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“Poppy Lady” raises money for veterans

Poppy lady
Poppy lady(Aleah Burggraff)
Published: May. 31, 2021 at 6:04 PM MDT
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STURGIS, S.D. (KEVN) - A poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae titled “Flanders Fields” sets the scene for The American Legion’s official flower.

The poppy symbolizes the bloodshed by those who fought in the war and is used to memorialize the soldiers that died in battle.

Ruth Mechling spends every one of her Memorial Day Weekends selling a plastic version of the flower to raise money for veterans.

“Well, you know, when I was younger and a child growing up, on Memorial Day Weekend anybody would be asking for donations on the street, but you can’t do that anymore. You have to get permission from the proprietor of the store,” said Mechling.

So, every year, Mechling teams up with Rockingtree Floral in Sturgis to ask for donations.

“I don’t interfere with anyone’s business and if they see me and I don’t ask for a donation, they find me and I like meeting these people they are very generous,” said Mechling.

In the past, Mechling raised around $700 in a weekend.

She said she’s happy to make a difference and took on the unofficial role of the “Poppy Lady” many years ago.

“My husband was a veteran for 40 years and I am a lifetime member of the VFW and the American Legion Auxiliary and I feel like somebody should be doing this,” said Mechling.

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