Buddy Poppy Drive to help local VFW

Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2015

By Justin Fedich | The Selma Times-Journal

Veterans Day isn’t until next Wednesday, but a chance for the Selma community to give back to United States veterans begins Saturday.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3016 Auxiliary and Jr. R.O.T.C. cadets at Southside High School and Selma High School are hosting the Buddy Poppy Drive Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to raise money for veterans’ programs.

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The Auxiliary members and cadets will be stationed at five locations around Dallas County handing out a poppy in exchange for donations.

Patsy Stone, who is a member of the auxiliary and has helped organize the Buddy Poppy Drive since 1996, said the event usually raises $1,000 to $1,500.

“It’s a great day,” Stone said. “We’re working to give back to the veterans and we’re teaching the youth from these schools about what a veteran is all about, and especially the veterans foreign ward. You have to have served in a war zone in order to become a member, and we love to give back.”

The cadets and Auxiliary members will be stationed at Winn-Dixie on Highland Ave., Winn-Dixie on Dallas Ave., Gabe’s Grocery on Highway 14 West, Tractor Supply Co. and Wal-Mart.

Stone said she is always pleased with the level of participation she gets from the Buddy Poppy Drive. The money supplies schools with flags and also goes to a veteran relief fund, helping veterans in whatever way possible.

“It breaks your heart to see these veterans that are homeless or veterans that give so much for their country and their country doesn’t give back to them,” Stone said.

Stone has a personal connection to helping veterans because her husband Rod is a Vietnam War veteran.

She knows the sacrifice veterans have made, and it excites her that she and others can help make a difference at the Buddy Poppy Drive each year.

“Just the satisfaction of knowing that they’re giving back,” Stone said.

“Veterans sacrifice so much to fight for our country and for the freedoms that we have today, and their satisfaction that they’re giving back to the veterans that have served them.”

Stone hopes to see plenty of people come out Saturday to support the veterans, but she is not worried because the Selma community has always embraced this opportunity.

“The community has always been just wonderful with their support and their donations and we very much appreciate it,” Stone said.