Pat Milchuck and Ron Dudley

Pat Milchuck of Paxton hands a paper poppy to veteran Ron Dudley of Loda in downtown Paxton, as the Paxton American Legion Auxiliary was accepting donations as part of its annual Poppy Days fundraiser ahead of Memorial Day.

PAXTON — A total of $5,500 in donations was collected for the American Legion Prairie Post No. 150 Auxiliary during the organization’s annual Poppy Days fundraiser on Memorial Day weekend.

The amount donated surpassed expectations, said Paxton resident Pat Milchuck, who led the effort. The donations will be used to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans, Milchuck said.

Volunteers stationed at two downtown Paxton intersections, as well outside the entrance to the Paxton IGA grocery store, distributed paper poppies to those who donated.

“We are extremely appreciative of the volunteers who took the two-hour shifts at intersections and Paxton IGA in the heat and sun,” Milchuck said. “We especially thank Loda American Legion Post No. 503 Commander Ron Dudley and the Legion members, eight of them in all, who came to help on Friday and Saturday (on Memorial Day weekend). ... Thank you all for everything you did to make this year so successful.”