MASON, W.Va.— A painting using 2,205 poppies made by disabled American veterans and created by members of Stewart Johnson Post 9926, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mason, W.Va. won first place in the “Buddy Poppy” project at the West Virginia State Convention held over the weekend in Flatwoods, W.Va.
The art work completed by the VFW Post and Auxiliary members, with assistance from Pomeroy artist Michelle Musser, will now be entered in the national competition to take place in June at Louisville, Ky. The “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier” themed entry won over more than 30 entries from posts across the state.
Each of the red poppies used in creating the entry was painted individually with a dark color and then glued to plywood to create a background of sky and ground for the artistic design which depicted the theme “Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier”. The judges were from Alaska and Texas, and both had previously been judges at the national convention, it was reported.
Bob Caruthers, former state commander of West Virginia, said that when the painting was placed under the recessed light in the convention area, “It just glowed and became the talk of the convention.”
Milford Mowrey is commander of the Mason VFW Post, and Linda Laudermilt is the unit’s poppy chairman. They were among the many who participated in creating the winning entry.