Making Poppies

Rudy Daleymple has been making poppies at the Ohio Veterans Home since 1988.

Just a year after becoming a resident at OVH in 1987, he began his poppy-creating career.

Daleymple, 78, can make about 1,000 poppies in a day. He typically works from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., with breaks for meals. He earns 10 cents for each small poppy he makes, and 20 cents for each large poppy, from the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA).

5-21 stems
A box of stems ready to have crepe papers added.

Throughout the country, poppies are made by hospitalized and disabled veterans as a form of rehabilitation and a source of income through this ALA program. In 1923, the poppy became the official flower of The American Legion Family in memory of soldiers who fought on the battlefields during WWI.

Daleymple served in the U.S. Army for eight years, with two tours in Germany and two in Vietnam.

At the OVH, he is currently only one of two veterans who are making poppies. Daleymple likes to make 500 to 1,000 poppies in advance so he’s ready for the next big poppy request.

“It’s a job,” he said, when asked what he likes about making poppies. “I come every day.”

5-21 rudy office
Daleymple’s office has several poppy items in it.

In fact, Daleymple looks forward to making poppies, he added. And when he’s not making poppies, he enjoys watching Cleveland Indians’ baseball games, and NASCAR.

In 2017, ALA members throughout the United States distributed nearly 6 million poppies or poppy items, raising $3.9 million in donations that went directly to help veterans, military, and their families. To learn more, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org/Poppy .

Linda Close, Ohio Veterans Home deputy representative, contributed to this blog.

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