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Candi Mestayer-Culp Memories
By VVAW Family
From Candi's entry in the VVAW 50th Anniversary Guest Book
I first heard of VVAW in 1972 in St Louis, MO, at a local community college. I was 17, and knew immediately that this was the anti-war group for me. The St. Louis chapter hosted the Milwaukee VVAW Chapter, friendships were made, and I soon moved to Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Chapter was the social and political center of our lives; it was the glue that held (and helped) a diverse group of people unite and survive. A shout out to John Lindquist and Annie Bailey who gave their time and money, as well as opened their home, to the many vets who sought refuge, compassion and understanding. I am not a veteran, but have always been proud to stand beside my VVAW brothers and sisters, the true anti-war patriots.
Candi once decided to help Madagascar by having the president of that country bring some plants that were going extinct in his country. She planted them in the Mitchell Park Domes, where she worked as a Horticulturist and cared for them. She invited him to her house where they cooked dinner together for some VVAW member friends.
Candi volunteered at the VA and set up a little shop area in the VA for women vets/soldiers. She and her sister-in-law Kim, accepted clothing donations and toiletries to give to the women veterans. She also found out while working there, that big breasted women soldiers had a hard time procuring bras that fit them. Like size 54 DDD size! She called some stores and manufacturers who make bras in large sizes and soon had a plethora of bras for them. She called on other female VVAW members and sympathizers, to help her organize and get the bras to the women in need. It was like a party and she called it Operation Bosom Buddies.
Candi always had us help her organize gift bags at Xmas for the vets in need. Especially the ones that were shelter challenged. Items included, good soap, tooth brushes, combs, lotion, sox, gift cards to fast food places, eye drops, and treats.
Oh, I thought of another really important contribution Candida made to our world. She was very knowledgeable about how to do historical research. She helped many people find their historical roots. She was very keen on the military service of the people in various families and how their service impacted history. Her dedication was tenacious and her research incredibly complete with photos and records.
Candi's dad, who was born in Managua, Nicaragua, was in the US Marines from 1952-54 and died in a Missouri veterans' home.
Candi really was an exceptional person and an outstanding contributor to the world.
Candi watering the Madagascar plants at Mitchell Park Domes.
Operation Bosom Buddies.