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Paper poppies and toys combine for many thanks

May 23, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

How about a poppy, folks? Those little red paper poppies show your support of veterans on the Memorial Day weekend.

At any time, really, if you keep the poppy long enough.

I love those poppies and kept one tied to the strap of my camera case for years, until it faded to a light salmon color. But all that can change on Thursday or Friday, and I can get a new poppy.

That's when the American Legion Post 130 and American Legion Auxiliary Unit 130 people will be selling them between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. in front of Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart.

"One way to show that these veterans are remembered and valued is to buy a poppy and wear it prominently with pride," said Maxine Lage when she and Pearl Olson told me about the poppy sale.

It was soon after World War I that selling poppies became popular as a way to support service men and women nationwide. The American Legion adopted the poppy as its memorial flower in 1921, and selling poppies, Lage said, "is a long tradition that deserves enthusiastic support for all of us."

Poppies being sold in Dodge are made by veterans living at the Marshalltown Veterans Home, said Ray Ault, a member of the Webster County Veterans Affairs Commission.

And money raised by selling poppies will be used by the Legion and Auxiliary to support veterans affairs work and rehabilitation efforts.

So, buy a poppy. It's a good idea and a very good way to say thank you to veterans.

Something else went on recently where people could get their own thank you.

Robbye Ron, who came to Pomeroy as a foreign exchange student 13 years ago and attended Iowa Central Community College, where he played soccer, left Dodge today for a trip to his native Ecuador. He shoved clothing for the nine-day trip into a carry-on and jammed three suitcases full of new or gently used toys.

Ron, the human resources administrator at Hogslat in Humboldt, is headed to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he'll hand out those toys to children who basically have nothing. The toys had to be basic toys - no electronics allowed. This is something he's done on several trips, and said "people just hear the news and actually start picking up toys in their own neighborhood, and they're just waiting for me to go."

When he gets his toys to Ecuador, he and others will "go to the very poor areas in town" and pass them out, impacting more than 1,000 children.

This isn't a one-and-done thing, either. He'll keep collecting toys and will pass them out in Argentina and Mexico on later trips. Anyone who wants to be part of this give away can drop off a toy at Tres Amigos Mexican Restaurant, 2007 Fifth Ave. S.

And, while you're there, a cheese enchilada would be a good idea. You can go back with another toy for the chimichanga. You can thank me later.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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