Stems of tiny red Buddy Poppies will soon be seen all over
Hollister and the country as the Veterans of Foreign Wars prepare
for their annual fundraiser to benefit and recognize disabled
Hollister – Stems of tiny red Buddy Poppies will soon be seen all over Hollister and the country as the Veterans of Foreign Wars prepare for their annual fundraiser to benefit and recognize disabled vets.
On May 20 and 21, members of the local VFW and its Ladies’ Auxiliary will be distributing Buddy Poppies on Hollister streets and outside grocery stores. Made by hospitalized disabled veterans, the artificial flowers allude to the poem “In Flander’s Field,” in which Lt. Col. John McCrae wrote of the poppies and crosses memorializing fallen soldiers in World War I.
But unlike the earthbound poppies that “blow between the crosses, row on row” in McCrae’s poem, these small red buds are meant to be carried or worn and kept in memory of fallen heroes.
“We just distribute them to whoever’s going by,” said Dolly DeVasier, a member of the local VFW who will be handing out poppies on May 20 and 21. “If they don’t want to make a donation, that’s fine, but we’ll take anything from a penny to $100.”
The VFW tries to give all donations back to the local veterans’ community, putting the proceeds into a relief fund for local disabled veterans, DeVasier said. Otherwise, they send the money to the nearest veterans’ hospital in Palo Alto.
Buddy Poppies have been a symbol of remembrance for fallen vets since 1921 when they were first distributed. DeVasier said she wasn’t sure when the Hollister VFW first began handing out the buds, but thought it was some time around the local chapter’s 1947 founding.
DeVasier and other poppy-bearing VFW members can be found outside the Nob Hill grocery store and the Hollister Post Office, as well as roaming the streets of downtown on May 20 and 21, which Mayor Pauline Valdivia proclaimed as “Buddy Poppy Days” at the city council meeting on Monday night.