartermaster Jack Snyder at 733-9904 for more information. Visit vfwpost3376.org to learn more about the Cocalico Valley VFW. More POPPIES, page A18