Posts for Tag : Elmer Hughes

VFW Buddy Poppies

World War II Vet Elmer Hughes passes out Buddy Poppies
World War II Vet Elmer Hughes passes out Buddy Poppies

Each year our post members brave wind, cold, rain, and maybe even a little snow as they hand out Buddy Poppies in downtown Chapel Hill.  They do it to raise money for programs that benefit veterans, their families and homeless.  Watch for us on each Carolina game day at the Old Chapel Hill Post Office on Franklin Street.  Our first date is September 17th and we will be there from noon to about 3:30 pm.

 

buddy-poppy-handout-for-driveWe are asked about the story behind the Buddy Poppy and we are getting pretty good at sharing the history of the VFW Buddy Poppy. We found a video on the Buddy Poppy that can be viewed by you, shared in a school class or assembly, or viewed at a civic function or other event.  We want to remind everyone that over 400,000 men and women of these United States have perished in wars since, and including, World War I.  Many hundreds of thousands returned home with war wounds.  You can help us share America’s story.  Afterall, how can we understand who we are, if we do not share, remember, and honor the sacrifices of American men and women?

 

Won’t you share the story of the Buddy Poppies in your community?  And, when you see a veteran giving away a Buddy Poppy, thank them and proudly wear the Buddy Poppy.  If you can, make a donation to their Veterans Relief Fund.

 

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Carolina Game Day Fun  0

Older veterans are active veterans.  Why is that?  Sure, young vets are active too, but older veterans seem to be very active in their communities.

None of them earn a salary, compensation, or special benefits for their work.  They get up early in the morning and head out to visit other veterans, work helping others, fix a vets’ home, visit the sick, and raise money for their churches, schools, local teams, and veterans.

 

Elmer Hughes on station
Elmer Hughes on station

An each University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill home game you will find a 92 year-old Army Air Corps World War II veteran sitting on a street corner downtown.  “Have a Poppy, Wear a Poppy…  Wear a Buddy Poppy for a Veteran…”  He repeats this over and over again.  No he doesn’t sell them, he just gives them away.  The VFW never sells a Buddy Poppy.  We do, however, pay hospitalized veterans to produce them.

 

Quite often a gathering from a nearby sorority will see him and the young ladies will gather around him.  Many times they poise for personal pictures.  Elmer Hughes has a ball.  You never see him without a smile.  Come rain or shine he is there.  His reward is the sound made when canister emits the sound of a dollar or two ruffling as it is pushed into the can.   Sometimes it is a $20 bill.

Sitting just across from Elmer, on the other side of the walkway, is his son, Elmer.  He is a veteran who served during Vietnam.  He drives 35 miles to join his dad on game day.  He watches him draw a crowd and just  smiles.  They have a friendly competition and dad seems to always do better.  It must be his smile, his kind word, and or maybe his pleasant voice.

 

We watch in awe.  We can’t figure it out.  Could it be his fancy western boots?  While we ponder, the girls keep coming, gathering, chatting, and posing with the Buddy Poppy guy.

 

The Hughes family raised over a thousand dollars for the Chapel Hill Post’s Veterans Assistance Fund last year.  That money put a new roof on a house for an aged Korean War vet and a laptop in the hands of a recent sand box vet as he entered college.  Elmer also motivates our younger veterans to get out and about where they can make a difference.

That’s what we do best–help others.   If you are a returning vet, give the Veterans of Foreign Wars a look.  We need you and our North Carolina veterans need you too.  Give us a look.  Stay awhile.  Maybe you will get a chance to watch Elmer in action on game day.