• Nick Zacharias

A day to remember


What started as a small group of people working at a dining room table to prepare poppy pins for sale prior to Remembrance Day has evolved into an all-hands-on-deck operation at Hudson’s Royal Canadian Legion.

A cheery group of at least 20 volunteers gathered October 17 to begin the enormous task of prepping and packing scores of boxes filled with Remembrance Day poppies for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign. The flurry of packing happened in the Hudson Legion hall, where volunteers got to work suitably surrounded by flags and memorabilia signifying the bravery and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers in times of war.

Last year’s campaign raised $39,420 for various organizations in the region that help veterans. This year they aim for another impressive total.

Organizer Cody Gilmore, on hand for her 16th year, was pleased with the turnout.

“When we got started, we did this at my mother’s dining room table, where there were just a few of us working like crazy to get it done,” she said. “As the years went by we got more volunteers, and used different spaces, until we finally moved the production in here to accommodate everyone.”

The banter in the room gave the event the atmosphere of a happy reunion, as many present have volunteered for the same task over a good many years. “Where does the time go?” asked one with a chuckle.

One of the world’s most recognized symbols for fallen soldiers, the remembrance poppy was inspired by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written by Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae after he attended the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier who died at the Second Battle of Ypres in the First World War. To this day the symbol serves to remind us of those who fell, and to raise money to help those who are still with us.

The work of the volunteers doesn’t end with packing poppies.

“…To you from failing hands we throw / The torch; be yours to hold it high,” says the poem, and so they do. They will be dutifully holding up the torch as they collect donations for poppies at the entrance to the Hudson IGA, as well as at numerous big-box stores in Vaudreuil-Dorion including Costco, Walmart, Canadian Tire, Réno-Dépôt and more.

“They are a dedicated group, but we can always use more help,” said Gilmore. If you are interested in volunteering to distribute poppies for this year’s campaign, please get in touch with Kim Vale at kkvale54@gmail.com for the big-box stores, or pop your name on the signup sheet at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, 394 Main Road, for the Hudson IGA. Poppies will be on hand at the above locations starting this Friday, October 25, through November 10.

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