When Emma and Sophia Petkau gave their donation to the poppy fund through Doug Matthews, they gave him one of their handmade crosses. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Gift to Chilliwack veteran brings tear to his eye

Young sisters give handmade gift to veteran, along with donation for the poppy fund

A handmade gift from two local children brought a tear to a veteran’s eye last week, downtown Chilliwack.

Sisters Emma and Sophia Petkau showed up at the Safeway location where Doug Matthews was collecting for the poppy fund. What they brought him, he says, brightened his day and he wanted to share the story with others.

It was a brown paper cross made from card stock, with two poppies made from egg cartons and painted red. A button is lovingly placed in the centre of each poppy.

And the wonderful part is, they didn’t just make one.

“These two girls came up and said they sold these door-to-door, to friend and neighbours,” he says. “I was in full uniform, and they came up and gave me over $40.”

And while the donations to the poppy fund are always appreciated, it was the heartfelt effort that went into the donation that really moved him. The girls are only three and five years old.

“This was the girls’ idea alone,” Matthews said. “It really made me so emotional.”

It’s not the first time a child’s donation has made a shift of selling poppies worthwhile, he says.

“About five years ago, I was selling poppies in Walmart and a little boy came up and said ‘can I buy my mommy a poppy?’”

The boy thoughtfully poured his handful of pennies and loose change into the donation kettle, and when he got his poppy he ran to give it to his mother. A few minutes later, the boy returned with a problem; he wanted his own poppy but had no more money to give.

“I told him if you can tell me why we wear poppies, I’ll give you one,” Matthews recalls. To that, the boy proudly said: “We wear them for the dead soldiers.”

Matthews has held onto that moment, and will cherish this most recent encounter. And while many wonder if the younger generations will remember Canada’s soldiers from wars past, he says he is seeing many children and teenagers taking part in remembrance.

“That brought a tear to my eye, and so did this,” he says.

Matthews is almost 80 years old, and was born and raised in Chilliwack. He was an Air Cadet here, and went on to work as a cook for the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1955 through 1973. He served in Germany, Cyprus, Sardenia, Resolute Bay, Greenland and across Canada.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Chilliwack comes together to rebuild fairy village

About 300 people came out to rebuild the fairy village by Vedder River which was vandalized in June

PHOTOS: Lock’s Pharmacy celebrated 70 years with free street party in Chilliwack

The party was based on community spirit and giving back, says general manager David Lock

Kennedy, Cartier Roads could see upgrade in Kent’s next budget

Residents living and working on Kennedy Road wrote to complain about the dust from the gravel

Seven Days in Chilliwack

A list of community events happening in Chilliwack from Aug. 19 to 25

Get a free sneak peek at modern ballet performance in Chilliwack

New ballet @giselle is putting the final touches on its show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

Teacher disciplined after bringing 45 grams of cannabis to Surrey school

Eugenio Bahamonde was also charged with trafficking in Vancouver, but later acquitted

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

New anti-drone tech deployed at Abbotsford Airshow

Operators could locate drones from up to 23 kilometres away

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Most Read