Veterans remembered during the holidays

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Chet Tweten, right, commander of the Nevada VFW Post 2175, hands Coeta Smith, Joe Clark residential care facility, some of the packages he brought to be distributed to veterans in the facility.

By Steve Moyer

Nevada Daily Mail

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

"In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae

This evocative poem became the anthem for the nation's veterans after World War I.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars was the first veteran's organization to adopt the poppy and use it in their Buddy Poppy campaign to help raise funds to help support veteran's welfare. Since its inception the program has raised millions of dollars to help veterans and their dependents.

The program has received the endorsement and cooperation of every president since Warren G. Harding.

According to the VFW Web site, VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled, needy and aging veterans in Veteran's Administration hospitals and nursing homes across the country and are distributed by VFW posts and their Ladies auxiliaries.

The cost of the Buddy Poppies to VFW posts provides compensation for the veterans who assemble the poppies, provides financial assistance for state and national veterans' rehabilitation and service programs and partially supports the VFW National Home for orphans and widows of our nation's veterans.

In Nevada, the money the VFW post collects from the Buddy Poppy program is used to purchase care packages for the veterans in nursing homes and for other local veterans' needs. Chet Tweten, commander of Nevada Post No. 2175, spent time Tuesday delivering 58 care packages to area veterans in local nursing homes.

"Part of the money for these packages is derived from our poppy drive," Tweten said. "We try to make sure all the money we raise is spent locally."

Tweten said the VFW's motto, "Veterans Helping Veterans, was the post's inspiration.

"We're not here to make money," Tweten said. "We're here to give money away. We want to help as many local veterans as we can."

Another program the local post is active in is "Operation Uplink" which purchases phone cards for local service members stationed in Iraq and other hot spots.

The local post puts out a report on the money they spend, a community report.

"We put together a community report and account for all the money," Tweten said, then reinforced his earlier comment about spending as much money as possible locally. "What we make here, we spend here."

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